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What's the Difference Between a Sauna and Steam Room?

Heat therapy is being used in a very wide range of different ways today and there are lots of options available. Whether you’re looking to relax or rejuvenate, most people will opt for either a sauna or a steam room. However, the two are not the same and actually provide very different experiences. So what’s the difference between a sauna and a steam room and which one should you choose?

What is a steam room?

If you’ve not tried a steam room before then it is essentially what the description says it is - a room full of steam. The steam is created by a generator and the atmosphere is (as you’d expect) very humid. In fact, you can expect humidity levels close to 100% in a steam room and an air temperature of between 110 and 115 degrees.

What is a sauna?

It’s a similar type of heat therapy - but the dry version. A traditional sauna uses gas, wood or an electric stove to create the heat, which is a low humidity, dry type of heat. Temperatures in a sauna can reach 180 to 200 degrees. In the more modern saunas, the heat source is infrared light, rather than a stove or wood. Infrared light will raise your core body temperature to produce sweat, as opposed to your body reacting to an external influence. Infrared saunas also have a lower temperature (135 - 150 degrees), which means you can spend more time in them.

The benefits of a sauna vs a steam room

  • The maximum time you can steam in a steam room is around 15 minutes, according to healthcare professionals. For a sauna it’s 20 minutes, unless you’re in an infrared sauna in which case this can be a longer session.
  • A steam room is a great way to decongest. Any kind of upper respiratory congestion will be alleviated by spending time in a steam room, especially if the steam contains something like eucalyptus oil.
  • Muscle relaxation. The heat from both a sauna and a steam room can help your muscles to release any tension that you’re carrying. So it depends on whether you prefer a wet or dry heat in terms of the atmosphere you’d prefer to do this in.
  • Alleviating pain. Saunas have a very positive impact on pain. In fact, research on infrared saunas has found that they can create statistically significant reductions in stiffness and pain for conditions such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and lower back pain.
  • Boosting circulation. Again, saunas take the top position here. Both saunas and steam rooms expand blood vessels, which helps to improve circulation. However, a 2018 Swedish study found that saunas could actually help to increase cardiac function.
  • Reducing recovery times. For athletes (pro or amateur) a sauna has a key role to play in recovery and studies have found that it supports faster recovery post-workout.

Saunas and steam rooms both offer impressive heath therapy benefits. The best option for you will depend on what you want to use it for. With a range of traditional and soft options as a modular sauna that allows you to customise the shape, size and design of your sauna and a large variety of ready-made saunas we are sure that we can find the right model for you. Get in touch with a member of our expert team today to discuss our 0% APR Finance options and for more information about our extensive range of saunas and steam rooms.

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About Us

The Hot Tub and Swim Spa Company specialise in providing hot tubs, swim spas, pools and gazebos and have experience of over 50 years in this industry. We also offer servicing and post-sales care for all of our customers to make sure that our customers get the best out of their hot tub.