How steam will heal the pandemic of loneliness of the present

The origins of steam

Most anthropologists will agree that control of fire is perhaps the single most important human invention over the history of civilization. Processing grains or curing meat, heating or fighting all seem to be facilitated by the knowledge of fire. There is a doppelganger of fire which is least researched, though: the steam.

Pedra Formosa Briteiros, a ritual pre-Roman steam bath in Celtic Iberia, 8-3 c. BC

Properties of healing steam & heat

Heat and steam aren’t the most funded areas of medical study. Having said that, in the last 30–40 years there is an ever growing body of research, partly due to Finnish and Japanese ethnomedical studies, partly related to the interest in thermoregulation aspects of human body.

Contemporary Ayurveda Swedana

Functions of guided steam

For a temperate or cold climate, steam used to be the one of the first survival and individual healthcare tools. Arguably, once the human tribes left to the colder or elevated places, both heated shelter and space of steam would co-emerge as an evolutionary instrument. To wash wounds, facilitate birth and postpartum healing, fight diseases of cold nature (as they’re usually understood in most traditional medicinal systems), activate medicinal action of herbs: all that would need hot water and hot air, and at least some degree of medicinal knowledge. Only a few Far Nordic tribes haven’t used steam or bath, developing a different adaptive mechanism to extreme cold and deficit of fuel.

Women’s banya: a popular print, Russia, XIX c.
Solar-powered steam bath of KADMON: a concept for Fly Ranch / LAGI competition, 2020.



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Boris Ryabov

Boris Ryabov

Co-founder of Steamology Institute and Essential Steam, venture investor and healer.