The differences between a steam room and a sauna are the types of heat they provide. The heat in a steam room is moist heat. A sauna uses uses infrared methods of warming other objects, such as coal, to produce dry heat. Either way, the purpose of both is to induce sweating to empty the body and pores of toxins.
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Because saunas use dry heat, they may reach temperatures much higher than the temperatures used in the moist heating of steam rooms. Sauna temperatures range from 176 F to 212 F. Steam rooms cannot reach such high degrees, as the potential for scalding can occur. Steam rooms stay at approximately 104 F.
Benefits of Both
Both steam rooms and dry heat saunas are beneficial in opening and cleaning out the skin's pores, rejuvenating the skin, relaxing muscles and relieving muscle tension. In addition, they improve blood flow throughout all parts of the body, detoxifying the body and helping you feel relaxed over all.
Steam Room Benefits
Steam rooms are beneficial for people with respiratory problems, such as asthma or bronchitis. The inhalation of steam is effective in relieving the symptoms of these conditions. But because humid, moist areas are breeding grounds for bacteria and germs, a steam room must be thoroughly cleaned.
Dry Heat Sauna Benefits
Because the temperature is higher in a dry heat sauna, sweat is evaporated from the surface of the skin, and more sweat may pass out of the body more easily, cleansing the pores more thoroughly. In a steam room, the sweat sits on the skin and can prevent the pores from unclogging properly. The extreme heat of dry heat saunas is also beneficial in killing bacteria, burning more calories and improving skin conditions.
Choosing Between the Sauna and the Steam Room
Moist heat and dry heat affect each user individually. Give both a try to determine which of the two works better for your individual needs. Remember that moist heat steam rooms are recommended for persons with respiratory problems. If you have a respiratory condition, use caution when attending a dry heat sauna.