How is a steam shower different from a normal shower?
Steam showers are possibly the greatest inventions ever to be created for the average bathroom. They combine a regular shower, a monsoon shower, hydrotherapy massage jets and, of course, steam, plus complementary functionality (such as coloured lighting, music options and aromatherapy) and they do all that in minimal floor space and with very economical use of both water and electricity.
Let’s look at these benefits of a steam shower, one at a time.......
A regular shower
Sometimes you just want to clean something quickly. It might be you, a pet or something you have in your house (like a pair of muddy wellies). A good quality, regular shower is the perfect option.
A monsoon shower
Sometimes you just want to soak. You may want to soothe aching muscles or clear your head after a long day but for whatever reason, you would really love a good soak. In the old days, that meant having a bath. These days, you can have a monsoon shower instead. It’s like a bath only standing up, or sitting down if you prefer. Some steam showers have inbuilt seats and if not you can use a shower stool.
Hydrotherapy massage jets
Sometimes you just want a massage. You want something to get all those little aches and pains and creaks out of your muscles. We’re not going to claim that hydrotherapy massage jets are a substitute for visits to a human massage therapist. We are going to say that they’re an affordable way of getting a very decent massage in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
Steam glorious steam, there really is nothing quite like it for delivering all kinds of health and wellness benefits, which is why so many cultures have valued it for so long. We’ll talk more about the health and wellness benefits of steam later on in this article, for now, we just want to explain a bit about the background to why steam showers have become so popular.
The two components of steam are heat and water. Some steam treatments, such as saunas, emphasize the heat aspect and because they are so hot, they have to limit the humidity (even though it may not feel that way). Other steam treatments, such as Turkish baths, emphasize the steam element and so they have to limit the level of heat (although again, it may not feel that way).
Saunas are great treatments for conditions which benefit more from heat than from steam. The main issue with traditional saunas is that they can be really difficult to fit into modern lifestyles. That’s exactly why the infrared sauna was developed and you can even get infrared sauna mats to give you a deep-heat treatment in the smallest of spaces, albeit without the steam.
Turkish baths are great treatments for conditions which benefit from steam and do give some heat as an added bonus. Obviously, traditional Turkish baths are rather too large and labour-intensive for the average domestic bathroom, so steam showers are their modern counterparts. Much as we love saunas, we think that steam showers are the best all-round health-and-wellness products on the market today.
What’s life without a little fun? Steam showers generally come with complementary functions such as coloured lights, music options and aromatherapy modules. These actually also serve a serious purpose since they each, in their own way, help to boost your mental wellness and the aromatherapy module can help improve your physical health as well.
Effective use of floor space
The thing about baths is that they gobble up a whole lot more space than their physical dimensions would suggest they should. The reason for this is that you can use the vertical space around them for storage, partly because of all the water splashing around and partly because it might create a safety hazard for anyone using the bath.
Showers, on the other hand, take up minimal floor space and make good use of the vertical space in your bathroom. This is a large part of the reason why they have become so popular.
Steam showers not only take your showering experience to the next level, but they also help to make your life easier in general. The reason for this is that they come in self-contained shower cabins so… - no more tiling and no more cleaning and maintaining tiles either!
How Much Does It Cost To Run A Steam Shower?
Generally speaking, the generators in domestic steam showers run at about 3KW. While the cost of electricity can vary, £0.15 per kilowatt is currently a reasonable average, which means that in terms of electricity, you can run your steam shower for just £0.45 per hour.
As for water, barely a summer goes by without water authorities asking people to have showers instead of baths. We think that’s enough said.
The practicalities of steam showers
We think it’s really annoying when people tell you how amazing something is and wait until right to the end to tell you the practicalities of whatever it is, so that it’s only after reading about all it’s great features that you discover you can’t actually have one yourself.
The good news is, you probably can have a steam shower in your home. Basically, if you have room and plumbing for a regular shower then you almost certainly have room and plumbing for a steam shower. There are, however, a couple of points to note.
First of all, if you’re using an electric shower, then sadly you’ll have to pass on a steam shower, at least for the time being. On the plus side, if you’d like to have a shower but the thought of tiling is putting you off, you can get shower cabins with electric showers, for example, the Pure E range by Vidalux.
Secondly, if you have issues with water pressure, then you will need to address them before you install a steam shower. The standard way to do this is to install a pump, but this is an area where you might want to ask the advice of a local plumber.
Can anyone install a steam shower?
If you’re comfortable putting together larger items of flat-pack furniture, then you should be just fine with a steam shower cabin. If not, it should be easy enough to find a local handy (wo)man to do it for you. You don’t need an actual plumber to put a steam shower together or to attach it to an existing water connection. Likewise if you have an existing power connection in your bathroom, you can plug the shower into that, but obviously, if you have to have an electric socket added then this would be a job for an electrician. As we’ve already mentioned, steam shower cabins don’t need tiling, which saves you an expensive and miserable job (and its maintenance).
Speaking of maintenance, it’s perfectly straightforward to keep a steam shower clean. Please check out this article if you’d like more information on this issue. https://steamshowerstore.co.uk/blog/shower-and-steam-shower-cleaning-guide
Steam showers and children
As showers have become more popular, parents have been increasingly discovering that it’s actually perfectly feasible to use a shower to wash children. You can create a mini-bath for babies and infants by putting a tub in the base of the shower and then as they get older and can increasingly wash themselves, you can just keep an eye on them the way you would in a bath. You don’t have to get soaked washing their hair, just use the regular shower can keep it pointed on them not on you.
