A steam shower enclosure is a sealed unit that has a steam generator that develops a large amount of steam in a short period of time. This allows the steam to completely fill the enclosure and is prevented from escaping due to seamed and magnetically sealed doors. In addition to the steam bath which is very similar to a sauna, a steam shower enclosures also has all the regular features of a traditional shower stall.
Most commonly these units will have an overhead shower intended to mimic a natural rain shower. In addition to this most steam showers also have a hand held wand for washing as well as massaging jets mounted in the walls.
The purpose is to sit in the steam similar to a wet style sauna, different from infra red saunas in that it is a wet heat as opposed to a dry heat, which promotes heavy sweating. You sit in the steam shower enclosure for between 5 minutes to one hour depending on the temperature you set it at as well as your tolerance to heat. After this period of time you are covered in sweat and then have the option of showering off without changing locations.
The physical benefits of sitting in a steam shower include improved blood flow and oxygen flow in the body, increased heart rate and metabolic activity, increased perspiration which is the bodies main method of releasing toxins that we absorb as part of our every day life. They also help to rebuild your muscles, reduce muscle fatigue and assist in removing lactic acid from your muscles which makes owning and using a steam shower very common for high level athletes as this allows them to train harder and recover faster all from the comfort of their own home.
Custom installations can be built however the costs associated with doing so are significantly higher than purchasing a complete enclosure which you put together and install yourself or with the help of a contractor. The installation of these pre-built units is relatively easy with only an electrical line, hot water, cold water and a floor drain being required.
Some enclosures are designed and shaped to fit in the standard size area that a bathtub insert occupies. This helps to minimize renovation time and costs and allows you to buy and install your steam shower enclosure relatively quickly. Available in all shapes and sizes the average cost of a steam shower enclosure is between $1500 to $7500 with the majority of retail enclosures costing around $3000 to $4000.
Even though a steam shower enclosure is designed to hold the steam in and experience minimal loss, the steam is all released as soon as you open the door. For this reason it is important to install in an area that has mold free drywall and an exhaust fan like a bathroom has. No special provisions are needed in most cases as the bathroom exhaust fan is more than sufficient to make sure all the steam is properly vented and does not cause any damage to the area it is installed.