To Steam or Not to Steam

By Judy Kimble – Gerhard’s Store Marketing Manager

I am a huge proponent of steam. But, I wasn’t always. In 1989 my husband and I moved to Chicago. He had one “must have” on his wish list – it was a health club with a steam shower. Yup – that’s it. I didn’t understand it, but heck if that was the only thing on his wish list…I was all in. Admittedly, I always deemed the steam deal as a guy thing. From the long before we even met, he had always gone to the health club and the steam was part of his daily regimen. To many the term “executive workout” actually means steam. As for me…well I tried it once and hated it. I was as anxious to escape as quickly as I entered.  It was wicked hot, I felt claustrophobic, I couldn’t breathe – I had to exit immediately. Yet – it was his wish so what the heck….. He selected a health club in the city where he would visit daily to experience the almighty steam. 

In 1996 we embarked on building a custom home and I had what I thought was a selfless brilliant idea. We should put include a steam in our master bath!  It seemed ridiculous to me that he would drive 20 minutes each way on the weekend just to take a steam. I asked the plumber about it.  Then I got the bath designer involved. I was shocked to discover how reasonably priced it was to put a steam unit in. In my mind – I thought he’ll get a steam and I’ll get that dreamy whirlpool, we will both be happy. 

Once we settled in our new nest, my husband began to “coach me” on why I should give the steam another chance. He offered suggestions like….just sit in there and try to relax, your skin will feel great, you can condition your hair, use hair conditioner and shave your legs, it will clear your head. It was too scary to try.  So…on one blistery subzero evening I came in from a 4 mile walk and thought…I’m going to take a hot soaking whirlpool.  My husband said – take a steam. The tub will take 87 gallons of water, the steam will take one.

That was enough to strike my think green mentality. I turned on the steam. In less than 2 minutes I entered the warm air (the whirlpool would have taken much longer). I went all out and decided to do a deep conditioner on my hair. Then I took my normal hair conditioner and put it all over my legs and shaved my legs. I was not at all claustrophobic. In fact, it was quite the opposite. It was so relaxing and warm. My legs were so silky and smooth– best shave ever!  I am not kidding.  It was the best and a life changer.  From that night on – I started to steam regularly. I never got into a cold shower again. 

It’s now 2016, three homes later, three steams later and now living in WI. I am proud to tell you that I a frequent steam user. Since that one evening in 1996 when I became a convert, I can tell you that I LOVE STEAM.  I can’t even imagine life without steam. This morning it was a minus 15 degrees wind-chill. So what? I literally jump out of bed, turn on the steam and minutes later I am in a tropical relaxing paradise. I never feel trapped as I can set my own temperature. My steam is 111 degrees and I stay in for approximately seven minutes. My husband – totally different. He likes it hotter, at 116 degrees and he has the tolerance to stay in for up to 20 minutes. In 2012 we purchased a home and gutted it to the studs and of course converted our shower to a steam shower. The steam unit we have today is four years old. It has a tiny well for aroma therapy, it is fast response, it cleans itself with a push of 2 buttons and it has a digital clock. Today you can get all that and more such as music, digital valve connection and custom controls for each user. The generator itself is buried in my closet wall with a trap door – it’s small enough to fit between our 2” x 6” walls. Totally inconspicuous!  

Steam is affordable. It’s also a daily reward that if you have, you will repeatedly enjoy.  Retrofitting an existing shower into a steam shower is not a huge ordeal but we do recommend the use of a professional Remodeler / Plumber. You need the walls and ceilings to be waterproof. You need a shower door with complete enclosure to prevent steam from escaping. The steam generators come in multiple sizes and are based on the cubic feet in your shower.

Known benefits of steam:

  • Improves your sleep
  • Soothe cold allergy symptoms
  • Takes less than 2 gallons of water for a 20 minute steam
  • The energy cost for an average steam shower session is less than $1.
  • Can remove toxins from the body
  • Sooths nasal passages and respiratory tract, relieves congestion, and clears the sinuses.
  • It relaxes mind and body and neutralizes stress.

I sincerely hope this persuades you to enjoy the affordable luxuries in your own home.  Steam is a necessity once you have it.


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