Young children will be far too short to reach the controls to turn on the steam since these are always positioned high up in the shower, for exactly that reason. As children get older, they can start to use steam treatments themselves and when they turn into teenagers, they will probably love the benefits to their skin.
Using a steam shower
Just to be clear the idea behind a steam shower is that you use the regular shower first to get clean and then use the steam generator for a steam treatment.
While everyone is different, a good rule of thumb is to start with having a steam treatment once a week for a period of 5 to 15 minutes. You can then adjust this as necessary according to your needs and wants. As guidance we would say you would want to have at least one steam treatment a week, up to a maximum of three and none of these sessions should be longer than 15 minutes.
We strongly recommend that you drink a glass of water after your steam treatment as you will lose moisture from your body and so will need to rehydrate.
Steam showers and health benefits
As promised earlier, we’ll now talk about the health benefits of steam showers. You may already know that gyms and spas increasingly offer steam showers as part of their facilities and so have had an idea that they must be good for you, but not really understood why.
Here are the basics of what you need to know.
The heat of a steam shower increases your circulation.
The steam in a steam shower deep cleanses your body inside and out.
Essentially all the benefits of steam showers derive from these two facts.
These benefits include:
Improved condition of skin and hair
Boosts to the immune system
Relief from physical joint/muscle pain and mental stress
Easier breathing if you have a cold or more serious respiratory condition
For more information on the general health benefits of using steam showers, please check out our article https://steamshowerstore.co.uk/blog/steam-shower-and-sauna-health-benefits/
Now we’d like to address some questions we regularly get asked about steam showers and specific health topics.
Are steam showers good for losing weight?
This isn’t exactly a myth but it isn’t exactly the healthy option either. Basically, as we mentioned earlier, you will lose body water in a steam shower and since body water contributes to your overall weight, which means that, you can experience a reduction in weight immediately after a steam shower although you’d probably have to steam for at least 30 minutes to see a noticeable difference and we strongly caution against this.
On the other hand, using a steam shower will help ease any joint and/or muscle pain from exercise, along with stimulating your metabolism and helping to detox your body. This means that it can certainly contribute to a weight-loss programme.
Is a steam shower or sauna good for arthritis?
The short answer to this is that saunas are an excellent treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Steam showers can assist with rheumatoid arthritis but they tend to be rather less effective since the fact that steam showers are more humid than saunas means that they have to be kept at a lower temperature and it is heat which provides relief to the pain of arthritis. If you’d like to read more about this, please check out our article https://steamshowerstore.co.uk/blog/pain-reduction-for-rheumatoid-arthritis-and-ankylosing-spondylitis-sufferers/
Are steam rooms good for your skin?
Steam showers are absolutely excellent for both your skin and your hair. In the short term, they thoroughly cleanse the body not just of surface dirt but also of toxins, which can make your skin and hair look dull and trigger blackheads and acne.
Over the longer term, the fact that steam showers boost your circulation means that there is a better flow of nutrients to your skin and hair, helping to improve their overall condition.
People with dry skin can still benefit from steam showers, although they will probably want to keep their treatments on the shorter side. For people with dry skin, the key to making the most of a steam shower treatment is to take advantage of the fact that it really opens the skin's pores, making it the perfect opportunity to maximize the benefits of a deep-moisturising treatment.
Similarly, those with oily skin can apply a deep-cleansing treatment, which we'd recommend following with a good moisturizer.
Teenager tip - It really is a bad idea to squeeze spots. You can, however, shrivel them with an antiseptic such as tea tree or witch hazel and they're at their most vulnerable after a steam treatment.
Blackheads you can squeeze, although it is best to do so using a proper blackhead removal tool. Again, during and immediately after a steam treatment is the perfect time to do this. Your sweat may have pushed some of them out completely and pushed others closer to the surface of your skin. As a minimum, your pores will be open, so you'll have your best chance of getting them out.
Why use aromatherapy oils in a steam shower or sauna?
If you're dubious about aromatherapy, then please let us give a brief explanation of the science behind it.
Everything you take into your body winds up in your bloodstream, which transports it where it needs to go. Everything includes the air we breathe - and anything it contains. If you're feeling dubious about this, think about the likes of nasal sprays, menthol sticks and vapour rubs, all of which are established forms of medication sold in pharmacies around the world.
Aromatherapy is simply the term used to describe medicating with essential oils, which are oils extracted from plants. They are often administered by means of diffusers, which create steam and release it into the air in a room.
Room diffusers can be a useful way to add fragrance and ambience to a room, but even if you are sitting right next to them, they simply do not have the power of the steam generators used in steam showers.
The ability to use essential oils as part of a steam treatment is one of the biggest benefits of having a private steam shower. It allows you to enhance the wide range of benefits already offered by steam, with oils chosen for your specific needs. You can choose essential oils to help relieve both physical and mental conditions, for example menthol oils to help unblock stuffy noses or chamomile for relaxation. If you'd like to learn more about this, please check out our article.
What are the benefits of hydrotherapy massage jets?
So far we've talked mostly about the steam and all the benefits it offers. The fact is that the hydrotherapy massage jets also offer a number of health and wellness benefits.
Probably the most obvious benefit of hydrotherapy massage jets (and a large part of the reason why they are always so popular) is that they do such a great job of relieving physical pain and mental stress.
The longer-term benefits of hydrotherapy massage jets all derive from the fact that, like steam, they increase the circulation. This means that the nutrients in your bloodstream get delivered more quickly while waste and toxins are removed more quickly. If you'd like to know more about hydrotherapy, please check out our article below.