Sauna vs. Steam Room

The difference between a dry sauna and steam room is that a dry sauna uses dry heat whereas a steam room uses humidity to heat the air. Typically the steam room does not reach temperatures as high as the dry sauna, although the humidity is near 100%. Steam rooms are engineered to not be as hot as saunas due to the danger of scalding via the high amounts of energy that can be stored in the water vapor emitted. For this reason, if you are seeking a hyperthermic experience that is of the highest temperatures possible a sauna is likely your best candidate.

One other factor to take into consideration when making a choice of whether to use a sauna or steam room is that due to the abundance of moisture in a steam room, it is far more likely that there is mold and other things growing within the shower. Some fungi can be pathogenic and harmful to humans. Thus, steam showers must be maintained very well to prevent this from happening. Saunas do not have this risk because of the fact that they remain consistently at such high temperatures, and in fact if maintained poorly, will build up a large amount of salts which can also be harmful to certain microorganisms. (Though there are some microbes that can handle high salt environments just fine.)

The vast majority of research using dry saunas indicates the following sauna health benefits

  • congestive heart failure therapy
  • normalize blood pressure
  • lower coronary risk factors
  • treat arthritis
  • help prevent diabetes
  • treat chronic pain
  • promote weight loss and muscle gain
  • treat skin diseases

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