The sauna vs steam room have numerous question like – Which one is better for weight loss, health benefits, after a workout, acne on the skin, bodybuilding, pregnancy & more. We all have those days where all we want is to relax after a long tiring day. And, some of the ways most people opt to relax can be through working out, going to a spa, or visiting your local health club. However, most people end up preferring to have a relaxing moment in heated rooms. With the numerous options available, heated rooms are quickly becoming an option for most people. And, with the health benefits it offers, heated rooms will still be quite popular even in the future. But, in the steam room vs sauna debate, which heated room wins?
What is a sauna?
A sauna is a small building or room that is designed as a place to help people experience wet or dry heat sessions. It can also be an establishment with one or more dry or wet heat facilities. The high heat and steam make the users perspire. The typical temperature of a sauna is between 180 to 195®F. For a sauna to produce heat, it uses electricity, gas, wood, or infrared technology.
What is a steam room?
A steam room or a steam bath, is a heated room that uses boiling water to achieve it’s temperature and humdity. Both Saunas and Steam rooms are considered a Sauna. The history of a steam room goes back to Roman times and Greek. Steam rooms are most common in fitness centers as they tend to be a more mild sauna experience. This makes the moisture fill the air. The temperature inside steam rooms lies between 110°F and 114°F with a 100% humidity level.
Sauna vs steam room, what’s the difference?
The most obvious difference in a steam room and a sauna is the method in which each delivers heat and humidity. A sauna offers heat delivered by an electric or wood stove whereas a steam room uses boiling water. Saunas are capable of reaching much higher temperatures with higher humidity and thus tend to be more popular across the world.
The heat in both rooms promotes healthy metabolism and stimulates blood flow. However, most people find it extremely difficult to breathe in dry heat. So people with breathing problems may prefer to use steam rooms because of the moist/ wet heat.
Other big differences in sauna and steam rooms
- Walls: Sauna walls are made of wood. While steam rooms are made of glass.
- Heat generations: Saunas have a stove situated inside to help in generating heat. While steam rooms contain an external steam generator.
- Temperature: Sauna has a temperature that lies between 70°C to 100°C. While steam rooms have temperatures that lie between 115° to 120°F.
- Towel use: While nudity in saunas is quite common, towels are sometimes used to help users avoid sitting on hot wood benches. The use of towels in steam rooms is highly recommended, especially in public steam rooms.
The history of steam rooms and sauna
Early bathhouse culture dates back several centuries ago, and it can give you a few clues as to the frequent use of a steam room and sauns today. The earliest known date for the use of heated room dates back to approximately 2500 BC. The Romans used heated rooms like steam baths as meeting places. Meeting in these places made them take steam baths every day. And that culture continued long after the end of the Roman empire.
Turks then adapted the heated rooms and came up with their bathing ritual. The ritual involved a 45-minute steam session, massage, and scrub experience. This ritual has become quite prevalent today in spas. And with the use of steam rooms and saunas that dates back years ago, researchers do agree that the regular use of these heated rooms is quite beneficial to the body.
This means that you can use a sauna or heated room for as long as you want. However, visiting a sauna or a steam room every day can be quite hectic. However, make sure you start small and do not last in a sauna or steam room for more than 15 minutes.
The benefits of a sauna compared to a steam room
Both steam rooms and sauna invoke the same therapeutic benefits. However, each one has benefits that differ from the other. The differences arise due to the use of dry and wet heat. There are many different types of sauna, as well, and some are actually closer to a steam room than a traditional sauna.
Sauna Room Benefits
One of the obvious benefits of a sauna vs steam room is in a traditional sauna, you have the option to toss water on the stove, .
Helps in muscle stimulation
When your body is exposed to dry heat it secrets endorphins. The endorphins help in reducing the pain that comes from arthritis and muscle soreness. The extreme sauna temperature also causes your body temperature to increase, thus causing your body to circulate blood effectively. Once blood flow increases, your body’s healing ability begins to increase. This leads to muscle stimulation and relaxation.
Reduces stress hormones
Saunas are an excellent way to reduce stress. Our daily lives are full of stress and sometimes sleep is not enough. Stepping into a sauna can help reduce your stress hormones significantly. The heat in the sauna encourages your body to get into a parasympathetic state. And, this allows you to digest, de-stress, rest, and heal.
Benefits of a steam room
The major benefit to a steam room over a sauna is the milder temperature achieved by a steam room. Saunas can get hot, too hot, in some cases. Steam rooms tend to use a milder temperature increase versus a dramatic increase as used by a traditional sauna.
It’s causes you to sweat and this helps eliminate toxins from your body through the skin. Sweating is an excellent way to detox, as it releases debris and dirt from your body. However, make sure that once you complete a steam room session, you hydrate. Drinking plenty of water allows you to regain the amount of water you lose after a session.
Can soothe respiratory conditions
The heat produces in a steam room helps in soothing some respiratory conditions like Asthma and Sinuses. The heat allows you to breathe more easily and deeply by breaking up the congestion in the lungs and sinuses.
