A steam bath is one where vapours from heated water are used for therapeutic purposes. A dry steam bath is a sauna whereas a wet steam bath often involves the use of a vaporiser. Where a vaporiser is not available, a boiling kettle can be used instead. This should be done with great care however.
A kind of tent can be improvised with a large umbrella. It's important not to get too hot or over-perspire. You should feel comfortable and be able to breathe the vapours without difficulty. Special steam rooms are also available at many spa locations.
For example the Thermarium Caldarium is a mild steam room based on ancient Roman practices. The moist and aromatic atmosphere is very relaxing and pleasant to be in. Light as well as sound may be used to stimulate the senses.
What are the benefits?
These treatments are excellent for detoxifying and stimulating your skin. Perspiration causes toxins stored in the skin to come to the surface where they can be washed away. It's also very good for respiratory problems. Asthmatics may find that it offers relief, although those with severe asthma should exercise caution. It can also ease bronchitis as well as sore throats.
Those with sinus problems find it's a useful way to unblock nasal passages. Loss of voice or hoarseness can also be helped, particularly if a few drops of benzoin are added to the vaporiser. The heat leads to increased circulation, which is an important part of detoxifying, while the sensation of warmth is calming and lowers stress levels.