Saunas, which provide dry heat usually through hot rocks, have average air temperatures from about 160 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re always set at a low humidity, usually anywhere from about 5% to 30%.
The traditional sauna was invented in Finland over 2,000 years ago. Finnish saunas tend to be hotter and take longer to heat up, while infrared saunas tend to be slightly cooler and are more affordable to install in a home.
Steam rooms are definitely more of a moist heat. They have high temperatures around 110 degrees with a 100% humidity level, making them easier to withstand for longer periods of time. Steam rooms can rehydrate you, so it’d be sensible to start first with the sauna and then to finish up with a more relaxing steam room session.
Benefits of Steam Room or Sauna use
Both saunas and steam rooms provide essentially the same wellness and health benefits. For skin health benefits, the high heat will open up your pores, cleansing the outer layers of skin. Both are known for being a great fix for sore muscles and stiff joints, but they have a lot of cardiovascular benefits. The heat in both will temporarily raise your heart rate and allow your heart to increase blood flow to your blood vessels, specifically those in your skin. This causes your body temperature to jump to almost 104 degrees, which makes you sweat out excess salts from your body. This is the detox effect many people experience in both forms of heat therapy. Contrary to popular belief, there is no scientific evidence that either one aids in water weight loss. Both can also be great for your mental health, or for helping an overworked immune system fight off minor things like a sinus infection.
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It’s important to know that use of either will lower blood pressure. While this can be great for people with high blood pressure, you should do your research before deciding which to start with. People with heart disease are generally told to avoid steam baths or other activities involving high heat levels; if this applies to you, be sure to talk to your doctor before deciding to do either.
Try both the sauna and the steam room and decide which one is right for you. If you enjoy the dry sauna after you. Both rooms provide the same benefits, so it's really a matter of personal preference whichever you do first. Just remember to hydrate and to get out if you start to feel unwell. Be sure to cool down gradually and drink water after your steam room or sauna session.