Steam of the Century: The Greek Laconia

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In this ongoing series on the history of steam, we journey back to Ancient Greece, home of some of the first steam rooms!

An ancient Greek steam bath was called a laconia, which consisted of a circular room with a large domed roof. The laconia was heated with fires underneath the floor or rocks heated in a fire and placed in a tray in the center of the room. Patrons or workers would pour water on the rocks to create steam, sometimes adding aromatic herbs for therapeutic enhancement (and for some ancient aromatherapy)!

While the laconia sounds like a modern day sauna or steam room, the use of steam for promoting good health is hardly a new invention.

In 450 BCE the Greek historian Herodutus wrote that the Greeks used steam to induce sweating as a form of bathing and to maintain good health. Today’s home steam showers are a great way to get the same health benefits as the Greeks.

Thought to support the respiratory system, steam inhalation can help allergy sufferers and relieve sinus infections. And of course steam produces the major benefit of full-body relaxation. No matter what century you’re in, steam plays an important part in staying healthy!