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June 20, 1980

Steam Baths

Author Affiliations

The George Washington University Medical Center Washington, DC

JAMA. 1980;243(23):2397-2398. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300490015012

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To the Editor.—  I found the question about the relationship between steam baths and a sense of relaxation (243:370, 1980) interesting, but the answer was discouraging without any scientific reason. Abramson's answer is seemingly based more on his personal negative experience with steam baths, which he compares with a severe pain experience, and he likens the feeling of well-being to a feeling of relief of pain. Neither I nor many persons who are used to regular steam bathing whom I have observed will agree with this analogy. The sense of well-being and its effect on the health or physical capacity of the person who uses steam bathing should not be dismissed because of the apparent lack of appropriate, valid indexes by which to measure it, and it likewise should not go unrecommended, provided, as Abramson mentions, there is no obvious contraindication, such as thyrotoxicosis, generalized atherosclerosis, or cardiac diseases. It