Sauna vs Steam Room, What’s the difference and which is a better choice?

If you are like many people, you want to follow a healthy lifestyle so that you feel and look better on a daily basis.

In addition to eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly, you might want to consider using a steam room or a sauna to increase your senses of health and wellbeing.


Steam Room or Sauna – Which Is Better?

Here are some basic facts about saunas and steam rooms to help you decide which type of spa experience is right for you.

Both of these natural treatments have their own set of distinct benefits to help you meet your health and wellness objectives.

The primary differentiator in a sauna and a steam room is that a sauna uses dry heat, while a steam room utilizes moist heat to provide multiple benefits to the people who use them.

First, let us explore the history and benefits of using a sauna to enhance your health and wellbeing.

It’s believed that the use of saunas in Finnish communities dates back over 2,000 years.

In the early days, saunas were very primitive and were likely created by digging holes into a slope in the ground.

These days, saunas are much more elaborate.

Regardless of whether you are thinking about joining a gym that features a sauna as one of their amenities or you are considering installing a sauna in your home for private use, you’ll find the purpose of this type of spa beneficial.

There are several kinds of saunas including continuous heat saunas, steam saunas, portable saunas, and infrared saunas.


Benefits of Using A Sauna

Improves Circulation – The use of a sauna is one of the most efficient and enjoyable ways to boost and improve your circulation.(1)

The heat opens up your pores and activates your sweat glands, optimizing blood flow in all parts of your body.

Further, studies have found that using a dry sauna can help improve heart health and offers the same benefits that exercise provides.(2)

Another advantage of using a dry sauna is lowering blood pressure.

Detoxification – In addition to improving circulation, the use of a dry sauna is helpful for detoxification purposes.(3)

As you begin to sweat, harmful toxins that have built up over time begin to release themselves by way of your sweat glands.

Detoxification helps support liver health, which plays a critical role in maintaining and sustaining overall health.

Pain Relief – Dry heat is a wonder treatment for people who live with aching joints, rheumatoid arthritis, and other ailments that cause pain in the body.

Studies show that regular use of a sauna provides short-term pain relief, as well as a reduction in body stiffness and fewer symptoms of fatigue.(4)

For people who live in cold climates and suffer from pain, the use of a dry sauna can prove helpful for temporary relief from aches and soreness.

Additionally, a sauna can get used for relieving temporary muscle soreness and stiffness following a workout or on a recovery day.

Weight Loss – If you are looking for an easy way to ‘hack’ a bit of weight loss, using a dry sauna is one way to do it.(5)

When using a dry sauna, the added heat increases your overall body temperature which in turn boosts your metabolism, so you burn more calories and lose water weight caused by water retention.

The regular use of a dry sauna in combination with a well-balanced diet and exercise program is very beneficial for weight loss efforts.

Helps Improve Breathing – The regular use of a dry sauna is also helpful to improve breathing.(6)

The heat and aridness of the treated sauna air are useful for opening up airways and relieving congestion in the respiratory system, including nasal passages, the throat, and lungs.


Benefits of Using A Steam Room

While saunas and steam rooms provide some of the similar benefits, a steam room uses moist air instead of dry air to provide health benefits to people who use them.

Alleviates Congestion – For people who suffer from ailments such as allergies, asthma, and sinusitis, the use of a steam room can prove helpful in easing the symptoms associated with these health issues. (7)

The humid, warm, wet air in the steam is useful in opening up mucous membranes and lessening the pressure.

As these membranes open up, it becomes much easier to dislodge and remove mucus that is obstructing your nasal cavities, your throat, and your lungs.

Improves Skin – Much like a dry sauna, the use of a steam room helps improve circulation, which aids in giving skin an appealing and healthy glow.(8)

The steam removes impurities from the skin.

Further, the heat helps open up the smaller capillary veins throughout your body, which results in getting a pink, rosy, youthful glow to your skin naturally.

Strengthens The Immune System – The use of a steam room might stimulate leukocytes.(9)

The function of leukocytes is to fight off infections. For best results, using a steam room should get used as part of a preventative measure, not as a way to treat an illness that you already have.

One option to consider using if you are feeling under the weather is a portable facial steamer.

This small unit is capable of helping to open up your airways so that you can breathe easier and get some relief in your lungs and other areas of your respiratory system.


Potential Hazards Of Using Saunas and Steam Rooms

While there are numerous benefits of using a public steam room or a sauna, there are also some potential hazards that users should be aware of before using these facilities.

