Steam Rooms vs Sauna – Steam rooms and saunas are popular worldwide in gyms, spas, and wellness centers. Both provide a relaxing environment and offer various health benefits. However, the two have several key differences, mainly in temperature, humidity, climate, materials, and benefits. In this article, we’ll delve into the key differences between steam rooms and saunas, providing detailed references and examples to help you decide which option is best for your health and wellness goals.
Steam Room is a heated room which is heated by steam generators. They are commonly used after a workout in the GYM and SPA for relaxation and to relieve some medical conditions.
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Steam Rooms Or Sauna – Which Is Healthier?
Some people like to relax in steam rooms and saunas, while others do not enjoy the red face and heat in these sweat chambers. But here’s the thing: Saunas and steam rooms have health benefits.
This article will discuss how a sauna or steam room session can benefit your physical and mental health.
The steam room and sauna are similar, and the sauna uses dry heat and is usually hotter than a steam room. Saunas are generally between 160 and 220 degrees Fahrenheit, but steam rooms are more relaxed and usually between 110 and 114 degrees Fahrenheit.
The sauna can help relax painful muscles, and it also aids with heart health and blood flow. However, the moisture from the steam can have additional benefits for your body.
Steam rooms and saunas are often found in gyms and spas. A sauna typically uses hot rocks, a stove, or an electric stove to heat a wood-paneled room to retain the heat in. It generally means it has to be an unusual room.
You can turn your bathroom into a rough-and-ready steam room by taking a hot shower and letting the steam fill the space.
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Temperature and Humidity:
Steam rooms typically maintain a temperature of around 110-120°F (43-49°C) and a humidity level close to 100% (Source: Building and Environment, 2013). This combination of hot temperature and high humidity creates a humid, steamy environment that can be especially beneficial for those with respiratory issues or looking to improve skin health.
Example: The Eucalyptus Steam Room at the Willow Stream Spa in Victoria, British Columbia, is set at a temperature of 115°F (46°C) and has a humidity level of 100%, providing a relaxing and therapeutic experience for his guests.
Saunas, on the other hand, have a much hotter temperature, ranging from 160-200°F (71-93°C) and 5-30% lower humidity (Source: International Journal of Biometeorology, 2010). Dry heat in saunas is generated by an electric or wood-burning heater, which heats rocks and the surrounding air. You can take a sauna bath.
Example: The Finnish sauna at Kämp Spa in Helsinki, Finland, maintains a temperature of approximately 85°C (185°F) and a humidity level of 10-20%, offering a more traditional dry heat experience.
Environment and Materials:
Turkish baths are characterized by their humid, steamy environment created by a steam generator that boils water and releases steam into the room. To withstand high humidity levels, steam rooms are typically built using materials such as tiles, glass, or acrylic (Source: Architectural Digest, 2018). Many people prefer to go for a steam bath.
Example: The Grotto Steam Room at the Spa at White Oaks in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, features elegant mosaic tiling and ample seating designed to accommodate the high humidity levels and provide a comfortable experience for guests.
Saunas are characterized by their dry heat environment, generated by an electric or wood-burning heater that heats the rocks. Users can pour water over rocks to create a small amount of steam and increase humidity. Saunas are traditionally built using wood, such as cedar or spruce, which can tolerate high temperatures without warping or emitting toxic substances (Source: Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2018).
Example: The Löyly Sauna in Helsinki, Finland, is a stunning example of modern sauna design, with wooden staves and panoramic windows that offer views of the nearby scenery while maintaining a warm, dry environment.
Understanding the differences between steam rooms and saunas is key to determining which option best aligns with your health and wellness goals. Turkish baths offer a warm, humid environment with high humidity, particularly suited to those seeking respiratory relief or improved skin health. Saunas offer a much hotter dry heat experience, which can be more appealing to those seeking detoxification, relaxation, and better circulation. Regardless of your choice, always consult a healthcare professional before incorporating steam room or sauna sessions into your wellness routine, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions.
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Does Ayurveda Recommend Steam Room?
You must have seen or enjoyed the experience of sitting in a wooden steam cabin at an Ayurvedic clinic. Ayurvedic practitioners may recommend a steam bath treatment after an Ayurvedic oil massage or in combination with other Panchakarma procedures.
Importantly, Ayurveda recommends that your brain not be exposed to hot or hot temperatures when steaming in a steam room. Because the primary senses, including the brain, are on your head, we should protect our head from the risk of heat.
Can Saunas And Steam Rooms Help You Lose Weight?
No, while the body is warmed up and burning calories in a traditional sauna or steam room, there is no actual weight loss. Sweating in the sauna and steam room can cause you to drop a few pounds of water weight.
Also, it is a myth that you can detox in a sauna or steam room after drinking. While sweating can help rid your skin of toxins, it doesn’t eliminate anything you have consumed, such as alcohol.
