Five Reasons Why Your Home Needs a Steam Shower
Economists and personal-finance gurus are always keen to remind us that there is a difference between wants and needs. Needs, of course, are things like food, shelter, and transportation. Wants, on the other hand, make our existence way more comfortable and fun. For example, we need to eat, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy a well-prepared meal at a restaurant with good friends and a bottle of fabulous wine. You need a home, true, but want to add on a beautiful deck addition. We need to get dressed in the morning… and those stylish shoes really bring the ensemble together.
But here’s the cool thing: having a steam shower in your home addresses both wants and needs. Yes, you can really have it both ways. Let’s take a look at five reasons a steam shower at home fulfills basic needs, like wellbeing, as well as providing for the equally important “wants” side of life, too.
In our busy society, it’s easy to get caught up in the mad rush of commuting, working and juggling responsibilities. Yet chronic stress needs to be taken seriously. Unchecked, it can roil sleep patterns, affect libido, or change appetite. Stress can make health issues like heart disease, anxiety, and diabetes worse. A study recently published in the journal Neurology, even associated higher levels of stress with lower brain volumes and impaired memory. Yikes.
A steam shower creates a spa experience at home, creating a daily stress-free zone. Just 10, 15 or 20 minutes in the steam shower unwinds both the mind and body, lowering stress levels. Steam-shower therapies like Aromatherapy, Chromatherapy, and Musictherapy further engage the senses, taking relaxation and focus to even deeper levels.
Restore Healthy Sleep Patterns
According to the Centers for Disease Control, a full third of U.S. adults regularly do not get their recommended amount of sleep (7 to 8 hours for adults). Sleep is not a luxury, the CDC reminds us, as a lack of sleep contributes to big-time health problems such as heart disease, as well as scary mistakes like auto accidents or mistakes in the workplace. To keep performance high, and the risk of disease and obesity low, it’s simply crucial to get enough sleep.
And here is where steam comes in: Taking a nightly steam before bed helps establish a sleep routine, or, as the experts at the National Sleep Foundation like to call it, good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene means taking steps to help body and mind shift into the sleep phase, with tools like a set bedtime, keeping the bedroom between 60 and 67 degrees, avoiding heavy meals in the evening, and a routine that sets the stage for a great night of rest.
“Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual,” the Sleep Foundation advises. “A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.” A nice steam session—especially with added calming essential oils such as lavender, can create just such a ritual.
Steam may also be beneficial in improving sleep cycles. In fact, a recent study found that inhaling warm steam “increased deep sleep … leading to an improved subjective sleep quality in participants with mild sleep difficulties and anxiety.”
For more on how steam showers may help prepare body and mind for sleep, read “Steam Your Way to the Sleep of Your Dreams.”
Soothe Aches and Pains
Whether you’re a weekend warrior who just banged out a half-marathon, a nationally ranked pickleball pro, or simply did one too many chaturangas in yoga yesterday, the results can be the same: delayed onset muscle soreness. (AKA, “Ooo, I’m gonna feel this tomorrow…”) One of the benefits of a steam shower is it can help in recovery, by reducing pain, soothing muscles, and increasing circulation to foster healing.
“Taking a steam shower is like putting yourself into one giant heat pack,” physical therapist Allison Guttman shared in this article. “Just like lubricant prevents gears from grinding and creaking in a car, the moisture from steam lubricates joints.” Guttman suggests that while you are enjoying the steam, gently massage any areas that are causing pain.
Steaming may help calm arthritis pain, too, and a 2013 study found that using heat to treat knees can increase their flexibility. That’s why some people will take a steam as a warm-up prior to an exercise session, as they may then experience a greater ease of movement and range of motion.
Top athletes also use steam to aid muscle recovery, as steam may help remove lactic acid and rebuild muscles micro-damaged during exertion. For more on how elite athletes use steam to raise their game, click here.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that for thousands and thousands of years, cultures around the world have turned to steam not only for bathing, but also for another very important benefit: social connection. In Iceland, for example, most towns have a social life centered around a geothermically heated pool, where residents gather to chat and relax.
At home, a steam shower is the ideal place to wind down with a loved one. Reconnect with your child or partner, as you listen to music together, talk about the day’s highlights, or simply bask in the puffy steam in quiet contemplation.
Fostering these strong social bonds is a wise investment, as it enhances health and longevity. According to Psychology Today, multiple research studies suggest that feeling connected to others boosts emotional and physical wellbeing, by improving immune function, lowering anxiety and depression, and quelling inflammation.
Improve Your Home’s Value
If you’re on the fence about investing in home improvement projects like a steam shower, remember this advice: “Making small upgrades over time serves a seller immensely,” Brian Lewis, a New York-based real estate broker told Kiplinger. His point? Upgrades like outdoor lighting or a walk-in pantry can be gradually checked off your list, all the while boosting your enjoyment of the home while you are in residence. And, when it comes time to sell, these home improvements garner higher resale prices as well as lowering the time spent on market.
It’s especially wise to focus on the master bathroom, as having an up-to-date, spa-inspired bathroom is one of the top three investments that adds resale value, reports the National Association of Realtors. According to Zillow, the term “steam shower” in a listing led to a 29% higher sale price when compared to homes that did not include a steam shower. A steam shower catches future buyers' attention, lending a home that important “wow!” factor.
Even if you don’t plan to move, installing a residential steam shower is also a savvy investment if you decide to remain your home and age in place. Read more about Home Upgrades That Impact Your Health and Wellness Before and During Retirement.
See more on the significant benefits of a steam shower and how it can add value to your home, click here.
Steam offers numerous benefits that enhance health and wellbeing, help connect us with loved ones, and yes, it’s a smart investment in the home, too. So next time the financial gurus tell us that wants and needs are different, we can say, “Well, actually….” Because you can in fact have both—at least, when it comes to a steam shower.