Steam Shower Heaven

by Rachel Laurendeau on October 15, 2012

After a stressful day or a long workout, nothing beats the relaxing and rejuvenating effects of a steam shower.

How It Works
A steam shower is like a regular shower but it is all sealed (walls, door, etc.) so that the steam cannot escape. Depending on your bathroom configuration and exactly what you are looking for, a steam shower enclosure can either be custom-built or pre-fabricated and will include a steam generator, steam outlet(s), timer and a showerhead. There are many optional add-ons but one that I recommend is having a seat or two in the shower so that you can sit down and fully enjoy the steam. A professional plumber can install the system for you and answer questions you might have about where to locate the generator and which type of shower enclosure to use.

In some cases, you may be able to convert your existing shower into a steam shower, as long as it is made of appropriate materials and that it can be easily sealed off. Talk to a qualified professional plumbing service to find out if your current shower stall can be used or if you need to start from scratch.

What is the difference between a steam shower and a sauna?
The temperature and humidity levels are the main differences between a steam shower and a sauna. Steam showers are close to 100% relative humidity and temperature ranges between 110 and 120° F. Saunas are dry with humidity levels at only about 10 to 15% and higher temperatures averaging between 165 and 180° F.

These differences mean that the materials used in room construction are different to accommodate the heat and humidity levels. Saunas are usually clad in cedar while tile, acrylic or stone are used for steam showers or steam rooms.

What are the benefits of a steam shower?
Steam baths and showers and hydrotherapy have been used by many cultures around the world for centuries. Today they are used worldwide in spa treatments and therapies, by professional athletic therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors and naturopaths. Some of the benefits of using a steam shower at home include:

• Relaxation and stress reduction
• Increases circulation
• Hydrates the skin, improving its look and feel
• Rejuvenates and soothes tired muscles
• Dislodges mucus due to colds, bronchitis and allergies
• The humidity can be helpful for those suffering from asthma
• It is also believed that the heat from the steam opens our pores, allowing our skin to excrete toxins and leading to better health.

Warning: talk to your doctor before using a steam shower. Pregnant women, young children, the elderly, those with high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease and those being treated for medical conditions should refrain from using steam showers and saunas. If you have any of these conditions, talk to your doctor before going to the expense of installing a steam shower in your home and not being able to use it.

Having a steam shower is like having a spa in your own home. I use mine regularly and highly recommend installing one if you are building a home or if your upcoming home improvements include renovating your bathroom.

Resources: Steam Showers Inc. and Mr. Steam

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