Sauna vs Steam room for weight loss
Losing weight is not an easy process. Finding the right tools, practices, and activities can help you lose weight significantly. And the use of a steam room and a sauna has helped people lose weight. While both may offer similar benefits, each heating room has different benefits when it comes to weight loss. So how does a sauna help you lose weight differently from a steam room?
Sauna vs steam room for weight loss, which is better?
When it comes to losing weight, saunas are the preferred choice as they achieve higher temperatures. That doesn’t mean a sauna is the right choice for those looking to lose weight, as steam rooms offer many benefits, especially to those older in age.
What’s the best after workout – sauna or steam room?
According to a study conducted by Mayo Clinic in 2018, the use of a sauna has proved to be quite beneficial for your heart. Sitting in a sauna reduces your blood pressure and this, in turn, leads to a healthier heart. It also causes an increase in blood flow to your joints and muscles; this helps you feel less sore. And since a sauna has dry air, your sweat evaporates faster, allowing you to tolerate higher temperatures. Thus, the use of a sauna is better after a workout compared to a steam room.
Health benefits of sauna vs. steam room
The benefits of a sauna and steam room are numerous. But each has different health benefits compared to the other. This is why it is essential to learn more about each heated room before settling on one. Learning more allows you to evaluate how one heat room can help you fulfill a specific health need.
Heat is a natural pain remedy, as it helps in increasing your blood flow. Painful conditions, like fibromyalgia and arthritis, which are caused by inflammation, can be temporarily managed through heat therapy like those found in a steam room and a sauna. However, when it comes to managing pain, saunas are preferable to individuals who have are affected by humidity negatively. Also, people with acute rheumatoid arthritis cannot use a sauna.
Steam rooms and saunas also provide physical and emotional relaxation benefits. Dry and wet heat stimulate sedative effects, which enable your body to generate feelings of relaxation and calmness. Individuals who suffer from mood or emotional disorders may find relief by using a steam room or a sauna regularly. Steam rooms and saunas also promote the relaxation of muscle, and this can provide you with pain relief from specific injuries.
One health benefit that the wet heat of steam rooms can provide is an expectoration effect. This is something a sauna cannot offer. The wet heat of a steam room thins and opens your body’s mucous membranes, including your lungs, throat, and sinuses. For people who suffer from chronic congestion, the regular use of a steam room can help in clearing and loosening the mucus from their throat, nose, and chest.
Sauna vs. steam room for skin benefits
When it comes to skincare, it is essential to note that both a sauna and a steam room are perfect for your skin. The heat from both rooms helps in cleansing your skin’s outer layer and opening up pores. And since each heated room has high temperatures, your body sweats, and this helps in getting rid of toxins.
Once the toxins are out of the body, you have a lower risk of having skin irritations like blackheads or rashes. Remember, clear skin results in smooth skin. Using both heated rooms, allows you to shed the dead skin quickly. Your body sheds skin after 30 days, and by using both a steam room and a sauna, you are assisting your body to shed its skin more efficiently and effectively. This, in turn, leaves you with glowing skin.
As we mentioned above, using a steam room and a sauna together cleans and opens your pores. And when your pores are open, it becomes easy for your skin to absorb skin products. Thus eventually helping the products to work the way they were meant to. Therefore, it does not matter the heated room you choose; both will produce similar results on your skin.
The skin benefits of a steam room
A steam room is an excellent way to remove toxins and impurities in your skin. As you know by now, the heat opens up your pores, allowing the moisture in the steam room to penetrate your pores and clear impurities. Thus, improving your skin’s appearance and getting rid of acne. The heat also causes you to sweat, and this moves the impurities and toxins to the outer layer of your skin.
The moisture then removes the toxins in the steam room. Spots and blackheads form on your face when pores become blocked by dead skin—naturally excreted sweat and oil. Removing the impurities allows the pores on your face to open, thus getting rid of the blackhead and spots on your face.
The skin benefits of a sauna
Just like a steam room, a sauna also has numerous skincare benefits. The dry heat a sauna uses is great for improving circulation and opening pores. The temperature increase opens your pores, and this increases your bodies ability to excrete impurities and toxins. The improved blood circulation enables your body to supply the skin with more nutrients and oxygen, leaving it looking refreshed and healthy with a natural glow.
Both heated rooms have great acne benefits. And using both rooms together, will enable you to acquire numerous benefits. So, make sure you start with a sauna. This will help improve blood flow circulation to your face and open your skin pores up. Then end with a steam room, as it will help fight acne and cleanse your face.
Sauna vs steam room cost
Before you commit to purchasing a steam room or sauna, it is essential to know the costs of each. You should know not only the initial costs of a sauna and steam room but also how much it will cost to run every month. And some of the things you should look at to consider the cost include:
Both steam rooms and saunas use electricity. And the amount of electricity each heated room consumes depends on the duration of time you run them for. Commercial steam rooms and sauna run throughout the day and it costs more to run it compared to having one for use in a domestic setting. Thus, the running costs for a home steam room or sauna depend on your duration of use.
