Home Steam Showers Explained
With a sudden rise in popularity throughout the US, demand for public steam rooms has lowered as it's now easier than ever to experience the same effect from your home.
For the therapeutic, environmental and health benefits that come with steam showers, more home owners are turning to steam as the preferred way to bathe.
In this article we're going to cover the essentials you need to know and how to create your own mini spa, so you can make an educated decision if they are right for you.
So What Is A Steam Shower?
A steam shower is a cabin shaped glass enclosure connected with a standalone steam generator that works to create a relaxing, warm humid environment. The generators collect water, heats up and slowly releases it out as steam.
Often accompanied with a built in tub, acupuncture water body jets and a bench for ultimate comfort, this adaptation of the classic steam room is soon becoming the household favorite and for good reason.
Steam Shower Benefits
Some of the vast benefits of steam showers include:
- Cleanses your skin and sinuses
- No waiting time; heats instantly
- Improved blood circulation relaxing your muscles, relieves aching joints, and revives body organs
- Increases your metabolism and helps you lose weight
- Enhances respiration and helps induce a deeper, more relaxed sleep
- Boosts your immune system
- Stress relief
- Easy to install
- Environmentally friendly; the green way to bathe
- Saves water
- Foot massage
How Much Does A Steam Shower Cost?
If you're not ready to fork out for the whole shower you can actually just buy the generator itself! Standalone generators typically start at around $800 plus installation costs if you decide to outsource. Shower should be enclosed and insulated with non-porous materials such as porcelain tile or glass and a water permeability score of .05 or below.
You will be saving money on water and can expect to use a mere 2 gallons of water during a 20 minute steam. Most people choose to install their-self as it is relatively straight forward, each unit comes with a comprehensive instruction guide. If you do choose to contract it out, based off our experience they typically charge around $60 per hour, the job may take a few hours so you could be looking at around $200. Of course, this varies a lot depending on who you go with and where you are based.
Can I Turn My Current Shower Into A Steam Shower?
Absolutely! First you will have to decide where you will install the steam unit. The area will need to be close to dedicated electrics and plumbing, a common place for this will be on the outside of the wall which contains the shower head. By doing this you will avoid having to run a primary water line across. The control panel also needs to be installed, this can go more or less anywhere. The steam shower itself requires:
- 220-Volt power
- Heating element
- Steam generator
- Pressure relief valve
- Supply pipe
- Drain pipe
- Steam head
- Aroma pump (optional)
- Dual digital thermostat and control (one inside and one outside the shower)
For a more detailed look into how to convert your current shower into a steam shower, check out this guide.
Steam vs Sauna
Both steam and sauna have very similar health benefits for the body. Sauna uses dry heat, often around 180 and 195°F with very low humidity. The heat is generated by electric, wood, gas or infrared. Because of the super dry environment it is especially important to hydrate before entering.
Whereas steam rooms/showers don't reach as high temperature as the sauna, due to the intensely humid environment it often makes you feel a lot hotter. Steam rooms are usually between 100 and 120°F and have nearly 100 percent humidity.
Ultimately it's down to personal preference which one you prefer and the goals you are trying to achieve from it. If you suffer from respiratory issues, steam showers will be the way forward as it hydrates and cleanses the sinuses. In regards to weight loss they both have equal effects, just bare in mind any pounds you cut will be water weight from the sweat. Either way, research shows using either one at least 4 times a week for 20 minutes will significantly lower risk of heart attack, stroke, and dementia. You can learn more about the differences between them both here.
As mentioned previously, steam showers use just 2 gallons of water for a 20 minute steam. Compared to the average American shower which lasts about 8 minutes so water consumption for a traditional shower can surpass 16 gallons. Baths typically use even more water.
It's hard to think that with such a luxurious experience there could be risks, which is why it's important you know what to look out for and stay safe.
Drink plenty of water before entering, ideally one to two glasses and consume it gradually. This is because steam showers dehydrate the body, it is recommenced to spend no longer than 20 minutes in at a time.
Steam showers are a prime home for bacteria to grow so don't let it build up! We advise the use of anti-infective spray and to wipe down the surfaces after each use.
People with underlying health conditions should also consult with their doctor before jumping in. If you suffer with a heart condition, very low or high blood pressure, epilepsy or are pregnant it may be advised to avoid using it altogether.