To avoid potential side effects such as lightheadedness and dehydration, people should limit their use of steam rooms and saunas to a maximum of 15-minutes.

Depending on the type of sauna or steam room you are using, you may have access to a timer that you can set to assure that you don’t use it for longer than the recommended 15-minutes.

Another risk of using public dry spas and steam rooms is that you can potentially get exposed to germs from other users or unsanitary conditions within the enclosure.(10)

If floors and walls do not get cleaned regularly and properly, this gives them the opportunity to grow and spread throughout the facility, putting users at potential risks of infection or illness.

Wet, humid steam rooms can be a breeding ground for bacteria, so to avoid getting a severe case of Athlete’s Foot, always be sure to protect the bottom of your feet by wearing flip-flops or water shoes.

Wearing a foot covering when using a Steam Room or Sauna may also be helpful in protecting against slip and fall accidents that can occur when walking on a slick, wet, floor.

In-Home Options Are Available

Not sold on the idea of using a public sauna or steam room?

If you own your home and you aren’t afraid to do some remodeling or assembly work, you can add a steam shower/room, a sauna, or both to your residence.

Steam Shower Saunas offer consumers a variety of features that turn your bathroom into a steamy oasis.

Depending on the make model you are considering, some of the options included could be a hydromassage whirlpool tub, a steam shower, additional steam generators, touchscreen displays, water temperature controls, body jets, rainfall showerheads, acupressure body massage, LED lighting, multiple seats, ventilation fans, and foot massagers.

Saunas may also get purchased and installed in your home if you prefer a unit that uses dry heat instead of moist heat.

For those who are budget conscious and have limited space (or desire to remodel your house), a portable sauna offers the benefits that you’re looking for around $150.

This product is geared towards personal use and may appear odd at first. The truth is it is a lot more convenient and cost-effective than getting a new, full-size sauna installed in your home.

If, however, you are looking for a larger unit to fit in your home, this isn’t a problem, either.

These days, several vendors sell units that seat two to as many as six people comfortably, so you can enjoy the benefits of a sauna whenever you feel you need to relax and unwind.

Professional assembly of these saunas is available to help you cut the amount of time and frustration involved with assembling the product.

When shopping for the perfect sauna, be sure to educate yourself about all of the different options that are available to you, including infrared saunas, electric saunas, woodburning saunas, and ceramic infrared models.

When you are spending a significant amount of money on a home sauna, you want to make sure that it has everything you need for an enjoyable experience.


Talk To Your Doctor

As is the case before starting any wellness campaign, you should talk to your doctor first.

While the use of saunas and steam rooms are usually not dangerous, people who suffer from certain conditions, are pregnant, are in post-operative care, have compromised immune systems, or blood pressure issues could be at higher levels of risk from using these facilities.

People who are overly sensitive to heat may also want to limit the use of steam rooms and saunas to curb any distress that could result from exposing themselves to high temperatures, humidity, and dry air.

Should you decide to use these types of facilities without clearing it with your doctor first, it is a smart idea to make sure that you are hydrated or have easy access to drinking water to avert dehydration.

Signs of dehydration include having dry mouth, feeling sleepy or tired, being thirsty, dizziness, headaches, dry skin, and decreased urine output when using the restroom.

If you notice any of these symptoms cropping up, even if you aren’t using a dry sauna or a steam room, take steps to drink fluids immediately.

Preferred beverages include water, juice, sports drinks, or rehydration drinks.

When rehydrating, you should try to drink two liters of the abovementioned beverages in a window of two to four hours.

This gives your body time to recover.

Since your doctor understands your health situation, he or she will be offer guidance and advice on whether the use of a sauna or a steam bath or room is right for you to use.

In the event that they feel you would be in danger when using these fitness facilities, they can advise you not to use them and give you a reason why they don’t recommend that you use them.

They might offer suggestions for alternative options that are safer for you to use if they do not give you clearance for using spas, saunas, or steam rooms.


Our Opinion

Our specialists have found that both saunas and steam rooms both offer users a plethora of benefits including pain relief, stress relief, a better sense of wellbeing, and respiratory improvements.

Depending on your personal preferences, you may enjoy using dry heat more than you like exposing yourself to moist heat.

Regardless of which one works better for your purposes, you’ll find that using these age-old natural treatments are essential to improved health.