The year 2020 has turned quite unexpectedly with the COVID pandemic forcing us to shut down, regroup and reorient. Since there is no cure currently, the world is learning “social distancing” and practising hygiene in order to stay protected and reduce chances of infection from the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – Corona Virus – 2 (SARS-COV-2).
We’re all in it
While young Indians make up most of the cases, senior citizens are more prone to dying by COVID-19 Those over 60 years of age account for 60 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in India. Age group analysis of COVID-19 patients in India shows that the maximum 42% are of 21-40 years, 33% of 41-60 years and
17% are over 60 years. So this is not something that only the older people need to worry about, it seems like a younger population means more cases to deal with in all likelihood.
As the name suggests, the respiratory system of the patient is affected. The syndromes start from dry cough, fever, breathlessness (upper respiratory tract viral infection) which leads to pneumonia. In severe cases, the virus causes acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) which leads to sepsis and in the final stage, septic shock which results in multiple organ failure and death of the patient.
Immunity for the win
People with critical illnesses and comorbid conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart ailments and respiratory difficulties which are more dominant in older populations make the problem more acute. Since the virus attacks the immune system, WBC count and inherent immunity of a person are important in tackling the virus at its source (lungs in this case) without producing a cytokine storm or excess immune cells which might damage the body. Strong immunity is necessary for survival, just like the good ol’ days – when we were not reliant on medicines for our health.
Bound to rebound
The next problem facing the world is proper rehabilitation of patients who get cured so that they do not rebound. Another perhaps bigger fear is that the virus might recur in geographies which have seen a reduction in the rate of its spread. Experts predict that at least 30 Crore Indians will contract
the virus in a worst-case scenario, which will cause severe strain on the under-developed healthcare infrastructure of India. Until the phenomenon causes humans to evolve i.e. build herd immunity or if medical technology produces a vaccine in a miraculously short time (currently predicted to be 12-18 months away), we should all brace ourselves for a bumpy ride.
It’s all in the mind
Another massive challenge is faced presently by the frontline workers of our country- the doctors, nurses, cops and all other overworked and under-rested people. As per a recent report, they have flooded the tele-therapists with requests for counselling. This challenge is mental health, and it is by no means a small one. In times to come, the isolation, social distancing, devastating state of the economy, failing businesses and high levels of joblessness will increase the number of people facing mental health problems.
What’s steam therapy?
In the Waters are all medicines and Agni (fire) gives health to all.
May the waters prepare the medicine that is a protection for my body, that I may long see the Sun.Rig Veda I. 24. 20-21
Also called Ayurvedic Svedan, Russian Banya, Finnish Sauna, Turkish Hammam, Native American sweat lodge, Latin American Temazcal, Greek Laconica, Roman Thermae.
Steam therapy is a well-known form of thermal-hydro-therapy prevalent since Vedic times and a practice of civilizations and cultures across the globe and throughout the history of mankind.
Steam is NOT a cure
To clear the air about the misinformation prevalent on social media and WhatsApp, steam therapy is NOT a cure for Coronavirus and nasal heating through hair dryers and other make-shift devices is not just foolish but also risky as explained by various fact-checking portals and the World Health
Organization. Heat stress is proven to kill the bird flu (H1N5) virus but studies have not been conducted on the novel Coronavirus yet.
So how does it work?
Steam is the only available element in nature that has the power to raise the body’s normal temperature. Stand too close to a fire and you risk getting burnt, douse yourself with boiling water and you will get scalded. When a human body is subject to steam concentrated in a space with 95-
100% humidity and high temperature at 45-47 degrees Celsius, the internal organ temperature is increased by a couple of degrees. This increase in internal body temperature causes hyperthermia – a fever-like condition – which is the starting point for the beauty of this hydro-therapy.
