Sauna vs. Steam Room

Sauna or steam room?

On image: Sauna or steam room?

The difference between a sauna and a steam room can be summarized merely — dry vs. wet. Saunas provide dry heat, while steam rooms create moist heat. Both can open up your pores, loosen up your muscles and help you unwind. Which one is right for you? It’s mainly a matter of personal preference.

Dry or Steamy?

The dry heat of a traditional sauna begins with a heater that heats up a stack of rocks. Those rocks radiate heat into the space. In a lot of saunas, you can pour water over the heated rocks to produce some steam and improve the humidity a bit — although no place near the level of a steam room. Saunas have a vent, generally found near the floor by the heating system, that constantly generates fresh air and limits the humidity buildup. Some saunas, nevertheless, use infrared light rather than convected heat.

Inside a steam room, a device called a steam generator boils water into steam and launches it into the air. Unlike a sauna, a steam bath is nearly airtight, so the humidity constructs to 100 percent. The air is so moist that water condenses on the walls.

Saunas Are Hotter

Saunas run substantially hotter than steam bath, although due to the fact that of the variance in humidity, your body might not sense the difference. A common sauna will be set in between 160 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity level of 5 percent to 30 percent. Steam rooms top out at about 110 to 120 degrees, but the 100 percent humidity keeps your sweat from evaporating, making you feel much hotter. Whether dry or wet, hot air always rises. In both saunas and steam rooms, the greater up you sit, the hotter you’ll get.

Have a Seat

Saunas are constructed of wood for a factor; metal benches or tiled walls inside the searing heat of a sauna would burn you. Plus, wood takes in moisture, which not only keeps the surfaces cooler but likewise assists pull humidity out of the air. In steam rooms, however, the high humidity and consistent condensation would cause wood to degrade fairly rapidly. Steam bath are surfaced with non-porous materials, such as tile, that can get wet without causing problems. Self-contained systems, such as those for home use, are typically plastic. Steam bath usually have sloped ceilings, so that water will diminish to the walls instead of drip all over the occupants.

Relax and Destress

Steam rooms and saunas share some therapeutic advantages. Above all, they both decrease muscle tension, promoting relaxation and general wellness. The heat assists enhance blood circulation and, obviously, promotes sweating, which opens up the pores and cleans the skin. Steam rooms may be more comfortable for people with allergies or congestion in the chest or sinuses. Saunas are the much better choice for people with conditions that can be worsened by humidity, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

No Magic Effects

There’s no proof to support claims that “heat baths,” a catch-all term for both saunas and steam rooms, cleanse the body. The heat will open your pores, which may assist your skin, but it does not draw contaminants from your organs through the skin. Likewise, the ability of saunas and steam baths to assist you drop weight is greatly overemphasized. Invest a significant length of time in either environment and you’ll sweat enough to make a distinction on the scale — however the loss is all water weight. When you replenish your body’s fluids, you’ll be back where you began.

Fighting Colds

The super-hot steam in a sauna is a great way to combat the cold virus, which cannot make it through in high temperatures. You are increasing your body temperature, much like in a hot tub, to induce a fever that combats the cold infection.


Last modified: February 28, 2018

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