Sauna vs. Steam
Both saunas and steam rooms uses high heat to promote sweating and reduce muscle tension. The most significant difference between the two is that steam rooms generate moist heat while saunas provide dry heat. Saunas are much hotter with a temperature that ranges from 160 to 200 °F with a humidity level of only 5-30% while steam rooms are kept at around 100 to 120°F with a humidity level of 100%.
The high level of moisture in the steam room can be greatly beneficial for many respiratory problems such as sinusitis, bronchitis, and asthma, as it helps to clear sinuses, nasal congestion and airways. Saunas are the better choice for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
The heat from sauna and steam rises body temperature which causes many physical responses to occur in the body. Both helps to improve blood circulation, open up the pores, cleanse and rejuvenate the skin, and promote a healthy and deep sleep.
Some people find the dry heat of the sauna to be uncomfortable to breathe. So when it comes to sauna and steam rooms, you can decide which is suitable for yourself, considering your health, skin type and personal preferences.
Tips in using Sauna and Steam:
- One common risk in using the sauna and steam is dehydration. Always stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water before and after.
- If you are suffering from any serious medical or cardiovascular conditions or if you are pregnant, you should avoid using sauna and steam rooms.
- You need to take a shower before entering a sauna or steam room. Your skin must be free from any dirt, chemicals, oils, perfumes and makeup that are on your skin or in your hair. In the heat of the sauna, contaminants on your skin can travel into your bloodstream through your sweat.
- Avoid using Sauna or Steam if you have consumed any alcohol and don’t go in right after a large meal.
- Don’t stay in too long. 10 to 20 minutes at a time is generally considered the max, too much time in the sauna at a too high temperature can lead to blistering. Exit immediately if you start to have a headache, feel dizzy, or nauseous.
- Rest for 15 minutes after getting out of the sauna or steam. You need to cool down to get the excess heat out of your body. You can cool down by taking a cool-to-warm shower, going for a dip in the pool.
- The cycle of the heat and cold in your body is an exercise for your circulatory system. One round is certainly not enough. It is recommended having 2 to 3 rounds.