Fever is the body’s response to killing bacterial and viral infections detected by the body when we feel under the weather. Steam therapy is like manifesting the power of fever at will, and all naturally. The increase in body temperature causes a release of heat shock proteins which are instrumental in controlling cell damage and keeping the cells oxidized. At a cellular level, steam causes rejuvenation and oxidation. Boosting immunity is the by-product of our cells being subject to heat stress as proven by scientific evidence and widely published in medical journals.
Steam inhalation has long been a home remedy suggested by grandparents and parents to their coughing or sneezing children. The sight of a human bent over a vessel with boiling water and a towel wrapped over the head is much too familiar. Humid air is recommended by pulmonologists for patients suffering from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), ARDS, asthma, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis and other infections and diseases of the respiratory system. Humidity causes the airways to dilate and the high heat causes the lungs to expunge mucus, phlegm and other obstructions in the bronchioles. It even causes recovery of pulmonary alveolus tissue. Steam inhalation is also widely used as an adjunct to medicines and is proven to aid in the delivery and effectiveness of medicines administered for respiratory rehabilitation.
Mental health benefits
High heat makes the body release endorphins, which are known as ‘feel-good’ hormones because they help to reduce the feeling of stress in the body. A steam session can also decrease the level of cortisol, which is the hormone released in response to stress. When the cortisol level drops, people
can feel more in control, relaxed, and rejuvenated. Heat therapy boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a naturally-occurring protein in the brain that lowers the risk of mental disease and improves the mood. Norepinephrine, also called noradrenaline, is a hormone and neurotransmitter
in the brain that can help with focus and attention. This is also boosted by heat therapy. Heat stress increases prolactin, a hormone that promotes the production of myelin. Myelin increases nerve condition speeds or makes your brain faster and more efficient. Heat therapy helps in curing migraines and headaches due to increased blood flow. Steam therapy is also proven to help in regulating and inducing deep sleep to those with sleep disorders and insomnia.
Cardio-vascular fitness in times of isolation
A 2015 study followed 2,315 middle-aged men from Finland over 30 years. Men who took zero or one heat therapy bath a week were at the highest risk of high BP. Risk was reduced by 24% for men who took two to three a week, and by 46% for men who took four to seven heat baths. Dr Jari Laukkanen, cardiologist & professor of medicine at the University of Eastern Finland, says that heat bathing can increase body temperature by up to 2 degrees Celsius (about 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit).
This can cause blood vessels to dilate, or become wider, decreasing blood pressure and helping blood flow easier, he says. “We know that heat therapy increases blood circulation, ups heart rate to a level that is similar to exercising, and, when done regularly, improves overall blood vessel health”.
In these times of work from home and away from the streets, inducing something similar to a cardiovascular workout in the confines of your home could be a god sent.
Steam therapy to the rescue
Steam therapy can be a wondrous weapon in the fight against Covid19 in these times of peril. Before a cure is found and after it is administered. Before the virus is contracted and after a patient is cured. A steam room can be easily built in an existing shower space as small as 3 feet by 3 feet and
cause benefits to an entire family within the norms of isolation and social distancing. To boost immunity, breathe better, aid in respiratory rehabilitation, cause psychological benefits, optimize a diet/ fitness plan or just for a good cardio workout.
SteamPRO at your service
With an aim to democratize the power of steam therapy, SteamPRO is a one-of-a-kind service which specializes in installing a steam bath in your existing shower. We take care of the electrical, plumbing, hardware, installation and project management so you don’t have to deal with multiple
vendors and industries. We go a step ahead and take care of servicing and maintenance. We also give you access to a wellness consultant to handhold you into the steam therapy experience and the correct way to use it to maximize benefits. From making it possible in your existing shower to making sure you use the therapy, we take care of it all. At a starting price under Rs.80/day or less than your cup of coffee, we are the only proposition that allows you to subscribe to the service and not have to take care of servicing and maintenance schedules, nor the up-front heavy capital investment.
You can read more about us on www.steampro.in and avail our services.
Wishing you and your loved ones the best of health and wellness!Steam PRO