There are definitely great health benefits no matter if you choose to use the sauna or steam room, however they are not quite alike and it might be nice to get a little better acquainted with both options before making your choice, especially if you are suffering from a specific condition that you want to improve. For some it is easier to choose the one from the other simply as they find that their body more easily adapts to that option. But what exactly is the difference between the sauna and a steam room? How long should you sit there for it to work on the body? And is really one better than the other?
The most well-known type of sauna is the Finnish version. The sauna contains an electric or wood-fired oven with stones, which warms up to the temperature becomes high enough (preferably between 55-70 degrees but also considerably higher, over 100 degrees). To maintain the temperature, you pour a little water on the rocks so that the air is filled with steam, this transfers the heat from the stones to all surfaces of the room.
Did you know? The fins also used the sauna for home births! This was also where the baby received its first bath.
So what are the health benefits of making use of the sauna? According to recent Finnish research, staying in a sauna will be as healthy for the heart as exercise is – if you stay in the sauna for half an hour 2-3 times per week. Regular visits to the sauna will also lessen the risk of cardiovascular disease, sudden cardiac arrest and dementia. The strong sweating opens the pores and also counteracts fatigue and muscle soreness by improving blood circulation in the muscles.
Please note that people who have recently had a heart attack or other severe heart problems should not use the sauna. Always consult with your doctor before visiting the sauna if you have any heart problems.
The Steam Room
A large water filled generator, which produces water vapor at high humidity, is present to pump steam into the room. The steam room is usually lined in ceramic tiles, which have the ability to retain moisture. The temperature in such a room should be at around 40-45 degrees and have an air humidity of 100%
Myth – a steam room does not contribute to weight loss. You don’t burn fat from sitting in steam, however, your body will get rid of toxins and excess water.
The advantages of using a steam room are many, including relieving sore muscles, removing toxins from the body, it promotes relaxation and improves sleep. By reducing the build-up of lactic acid steam also helps reduce friction in the joints, making it easier for the body to move. The steam will also help people who suffer from asthma and lung problems. The icing on the cake must surely be that both your skin and hair love steam! Steam opens the pores and allows toxins to be cleaned out, this prevents, among other things, the formation of acne.The moist heat also stimulates blood circulation to the skin’s surface, removes dead skin cells and adds moisture to the pores. The result of this is a skin that glows and looks younger, softer and healthier. The blood flow of the pores on the scalp is also stimulated, improving hair elasticity as well as helping to control sebum production.
Please note that – if you are feeling dizzy, nauseous or uncomfortable you should leave the steam room immediately.The recommended session time in a steam room is about 20 min.
Personally, I have a clear favorite, and it’s actually such a big favorite that I like to spend most of my time at the spa right there. I could certainly have fallen asleep in there, that’s how enjoyable I think it is! So what’s my favorite? Well it is without a doubt the steam room. But obviously there is no right or wrong choice here, you choose what you prefer, and by all means you can switch between the two options. Good to take note of is that the steam will to many feel hotter, despite the fact that the temperature in the sauna is considerably higher. Either way, I hope you feel inspired to prioritize trips to the sauna/steam room, as there is so many health benefits to collect from it. And remember; The most important thing of all is that you are enjoying yourself!