4 Sauna Alternatives for Your Home
While traditional Finnish sauna remains a popular choice for bathers, adding a sauna experience to your home has many downsides. At-home saunas are more susceptible to problems like wood deformation. Wood deformation has its obvious setbacks, like shorter lifespans and declining experiences.
There is also the problem of size. Unless you have a lot of extra room, building an indoor sauna may not be an option.
Fortunately, saunas aren't the only way to boost your well-being and quality of life. Here are four sauna alternatives for your home spa.
1. Steam Shower
Despite both saunas and steam rooms being forms of sweat therapy, steam showers are different from (and superior to) saunas. For one, you will not have to worry about problems related to wood deformation because steam rooms are built with nonporous materials like ceramic tiles, natural stones, etc.
Another difference is temperature. Sauna temperatures range between 160°F and 200°F with very little humidity.
Steam showers range from 105°F to 115°F with nearly 100% humidity. The benefit? Users can enjoy the same advantages of 'extreme heat' without actually being in extreme heat.
It is also highly water-efficient. A 20-minute regular shower uses 50 gallons of water. Meanwhile, a 20-minute steam shower uses only 2.5 gallons.
In addition, unlike a sauna, a steam shower may help with the respiratory system. For example, a steam shower may:
- Promote optimal breathing and opens up nasal passages
- Help encourage sinus drainage
- Promote blood flow
- Provide temporary relief of respiratory symptoms
- Loosen bronchial secretions
- Sooth your throat
- Help detoxify your skin
- Act as a natural expectorant
And, unlike a sauna, you can just convert your existing shower into a steam shower. It comes with all the benefits of a sauna and more.
Looking for ways to enhance a steam shower for maximum benefits? When you add a steam shower to your home, you can include one or more of the following therapies. Each option comes with its own set of additional benefits you may experience:
- AromaTherapy comes in scents like Mint, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Breathe (tropical notes), and Evergreen. Different scents promote different benefits. For instance, you may benefit from soothing relief from stress and tension when you use Lavender.
- MusicTherapy combined with steam may help reduce stress by lowering the level of cortisol in your body.
- ChromaTherapy adds a little color to your steam shower, which may enhance your mood and help you relax more.
3. Hot Bath
Did you know that a 40°C bath can offer similar benefits to a sauna by raising your core body temperature?
That includes the beneficial effects on blood sugar levels, cardiovascular health, body mass and weight, and nitric oxide (the essential molecule for overall health). According to KOA Recovery, passively heating the body in a hot bath has:
- Cardiovascular benefits: may lower your blood pressure and increase the availability of nitric acid.
- Benefits similar to exercise: studies show that hot baths can produce similar effects to one hour of cycling, making it possible to help maintain a healthy weight or contribute to a lower body fat percentage.
- Heat-shock protein release: the preparation of damaged proteins. Benefits of the release include protecting the heart, increasing insulin production, recovering & repairing muscles faster, and more. Research shows that being immersed in water at 40°C for an hour can spike heat-shock protein release from 23-39%.
However, steam showers have all the advantages of hot tubs and saunas mixed into one room.4. Infrared Sauna Blanket
Another alternative some people are turning to is a portable, infrared sauna blanket. While this may be a quick and easy alternative to the traditional sauna (and it may be), it is not better or safer than a steam shower.
In fact, the problem with these blankets is that some of the most attractive benefits it claims to provide — detoxing your body, helping fight cancer, and driving weight loss — have been called out as a myth.
On the other hand, many experts have been very vocal about its more severe disadvantages:
- Possible side effects like vertigo, migraines, and dizziness
- May cause issues if you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, or are currently taking medication for high blood pressure or diuretics.
- It can lead to dehydration and overheating.
Why steam room wet heat is superior to dry heat
Simply put, steam rooms are the best alternative to an at-home sauna. A steam shower’s wet heat is superior to dry heat in various ways. Unlike a sauna's dry heat, the wet heat from a steam generator helps with congestion and respiration and acts as a natural expectorant.
Other benefits of steam showers not yet mentioned may include:
- Skincare — may cleanse, enhance appearance, open up pores, lubricate the skin, hydrate, rejuvenate, and leave a healthy glow.
- Physical Wellness— may increase blood circulation, boost metabolism, loosen stiff muscles, and burn up to 150 calories in a 15-minute session at 114 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Overall Well-being — may act as a stress reducer and encourage relaxation, promote better sleep, and foster a sense of well-being.
- Holistic Health — may support the removal of toxins in your body, help with temporary joint pain, and rid the body of excess sodium.
- And More! — de-wrinkles clothes, reduces your carbon footprint, may increase the value of your home, and saves energy.
Mr. Steam has the market's best steam shower generators, controls, and accessories. Check out our steam shower packages to create the ultimate steam shower experience in the comfort of your own home.