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Steam Showers: All the Benefits and Convenience of a Spa in Your Home

The weather is beginning to turn chilly and allergy and flu seasons are well upon us. It’s a time of year when health maintenance and wellness are on everyone’s mind. So allow me to introduce you to something you may not have considered before: steam showers. Or, the ultimate in relaxation and home spa-treatments.

This contraption may look like something designed to beam you up into space. In fact, it’s actually a fully operational, self-contained steam shower unit that you can install in your own home. They vary in style and price range, and some of them look more space-age than others. If you’re like me, you might not have even known what a steam shower was until relatively recently; I have not spent much time in spas over the years. But it turns out a steam shower is pretty much exactly what is sounds like–you immerse yourself in steam instead of water.

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Instead of simply being designed to get you clean, this sort of shower comes with many added health benefits. Steam showers have been known to improve circulation, unclog pores, hydrate dry skin, sooth sore muscles, clear sinuses, and even facilitate weight loss. They make you sweat, which releases all sorts of toxins from your body. It’s also a luxurious and relaxing experience, and one that you’ll often find included in spa treatments. And we’ve known about the benefits of steam for literally millennia; all the way back to the bathhouses of the Roman Empire. How many other interior decorating choices can you claim will improve your health as well as your home?

A steam shower may seem like a complicated and bizarre thing to consider installing in your home. But the mechanism that creates the steam is actually fairly simple – pretty much the same thing as an electric kettle. Water is heated up to the boiling point and the steam is filtered into the water-tight chamber. Depending on the quality and model, the time it takes may vary, although for some it takes as little as five minutes. Most steam showers also double as traditional showers–if you’re in the mood for a liquid shower rather than a gaseous one. Some even have bath units attached. In the above picture, for instance, the unit also comes equipped with a whirlpool tub.

The ultimate in steam showers--your own personal spa room.
The ultimate in steam showers–your own personal spa room. (By NF Interiors)

On the more luxurious side, of course, there’s always a more classic, permanent style steam shower. Home spas are not really in the cards for most of us. But if you were considering a shower remodel anyway, outfitting it with a steam unit could be a beneficial investment. Enclosures for steam showers need to be a little different than your usual shower, though. You can’t leave them open to the air at the top, or obviously all the steam would escape. Steam also gets a lot hotter than water, so you’ll have to keep that in mind as well. There are all sorts of styles of home steam showers, from the very simple to the dazzlingly intricate, with built-in benches, beds, and lounges.

Some steam shower units are even capable of self-cleaning. (By Beckwith Interiors, photo by Kim Sargent)
Some steam shower units are even capable of self-cleaning. (By Beckwith Interiors, photo by Kim Sargent)

Steam may seem like a unnecessary and outlandish addition to a bathroom remodel. But it really is a tried and true method of rest and relaxation, harnessed throughout the centuries. It’s easier than ever to enjoy the health benefits of a spa treatment without ever having to venture out into the cold. And that certainly sounds like something worth getting excited over!