Saunas and steam rooms require regular maintenance. And this can be an additional cost to your overall charges. Some of the things you can expect to cost money over the sauna or steam room lifetime include service visit, cleaning, and parts replacement.
Using a steam room or sauna at the comfort of your home can be cheap or expensive, depending on your total running costs. If you find that your running costs are high, you can save money by keeping a carbon footprint of all the expenses you inquire when using and maintaining a steam room or sauna.
How often to use sauna and steam room?
For most people, steam rooms and saunas are a way of life. The relaxing aromas of lavender or eucalyptus are irresistible. Just a few moments of uninterrupted bliss and you quickly become hooked to using a steam room or sauna. The health benefits these heated rooms offer are numerous. And, people end up spending lots of their free time in them.
Despite the benefits they offer, how often should you use a steam room or sauna? Before we can answer this question, it is essential to look back at the history of both a steam room and sauna.
Sauna and steam room doors working system
Steam rooms and sauna doors are essential components of these heated rooms. And, without the right type of door, the moisture and heat generated in these rooms would escape and spread to other parts of a commercial facility or your home. Thus, the doors in a sauna and steam room help to keep the steam and heat inside the room. This is possible, as the doors use an innovative seal technology to help retain the moisture and heat inside the room.
For safety reasons, the doors of each heated room always open out. The handles are made from wood while the door catch is non-metallic. This prevents the door catch from getting too hot to touch when the sauna or steam room is in use. Apart from the above features, sauna and steam doors also come with different customizations. And this depends on what you prefer. You can have your sauna or steam room door designed. This makes it appear unique.
You can also opt to have safety glass panels with the door. Whatever choice you make, manufacturers are always open to curving unique angles and curves to suit their clients’ preferences. But make sure the designs you choose are not only decorative but durable as well.
Sauna and steam room use in pregnancy?
There is little information on the use of sauna and steam rooms while pregnant. But, medical practitioners do advise that it is best to avoid them, as they may increase your risk of dehydration, overheating, and fainting. During pregnancy, most women often feel warmer than usual. And this can be because of an increase in your blood supply and hormonal changes. These changes can also make you feel like fainting. Now imagine what happens when you subject yourself to intense heat for at least 10-15 minutes. Some of the effects you will immediately experience include:
When you use a steam room or sauna, your body is unable to lose heat by sweating effectively. This causes your body’s temperature to rise. Such a significant rise in body temperature may be harmful, especially in the first trimester.
Feeling like fainting:
If your body overheats, more blood ends up flowing close to your skin to aid in cooling your body down through sweating. This means that other parts of your body like your brain has less blood flow. And, if your brain does not get enough oxygen and blood, it can make you feel dizzy. Now, imagine combining that heat with hormonal pregnancy changes, you immediately increase your likelihood of fainting.
Sauna or steam room for bodybuilding
Sauna vs steam room for bodybuilding, which is better? The majority of bodybuilders prefer a traditional sauna as compared to a steam room. Saunas are one of the top natural recovery options for bodybuilders, thus why they’re the top choice of elite bodybuilders across the world.
These are the main benefits of sauna for bodybuilders and elite athletes
- Helps with weight loss
- Can improve muscle recovery
- Assists in building lean muscle
Helps with weight loss
For the body to start gaining muscle, it has to undergo a hyperthermic effect—this an effect that occurs when you subject your body to some physiological changes. And a sauna’s hyperthermic effect helps improve your blood flow by increasing your plasma levels. Once your plasma levels increase, your body’s metabolic rate also increases. This helps your body to burn more calories and eventually leads to weight loss. The weight loss is essential to any bodybuilder as it leads to the development of muscle.
Can improve muscle recovery
The increase of plasma due to the hyperthermic effect of the sauna helps in enhancing blood flow to your muscles. An increase in blood flow enables your muscles to recover faster, as it disposes of the lactic acids. It also allows you to train for longer hours before running out of energy. While this may not help you build muscle, recovering quickly will enable you to squeeze in more sessions to your training schedule.
This, in turn, will result in you building more definition and muscle. Thus, quicker muscle recovery has a direct effect on muscle building.
Assists in building lean muscle
Research has shown that hypodermic training and the use of a sauna can help improve your body’s ability to acquire lean muscle. This is because the heat from a sauna triggers your body’s response and this restricts the break down of protein. While Human Growth Hormone production increases. This helps protect your built up muscles and improve your body’s ability to build more lean muscle.
With a sauna, you achieve more when it comes to bodybuilding, unlike a steam room.
Which is better sauna or steam room?
For good reason, traditional saunas are more popular across the world as compared to steam rooms. Saunas deliver higher heat and higher humidity with the flexibility of controlling the temperature across a wide range, whereas a steam room is limited in it’s heat customization.
Are a sauna and steam room the same?
As mentioned earlier, a steam room and a sauna are not the same. And the most significant difference lies in the type of heat they produce. A sauna produces dry heat while a steam room produces wet heat.
In Conclusion, Saunas and steam rooms have some similar therapeutic benefits. And each comes with a difference that makes it unique from the other. However, your choice should depend on the types of benefits you want to obtain from the use of a sauna or a steam room.