There are some occasions when you can just wing it. You probably shouldn’t, but if you really have to you can. We’ve probably all had to bluff our way through a situation at some point in our lives. Your health, however, is different. Yes, you can enjoy the odd bit of excess every now and again and make up for it by being especially good afterwards, but if you continually neglect your health, the chances are you’re going to wind up paying for it over the long term and, by contrast, if you take good care of your health, then you vastly increase your chances of staying healthy over the long term. Up until recently, only the wealthiest people could afford to have health and wellness facilities in their own home. Now, however, people with ordinary incomes in standard-sized homes can create their own personal spas to take the best, possible care of their health, including having the option of installing a home sauna and/or a steam shower.
Full steam ahead?
The headline benefit of both home saunas and steam showers is, of course, the steam, which is simple but amazing in so many ways. Steam cleans out the body like nothing else can. The beauty industry uses steam to draw out impurities from the skin, which it most certainly does, but the biggest benefits come when you move away from the steam facial treatments commonly used in the beauty industry for their compact size and let your whole body feel the steam. You also want to breathe it in, literally, so it gets right down into your body to give your insides a clean. Steam molecules are so tiny, they can even get into the crevices in the lungs and get out all the dirt and pollutants, which are a hazard of modern life. You’ll almost certainly notice a difference in your breathing, especially if you live in a city and/or if you have a cold since steam is utterly brilliant for unblocking sinuses (which makes it good for some forms of allergies too). Steam can also be used to carry essential oils, which bring their own benefits.
On the other hand, some people just don’t like steam, which is why both home saunas and steam showers offer other benefits.
From steam heat to infrared heat – a new take on a traditional health practice.
When you think of a home sauna, there’s probably a fair chance you think of the traditional style of sauna, which has been a feature of life in many countries for centuries. Those saunas are most certainly still around and as popular as they ever were, but there is now a newer option for people who want to enjoy the benefits of heat without the steam and that is to enjoy an infrared sauna. Infrared heating has been around for many years now, but it is still generally kept for localized heat (often outdoor heaters) as it requires a greater up-front investment than conventional heating systems. Infrared saunas are a safe and convenient way to enjoy the benefits of a deep heat treatment without the steam used in conventional saunas. Heat alone offers many health benefits, particularly when it comes to treating physical pain. It’s also great for helping us to unwind mentally. In fact, these days, that may be its single, biggest benefit. The fact of the matter is that even though you can have fun in the cold, you can’t really lounge around in it the way you can just lie back and relax on a warm summer day. The heat from a sauna, gives you that wonderful, relaxing feeling all year round. It’s no wonder they’re considered an essential part of life in countries which have long, harsh winters. The colder seasons can be bad enough and if you, like many people, find that they get you down, then a traditional sauna or infrared sauna could be a huge benefit to you.
Make the most of massage
Steam showers generally come with hydrotherapy jets, which are basically the sort of jets you get in a whirlpool bath only in a shower. They give you a great massage right in your own bathroom. Now, obviously, nobody’s suggesting that the hydrotherapy jets in steam showers are a match for a qualified and experienced massage therapist, what we are saying is that they’re a very affordable and cost-effective way of getting a very decent massage on a regular basis and depending on your level of need you may find that they are (more than) sufficient on their own or that they can supplement your other treatments. If you’re the sort of person who knows 100% that you’re never going to touch steam, you may find it best to look for a straightforward hydrotherapy shower, which just has the massage jets. Having said that, although steam generators can be retrofitted to showers, the difference in price between hydrotherapy showers and steam showers (with hydrotherapy jets) is fairly low and while you yourself might not be a fan of steam, any guests you have might appreciate it and it could make your home more attractive as, when and if you move to sell it.
Steam and children
Children below the age of puberty can’t regulate their body temperature as effectively as adults can, this is a biological function which develops during puberty. This means that they are more vulnerable to the effects of heat. Opinion varies as to whether young children should be permitted in saunas. In countries where saunas are an integral part of the lifestyle, such as Finland, its standard practice to take infants into saunas, but only for very limited times. Other people believe that children under 8 should never be allowed in saunas. If you have a child below puberty and they are interested in using your sauna or the steam function in your shower, it is advisable to check with your doctor before taking a decision. Once children hit their teenage years and become young adults, they too can enjoy saunas and steam showers and it may be very helpful to them, particularly with regard to easing the dreaded acne. Well-designed stand-alone saunas can be closed off so young children can’t access them and high-quality steam showers put the controls to the steam generator high enough up to be out of reach of younger children.