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Steam rooms – also called steam baths, Turkish baths or hammams – have long been used by different civilisations for their therapeutic properties. Their use has seen them through ancient cultures such as the Greeks, Romans, and Turks where a steam room would have been used as a public space for relaxation and socialisation. Many countries continue folkloric traditions around the steam room that promote a healthy dose of spirituality.

However, nowadays steam rooms have become increasingly popular in the modern-day equivalent: sports clubs, spas , hotels and resorts. In today’s fast-paced world, everyone is looking for ways to relieve stress and unwind. In this article, we will explore the benefits of steam rooms in wellness centres and why they are worth the investment.

What is a steam room?

Steam rooms are hot, humid enclosed spaces designed to offer therapeutic and restorative experiences. The heat and humidity in a steam room can help to relax your muscles, reduce stress, and improve blood circulation. This kind of therapy, even in small doses, has enormous health benefits.

A typical steam room consists of a small, enclosed space with seats that is heated by a steam generator. These rooms are usually made of tile, marble, stone or some other non-porous material that can withstand high humidity levels. However, it is also possible to find steam rooms made of wood.

The temperature inside a steam room typically ranges between 40-50ºC, while the humidity can reach up to 100%. Some state-of-the-art steam generators can also be equipped with an aroma diffuser, a water softener, music therapy or an RGB LED chromotherapy connection in order to enhance the wellness experience and leave users feeling more immersed.

What are the benefits of steam rooms?

Steam rooms offer numerous benefits, including:

  • Relaxing muscles and relieving stress: the heat of the steam room promotes the movement of blood to the muscles, leaving them feeling more relaxed and less tense. This has the secondary effect of making you feel less stressed in both body and mind.
  • Promoting better sleep: using a steam room before bedtime can give you a deeper night’s sleep and help you feel more refreshed as you wake. It has been proven that doses of steam before bed help in various ways.
  • Improving circulation and detoxing the body: The heat and humidity in a steam room make you sweat more, releasing toxins while doing so. It improves circulation by widening blood vessels.
  • Helping to open up your pores and cleanse your skin of impurities.
  • Beneficial for your respiratory health. The warm, moist air inside the room can help to relieve congestion and loosen phlegm, making it easier to breathe.
  • Great post-workout recovery. The heat and humidity inside the room can help to relax your muscles and reduce soreness after a workout.

How should you use a steam room?

Steam rooms are a place of relaxation and enjoyment . They offer multiple health benefits that allow you to feel like you’re doing good to your body while indulging yourself in something pleasurable. This makes for a pretty unique combination in the world of fitness and health.

While inside the steam room, just lie or sit back and relax on the stone, wood or marble benches. You can also enjoy the dimmed lights which provide the maximum calming experience. However, there are some considerations you need to make before stepping inside.

Before using a steam room you should think about your health and hygiene. If you have a medical condition or are pregnant, you should speak with your doctor before using a steam room. It is also important to follow proper hygiene practices to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses to those around you.

Before entering the steam room, make sure you drink plenty of water and put on loose-fitting clothing. These are both ideal as the heat and humidity can cause you to sweat and lose fluids.

It is important to stay hydrated by drinking water throughout your session. This has the added benefit of giving you more fluid to sweat out, increasing the detoxifying attributes of the session. It’s also essential to limit your time in the steam room to no more than 15-20 minutes at a time to avoid overexposure to heat and humidity, which can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and even fainting.

After your steam room session, make sure you cool down gradually and rehydrate yourself by taking regular sips of water.

Types of steam rooms

When designing a steam room for a wellness space, it’s important to analyse the local environment, surrounding conditions, and desired aesthetic experience , along with the project’s business objectives. These considerations are equally as important as proper ventilation, insulation, and efficient heating.

In practice, you will find steam rooms that are part of a built-in or prefabricated room. Steam rooms can be made to measure from scratch. They can be recessed in an existing building wall or erected on their own as a stand-alone module. They can even be installed outdoors, like outdoor saunas that emulate Finnish saunas.

The different types of steam rooms fall into categories related to the building materials and finishes:

  • Solid surface : with a minimalist design, these rooms are made of elegant materials. They are durable, as well as easy to maintain and keep clean.
  • Stone lined : an irregular stone finish gives the steam room a rustic and natural feel. This is also an enduring style and combines perfectly with other solutions such as a hydrotherapy shower.
  • Ceramic coating : these use extruded polystyrene panels with a fibre cement finish. This allows for many colour and texture options, e.g., mosaics, which provide a traditional look that evokes the steam room’s Roman heritage.
  • Acrylic : cabins made from acrylic are spacious and bright. They are very trendy as well as hygienic, easy to clean and durable.
  • Wood : for a more rustic, nordic appeal, you can opt for wooden steam rooms. These need to be made of softwood, which can soak up the steam and withstand heat absorption without long-term damage. Types of wood used include eucalyptus, basswood, cedar, and thermo-spruce.

Cleaning and maintenance tips

No matter what type of steam room you have, there’s one thing all of these installations have in common: the need to know how to clean and maintain it in order to guarantee the perfect wellness experience.

Cleaning measures in steam rooms are not only important for hygiene reasons: they also ensure the installation lasts longer and requires less intensive and expensive maintenance operations.

Several factors can influence how often it has to be cleaned. However, if it is used quite regularly, the recommendation is to clean it on a daily basis. Here are some simple but specific steps to ensure total hygiene:

  1. Sweep and vacuum the superficial dirt
  2. Scrub and remove dirt or sweat stains
  3. Disinfect ventilation areas and the rest of the installation
  4. Consider scents and smell
  5. Perform routine maintenance checks

Since exposure to high temperatures and moisture can affect its integrity and appeal, wood requires specific treatment and regular maintenance operations. On the one hand, temperature fluctuations may cause cracks in the wood while, on the other, steam may end up darkening some materials over time.

Some key considerations in how to clean a steam room’s wooden surface include:

  • Protecting wooden steam room surfaces before using them by employing a breathable wood preservative product. This product can be oil or wax based. Its main job is to improve the wood’s resistance to dirt and moisture, making it easier to clean and providing a more vivid tone.
  • Disinfectants are not suitable for wood cleaning because they can bleach the wood and cause irreversible damage to its surface. Pressure cleaning equipment should also be avoided, as it may damage the wood’s structure.
  • Special products for dirt-repellent protection can be applied longitudinally on the wood.
  • Leave heaters on for at least half an hour while the air vent is open, and the door and windows closed. Let surfaces dry after cleaning the steam room.
  • Advise users to not wear wet swimsuits in a wooden steam room, as they may damage the bench. Providing seat covers is often a good solution.

Making a decision on a steam room need not be hazy

Installing a steam room inside a wellness centre increases the flexibility and range of the product tenfold. Nowadays, it has even become a feature that many people expect to see. The unique relaxation and health benefits mean a steam room is perfectly placed to make users feel completely comfortable. Used in conjunction with swimming pools, spas, saunas and massage parlours, a steam room is a highly valuable addition to any wellness offering.