Steam room vs sauna. Which of these facilities should you indulge in? Which has more benefits? Continue reading to know the answers.
You deserve the boost of energy that you can get from sunbathing. But when it’s not the perfect time to sunbathe, you have no option but to use artificial methods of warming your body.
On those days when the sun is not in the mood to refill and energize you, a steam room or sauna comes to your rescue. But which one of these should you prefer? Which one is most suitable for your skin? Which one will help your health the most?
Will a steam room benefits trump that of a sauna? And can you switch between the two routines as and when you please?
Let’s cover all these questions in this post.
Difference Between Sauna And Steam Room
Sauna and steam rooms are two different things. They are only similar in purpose. Both are meant to warm your body. But their procedures are different and so are their constructions.
As we can see from its name, the steam room uses steam to warm you up. A traditional steam room includes a generator that is there to boil water.
This boiling gives off steam that fills the enclosure with steam. As the humidity rises with hot vapors, the temperature of the room also rises. In steam rooms, it’s customary for the temperature to remain between 100°F and 115°F.
This increase in temperature warms your body. At the same time, the high humidity level – which stands at 100% for most steam rooms – ensures that the body doesn’t cool off by sweating.
Together, the two components of heat and humidity ensure to keep your body warm until the end of your stay in the steam room. Because of this added intensity, our body can only bear the heat of a steam room for up to 15 minutes.
The sauna doesn’t use water vapors to heat the room. Instead, it uses dry heat. The source of this heat is firewood or a stove. This source heats the rocks surrounding it.
In turn, these rocks gradually emit heat keeping the room hot. Here, the temperature ranges between 180°F and 200°F.
We can see the sauna can be hotter than steam rooms. But they lack the element of humidity. Consequently, the body can tolerate this heat for a longer duration.
You can stay in a sauna for up to 20 minutes. You don’t want to overstay there because of the risk of dehydration that may accompany this high level of heat and excessive sweating that results from it.
Types Of Saunas
We know that saunas are meant to impart dry heat, unlike steam rooms that use humidity to warm the room. There are two sources of this dry heat for the sauna. We have already discussed the dry heat source of the stove and firewood.
A modern twist was introduced in the setup of the sauna just recently. Modern saunas use infrared light to warm the ambiance and then your body.
The latest news in this area is infrared sauna capsules that pack the experience in a space that’s enough for a single person. One thing you will note in these saunas is that you can spend a long time here without worrying about dehydration.
Whether you use traditional saunas to warm yourself or you use modern versions of these experiences, you will see remarkable changes in your moods and health. Here are the perks you will have from using a sauna.
First of all, a sauna boosts your blood circulation. Because increased heat helps in dilating your blood vessels, you feel an improvement in your blood circulation level. You will also feel an increase in your heart rate during and after the experience.
Read More: Tips to Heat Your Home Efficiently
Muscular regeneration is another benefit people quote to support the use of the sauna. When we combine sauna experience with athletic performance or with a workout regime, we get improved muscle gain. The infrared light penetrates deep into these muscles and helps with recovery and muscle building.
Sauna allows you to stay longer in it. These extra minutes of staying can do wonders to your sensations. You feel relaxed and calm after spending 20 or more minutes in this enclosure.
Steam Room Benefits
The benefits of a steam room often outweigh the benefits we get from a sauna. The added component of humidity makes all the difference. It helps you to hydrate your skin. It also impacts your health because of heat as well as humidity.
If you are feeling symptoms of flu, a steam room is a great alternative to taking steam. The steam present in the room will lubricate your respiratory tract. The sinus vasodilates leaving room for easy flow of breaths.
You can also use eucalyptus leaves to magnify the effect of the steam room on your nasal and throat congestion.
Relaxation is the most quoted benefit of these rooms. While the excess levels of heat and humidity can be troubling initially, you can get accustomed to it after some time. After that, you will feel your muscles relaxing. The whole experience will also calm your nerves.
Just like saunas, steam rooms also help with improving blood circulation. This experience leads to relaxed and dilated blood vessels. Consequently, blood flows through them uninterrupted.
With this lack of interruption, the blood in these vessels is richer in nutrients and carries more vitality than before. Again, the heart rate improves under higher heat levels in the steam room.
Sauna VS Steam Room Benefits
We can see that both sauna and steam rooms work to relax our muscles and help with the circulation of blood. Essentially, the two rooms have similar purposes.
Yet, they differ in their scopes of benefits. Sauna, for instance, doesn’t involve humidity and, in turn, has no recourse for respiratory congestion.
But this method is more popular because you can stay in it for a longer duration. In a conventional sauna, you can stay for up to 20 minutes. In an infrared sauna, you can stay even longer.
On the contrary, a steam room can only accommodate you for up to 15 minutes before you feel too hot to stay.
Risks of Using Steam Rooms And Sauna
Dehydration is the most quoted potential side effect of these relaxing experiences. You mustn’t overstay there to avoid this risk.
Although both rooms have their tried and tested limits on stay duration, listen to your body and its needs. If you are feeling thirsty as well as lightheaded, you should leave the room even before the 15-minute mark for the steam room.
If you are using the facility for the first time, you may experience some side effects. Don’t take dizziness casually and leave the room if this condition arises.
Nausea and fainting may also happen in the first few uses. Remember that the goal of this facility is to make you comfortable. So, you should step out when it gets uncomfortable.
Steam rooms and saunas are not recommended for kidney patients. Also, the experience can be problematic for some other health conditions such as blood pressure and pregnancy. You should always consult your doctor if you have these conditions before you head to a sauna.
These rooms are not free of germs and because most of your body remains bare while using these facilities, you are more vulnerable to these germs and related diseases.
Below, we are discussing some precautions you should consider while using a sauna and steam room.
Precautions of Using Sauna Or Steam Room
The first-time users should spend at most five to ten minutes in the steam room or sauna.
Dehydration is a profound risk attached to these experiences. You can minimize this risk by drinking lots of water after using the service. Two to four glasses of water after the sauna should be enough to replenish your body fluids.
Another way to keep dehydration at bay is to avoid alcohol. On the day you plan to use the sauna, avoid alcohol consumption altogether.
Children can use the sauna but the caregiver should be vigilant. Children face a higher risk of dehydration if they stay there longer. Their stay should be capped at 15 minutes at most in saunas.
Use basic hygiene measures. Maintain social distance. Wear flip-flops. And sit on your towel to avoid germs.
Germs and dehydration are the most common risks of using saunas and steam rooms. Make sure you minimize them with your vigilance and efforts.
Saunas and steam rooms serve similar purposes. They help you relax with excess heat. Because the heat level in these rooms is higher than what we are accustomed to, our bodies can’t bear them for an elongated duration. In short, we should step out of these rooms after the recommended time.
Although the two facilities are similar in their basic purpose, they are different in terms of their construction and their relaxing techniques.
The sauna uses rocks to heat the room keeping humidity to normal levels. Steam rooms use water vapors to trap the heat.
Their influence on the health of users also differs slightly. In the end, it’s you who decide which of these facilities is more relaxing for you.