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What Are Some Precautions When Using A Sauna Or Steam Bath?
The intense heat can quickly lead to dehydration, so staying hydrated in a steam room or sauna is essential. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, you should leave the room.
Doctors also advise people with high blood pressure, a recent heart attack, or a cardiovascular event to skip the sauna as it can increase their heart rate.
However, unless you have a private sauna or steam room, it is advised to wear a towel or sit on a towel, as public services can be breeding grounds for germs.
If you must remain clothed, wear natural fibers such as cotton and lose clothing to get the most out of the steam room and sauna.
How Extended Should You Sit In A Steam Room Or Sauna?
To take advantage of steam rooms and saunas, use these facilities for 5-30 minutes at a time, 2-4 times a week. Take frequent breaks and drink water to stay hydrated.
Sauna Therapy Vs. Steam Therapy: Which Is Better?
Both the steam room and the sauna have similar health benefits. You can use the sauna or steam room (or both) according to your preferences. However, if you have respiratory problems, it is best to stick to a steam bath as it hydrates the airways, while a sauna can dry them out even more.
Difference Between Steam Baths And Saunas
While steam rooms use moist heat, saunas provide dry heat sessions. Steam rooms are kept between 100 and 114 °F, while saunas are hotter, up to 100 °C (212 °F, the boiling point of water). Both hot baths stimulate blood flow and promote healthy metabolism, but some people find it difficult to breathe in the dry heat of a sauna. So people with respiratory problems like sinus congestion and asthma may prefer the moist heat of steam baths. Moist heat also benefits people with joint pain or other body pains.
Health Benefits Of Steam Bath
Steam bathing is an ancient practice used by many cultures in different countries. The ancient Greeks and Romans regularly used steam baths and hot springs, and indigenous peoples also used steam and sweat as healing practices. Today, steam therapy and sauna therapy are popular in Finland.
1. Improve skin health.
The heat of the Turkish bath makes a person sweat. The sweat opens the pores and cleanses the skin. It can help loosen any buildup of dirt and debris, which can help improve the appearance of your skin.
2. Relax your muscles – Workout recovery
Muscle pain is a side effect of workouts. Often a person’s muscles begin to ache after a workout. Moist heat can help relieve pain and reduce muscle damage, and Turkish baths can provide some relief by increasing blood flow to the muscles.
Experts thought it was these heated rooms that moved blood to the skin. However, they also carry blood from your core to your muscles. More blood flow can help wash away the waste products your body produces during exercise that can damage your muscles.
3. Improve circulation.
Sitting in a steam room can help circulation. Heat significantly changes the circulation in the skin by dilating blood vessels and moving blood toward the skin’s surface.
4. Removes stiffness.
Since the heat can increase blood flow, sitting in a steam room can help loosen joints and relieve stiffness. It is similar to warming up before a workout. By dilating blood vessels, more blood, nutrients, and oxygen can be delivered to any injured area. Better circulation means looser muscles and joints.
5. Opens the sinuses
The heat from the Turkish bath opens the mucous membranes around the body, allowing a person to breathe more deeply and easily.
The steam room will break up congestion in the sinuses and lungs and, therefore, can help treat colds, clear the sinuses, and aid breathing.
6. Burn calories
To burn calories, a person is inside a steam room, their heart rate increases to burn calories. Their increased heart rate can be amplified if they use a steam room after exercise.
Experts have found that when used with a healthy exercise program, the heat generated by a steam room and its perspiration can stimulate the body and improve well-being.
It is worth observing that no scientific evidence supports the belief that using a steam room leads to weight loss.
It is because the weight lost after using the steam room is water weight only and must be replaced with clean water afterward to avoid dehydration.
However, with a healthy diet and exercise plan, using the steam room can help burn calories.
The heat of a steam room and a sauna can affect your hormones, and it can lower blood pressure and help you relax.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Steam Rooms Or Saunas Better For Weight Loss?
Both steam rooms and saunas can help lose weight by promoting sweating and detoxification. Yet, they should not be used as a primary method of weight loss and should be used in combination with a healthy diet and exercise.
How Often Should I Use A Steam Room?
It is recommended to use a steam room for no more than 20 minutes at a time and to take breaks in between sessions. The frequency of use can vary depending on individual health and preferences.
Can Steam Rooms Help With Sinus Congestion?
Yes, steam rooms can help to alleviate sinus congestion by loosening mucus and congestion in the airways.
Can Steam Rooms Help With Muscle Soreness?
Yes, steam rooms can help to alleviate muscle soreness and promote relaxation.
Are Steam Rooms Safe For Pregnant Women?
Pregnant women should consult with their doctor before using a steam room, as the high humidity and temperature levels can be harmful to both the mother and the fetus.