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3 Reasons to Choose a Home Steam Bath vs. a Sauna

From exercise recovery to skincare, sweating as a form of heat therapy is a valuable, scientifically-backed tool for wellness routines. Of course, there’s not just one way to sweat, which is how many homeowners, convinced of the benefits of sweat, find themselves asking: Is the sauna or the steam bath better to install at home?

Both the sauna and the steam bath are likely to help ease muscle tension and stress. Likewise, both may improve circulation and promote sweating, which opens up the pores and cleanses the skin. Both steam baths and saunas are great therapies to help with post-workout recovery, as both increase blood flow, which delivers more nutrients to the muscle and sends more oxygen to the muscles. However, for all their similarities, there are some key differences between adding a sauna to the home versus a steam bath, namely space, convenience, and the wet vs. dry heat.  

Choosing between a sauna or steam shower for your home wellness routine? Consider these three reasons a steam shower may better meet your needs.


Save space with a steam bath.

Saunas are contained rooms lined in kiln-dried woods that help to absorb moisture under extreme heat. By contrast, steam baths can be discreetly added to your bathroom by enclosing your shower in glass and tile: the generator is installed in a closet, a vanity, a heated attic or basement, or in the space under your steam shower bench. It is then connected to plumbing, electrical, the steam shower control, and the steamhead. With design-forward accessories, a steam bath can complement any interior design style, too.  

>>> Can You Turn a Regular Shower into a Steam Shower?


Make wellness a seamless part of your daily routine.

There are two kinds of wellness routines: the one you aspire to and the one you do. Often, the difference comes down to convenience and proximity, two advantages to the home steam shower that may make it a more usable part of your everyday routine. You’re likely to take a shower every day and since the steam shower system turns your shower into your steam room, adding steam to your routine is easy because you’re already there. In contrast, saunas must be installed separately from the shower in their dedicated area and may feel more like an extra step. Ultimately, the best heat therapy will be the one you practice consistently.

Regardless of your choice, start with short sessions, such as five minutes, and work up to the maximum recommended times, about 20 minutes, slowly over time for best results.



Take advantage of wet heat.

While any heat may offer some relief from symptoms related to allergies, colds, or flu, the ease of use, aromatherapy options, and the soothing properties of a steam shower may provide the relief you seek. Steam offers an all-natural way to help relieve respiratory symptoms, acting as a natural expectorant, which may help drain your sinuses. Research has also shown that steam therapy may help loosen bronchial secretions and temporarily relieve symptoms.

Wellness routines are important not just for how you feel but also for how you look. Both saunas and steam baths can be useful tools for skin care. But sweating in a steam shower combines the benefits of opening pores, sweating, and the moisture of steam to help wash away the bad stuff.

For the best results, do an initial cleanse to remove makeup and any surface-level dirt before you steam. Afterward, shower normally to wash away any additional dead skin or bacterial debris loosened up from the steam session. Learn more about achieving glowing skin with steam here.

How much does it cost to make an at-home steam bath? 

A lot can go into the cost of making a steam shower, which is why it's so important to have your budget set beforehand. The price of your luxury steam shower depends on:

  • The type of generator you purchase with smaller generators ranging from $1,550 (rooms up to 71 cubic feet) to $3,350 (rooms 162-257 cubic feet).
  • The type of construction material. For instance, natural stone can add 50% to your total costs, while ceramic, porcelain, and glass tile don't heighten the price.
  • If your ceiling is more than 8 feet tall, you can expect an additional charge of 15% per foot to your cubic feet calculation to extend. 
  • Steamheads come in multiple options and prices: Aroma Glass, Aroma Designer Finish, and Linear.
  • Add-ons such as SteamTherapy (ChromaTherapy, MusicTherapy, and AromaTherapy) require more labor costs.

>>> How to Estimate the Price of Installing a Steam Shower in Your Home

You may also wonder how much your in-home steam bath can cost you over time with ongoing maintenance and energy costs. However, there are ways you can minimize the need for maintenance — such as installing an AutoFlush system, adding a water softener to your home, and performing manual cleans on your steam generator every few years. A 20-minute steam costs less than $1 in terms of energy. 

Visit our VirtualSpa tool to calculate the exact cost of your ideal steam shower system so you can prepare your budget and get the most out of your bathroom.

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