Stylish notes on health :: Let's get steamy!

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I admittedly knew little about steam - showers or baths - until very recently. My trip to London was made possible by several sponsors, one of which is Mr. Steam, a company I knew nothing about at the time. What I've learned about the company and about the steam shower, warrants more than a passing thank you at the bottom of a post. So, this piece is all about the history and power of steam.

via Flickr

via Flickr

Where it all began... A brief and steamy history

The steam bath dates back centuries, to the Bronze Age, and early ruins of these baths can be found in what we now refer to Pakistan and India. The Greeks and Romans also recognized the hidden power of steam and boasted lavish bathing facilities in ornate structures. In Greece, these buildings came from modest beginnings. Eventually these simple buildings boasted marble mouthed lions who poured down streams of water and offered tranquil pools that served a place for athletes to go after exercising to relax and philosophize. This ritual soon included cleansing sands and hot air in dark, vaulted vapor baths, followed by a cooling plunge and a aromatic rubdown. The Romans, ever so competitive with the Greeks had to make their own houses bigger and better than their rivals and created their own "thermae" versions, that were even larger, and better. These versions boasted restaurants and a multitude of luxurious baths. Meanwhile Japan had thousands of hot water springs that were fueled by active volcanoes that people had been enjoying since 1000 CE. These baths were enjoyed by women and men together but this practiced stopped in the Victorian Era when Western influences and opinions started infiltrating the Eastern culture. These steam baths have also been enjoyed around the world from the Sweat Lodges of the Native American Indians, to the Aztecs and the and the Alaskan Inuits. In the Middle East, Turkish Baths and in Europe the eastern Banya and the hot springs of Iceland were sought for their relaxing and restorative powers. Enter the new world and the modern era. As new immigrants came to America, they brought with them their steam bathing traditions. Russian steam rooms started popping up in New York, Chicago, even as far north as Toronto. Here men gathered to socialize, relax and leave the stresses of the day behind them. And today, you can enjoy the healing and relaxing benefits in your own home, thanks to Mr. Steam's Steam Shower.

via Mr. Steam

How you can benefit from steam in your own home...

You don't need much space at all to have your own steam shower. In fact, all you need is a 3 x 3 x 7 space for your shower. That's all! A small steam generator, about the size of a briefcase, heats the water. The steam is heated to 110 degrees and enters the shower through steam heads, not unlike shower heads. In the steam you sit and relax in total comfort for 10 - 20 minutes and then follow it up with a refreshing shower. Your body might just feel like Jell-o when you're all done... and that's exactly as you should feel!

Mr. Steam also merges scent, light and sound to create a Total Body Sensory Experience. Inside your shower you'll find the controls, but there's a wireless option as well. ChromaTherapy adds the therapeutic effect of colored lights and aromatherapy and music complete the experience.

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The power of steam...

Steam has many benefits. Not only will it melt your troubles away at the end of the day but the warm moisture will open your pores, making your skin softer, more supple and more hydrated. Steam does wonders for dry skin! Steam can fight against cellulite and boost your metabolism. It's a natural dexot that removed harmful impurities from your body. It enhances breathing, leaving you with an improved sense of tranquility. Steam can improve sleep and wellness. Steam is often recommended to relieve symptoms of colds, flu, sinusitis, bronchitis, allergies, asthma, throat irritation, arthritis, stiff joints and sore muscles.

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The power of steam combined with the power of scent...

Add some essential oils to your steam for even more rewarding and beneficial qualities. AromaTherapy has been recognized for its healing effects for centuries as an early form of medicine - a holistic approach to caring for the body using botanical oils.  Each aroma offers its own unique benefits.

Eucalyptus: A deeply refreshing aroma with cleansing effects, eucalyptus may help open air passageways
Lavender: A sweet, lightly floral scent, lavender may help soothe anxiety with its calming and restorative properties.
Evergreen: A refreshing blend of spruce, fir and pine reminiscent of a forest on a crisp morning
Energizing Mint: A blend of mint, citrus and herbs that may stimulate and energize
Breathe: A tropical combination that may help clear chest, nose and sinuses
I think I am just the person Mr. Steam had in mind when they invented their fabulous steam showers. This is something I simply must have in my next home! If you think steam therapy is also for you please do stop by Mr. Steam's site to learn all about their product and see just how affordable a steam shower system really is!