Steam baths

A hygienic practice for maintaining health.

The experience of 150.000 steam baths, carried out in the past 30 years at the Palatini Spa, confirmed the clinical utility of this form of therapy, ancient in its origins, but in a new form.


In Roman baths the caldarium, tepidarium and frigidarium were well known to be valuable tools in the prevention of epidemics and to optimize physical and mental performance.

In historical evolution, sauna and turkish bath, one with high heat dry, the other with more moderate and humid heat, reached our days. However, the master of health, Chilean Manuel Lezaeta Acharan, has a glimpse of a very simple method and brilliant at the same time: an home bath in a current of steam (enveloping the entire body except the head), with regularly alternated cold ablutions or jets of cold running water. This method of treatment has proved an extraordinary therapeutic tool with surprising effects on the whole organism and is considered by us, "the queen of therapies."


The steam bath is a practice of prevention and hygiene useful as activating and regenerating the organic exchange; in addition, it is a real and proper therapy in the following cases:

  • skin diseases
  • respiratory diseases
  • circulatory diseases
  • in states of nervous hyper-excitability
  • in arthro- rheumatic diseases

In fact, clinic practice has shown its utility in almost all of the known diseases, since every disease brings with it - as Tilden said -an imbalance in the composition of the blood, and steam bath is referred to as "blood washing ".

The steam bath has beneficial effects on anti-infective prophylaxis, on enhancing nonspecific immunity, on the clean-up on the vascular and lymphatic bed, and on metabolic control. It is a cure of greatest preventive and curative interest. Specifically:

  • On the skin

    The steam bath cleanses the skin much deeper than a common shower or home bath. The body is enveloped in a rising cloud of steam, which also washes areas hard to reach (perineum, nails, skin folds, armpits).

    The hot - humid current makes the corneum stratum of the skin hydrates, retaining more water.

    This relaxes the creases, lessening wrinkles, encouraging the washing of indentations.

    The skin pores dilate forcibly, sweat glands and sebaceous glands secrete their secretions and skin soaked with water is leached from the inside also, producing a very deep cleansing, not only of the epidermis but also the of dermis and connective tissue . Furthermore, the temperature close to 55 ° C in a current of steam exerts a certain microbicide power, both for bacteria and fungi.

  • On the cardio-circulatory apparatus

    If the hot-humid stimulus is sufficiently prolonged skin temperature rises and can even reach 37 ° C. A passive skin vasodilation (hyperemia) occurs in the warm phase, followed by a vasoconstriction and a consequent active hyperemia in the cold phase.

    The alternation of vasoconstriction and vasodilation of smooth muscles creates a vascular gym, a sort of footing that activates veinlet, arterioles and pre-capillary sphincters (the real controllers of thermal protection), thus exercising the body to respond more quickly to changes in outside temperature.

    During a steam bath there is a reinforcement of the cardiac pump (positive inotropic action), an increase in the rate of circulation and an ortho-sympathetic vasoconstriction of intestine, muscle and kidney districts.

    You may then think that the sum of these effects lead to a relief and leaching of vases of many circulatory districts (the famous "blood washing" described in simple terms by Lezaeta), since the blood actually recirculates at a higher speed to open skin pores , thus favoring a deep cleaning and re-activation of the vascular bed and connective tissue attached to it, with acceleration of the vital processes and metabolism.

  • On digestion, breathing, lymph, muscles

    The steam bath helps a reactivation of the deep circulation and drainage of the liver, reducing congestion of visceral organs. All this can improve the intestinal peristalsis and digestive function.

    During the steam bath, breathing always with your nose directly inhaling water vapor is useful, humidifying respiratory system, thus having also a steam inhalation therapy with mucolytic and expectorant action.

    Unlike therapies with only hot steam, in the steam bath the alternate action of heat and cold induces a reflex mechanical contraction of the lymphatic vessels, greatly increasing lymphatic circulation: this effect removes the debris deposited in tissues, lymph nodes and circulating lymph. The action of hot and humid is muscle relaxant.

    The cold on the other hand induces a rapid contraction and activation of the neuromuscular system. The sum of the two alternating effects favors a rhythmic massage of the muscle, with elimination of lactic acid and acid catabolic.

    In summary, steam baths drain the connective tissue, ie, the matrix connecting all organs of the body.

  • On the nervous and hormonal systems

    Clinical practice shows a modulating and rebalancing action of the neurosensory system.

    The generalized stimulus of the peripheral nervous system helps to calm electrical activity and brings sleep in insomnia and relaxation in nervous hyper-excitability.

    At the same time the thermic alternation thermal avoids excessive pressure drops and reduces excessive states of waking, instead favoring a pleasant feeling of psychological well-being and tranquility.

    Not surprisingly the nerve - hormonal cascade and numerous brain mediators, such as endorphins, related to pain tolerance, are strongly activated. All glands are stimulated and in particular the adeno-hypophysis, the neuro-hypophysis, thyroid, adrenal glands.

    It is documented that the cold phase stimulates various hormones, such as TSH, T3 and T4, ACTH, adrenaline and cortisol.