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Steam Sauna vs. Steam Shower: Health Benefits

Posted in Sauna FAQs, on August 21, 2018 By Admin

Many of us wonder if a steam sauna also known as a traditional sauna or a steam shower will help us relax after a long day. While a steam sauna or steam shower both have numerous health benefits, each are created differently. The heat produced varies between the two and the amount of humidity created also differs. Both saunas and steam rooms can be installed in the home so, it’s a matter of what you need them for. To give you an idea of which one is better suited for your needs, let’s explore how each one works and how they contribute to better overall health.

The terms steam sauna and steam shower may pose confusion to consumers. The term steam sauna is used by some to refer to a traditional sauna. Others use this term to describe a steam bath. We at Saunafin avoid the using of the term steam sauna as it leads to confusion. The terms we use are traditional or rock sauna, steam bath or steam shower and infrared sauna. 

The Basics: Steam sauna (traditional sauna) vs. steam shower

Steam SaunaUsually small or medium-sized rooms, traditional saunas or steam saunas are wooden structures that create a relaxing environment by generating heat. The heater is located inside the structure and works by heating up a strategically placed stack of rocks. Saunas are available in their traditional structure which produce heat through wood burning or electric means or they can come in an infrared model. The temperatures reached in a steam sauna range from 80°C-90°C (175F-194F).

On the other hand, a steam shower produces heat and humidity. The moisture produced in a steam room or steam shower creates temperatures of about 42°C-47°C (108F-115F). Unlike it’s non steamy counterpart, steam showers are made of tile and glass which are ideally suited to handle the humid steam environment otherwise they wouldn’t be able to reach an ideal amount of air moisture to provide any health benefits. One of the great things about steam showers (also referred to as steam baths) is that they can be constructed into your existing shower without having to build another structure. Conversely, a sauna must be built as a separate structure.

Steam sauna or steam shower: Producing the right amount of heat

Both saunas and steam showers produce heat. However, the way they produce it is different.

In a steam room or steam shower, a generator boils water and turns it into steam. The steam is then released into the air creating 100% humidity. If you’ve ever sat in a steam room, you probably noticed that the air was damp with condensation forming on the walls. The heat produced by a steam shower is moist, humid and hot, but it is comfortable enough for us to withstand it without feeling overheated or sick. 

Saunas do not produce a humid, moist heat. Instead, they produce a dry heat. Saunas are equipped with a heater that as we mentioned above, heats up rocks in order to make the room warm. With any sauna, you have to splash a little water over the hot rocks to create a blast of steam. However, it will be nowhere near as moist as a steam shower. This is why some individuals may call traditional saunas “steam saunas.” In a sauna, you’ll find a vent on the floor or wall near that heater.

Health benefits: Humidity vs. Dry Heat

A steam sauna or steam shower provides us with many health benefits.

Health benefits

Steam sauna

Steam shower

Weight loss

Yes, but must be coupled with moderate exercise and a healthy diet.

Yes, but must be coupled with moderate exercise and a healthy diet.

Metabolism

Yes, can speed up metabolism to help with weight loss (see above).

Yes, can speed up metabolism to help with weight loss (see above).

Arthritis

Yes, can soothe sore, aching joints.

Yes, can soothe sore, aching joints.

Detoxification

Yes, the sweat we produce while sitting in the sauna may help release toxins that help purify the body.

Yes, the sweat we produce during a steam shower may help release toxins that help purify the body.

Blood pressure

Yes, can help alleviate high blood pressure.

Yes, can help lower blood pressure.

Acne

Depends on how severe the acne is because the heat opens our pores, but can also over-stimulate the sebaceous glands creating more blemishes.

Depends on how severe the acne is because the humidity will open our pores but there is a chance the sebaceous glands become over-active.

Muscles

Yes, great for sore, pulled or tight muscles. Also, helps with muscle fatigue and sports injuries.

Yes, great for sore, pulled or tight muscles. Also, helps with muscle fatigue and sports injuries.

Circulation

Yes, circulation is greatly improved after a sauna session.

Yes, the steam helps our circulatory system work to its full potential.

Stress

Yes, the environment created by the heat leads to a stress-free experience.

Yes, the humidity and steam allow us to better relax.

Breathing

For those with asthma or bronchitis with asthmatic symptoms, using the sauna can help by relaxing the muscles in the bronchioles

Yes, opens up airways and can soothe respiratory issues like congestion.

some asthma sufferers prefer the moist heat of a steam room to that of a sauna

Sleep

Yes, if you make a regular habit of sitting in your sauna in the hours leading up to bedtime.

Yes, if you spend time in your steam shower in the hours before bed. Showering before bed can create a calming effect that leaves you feeling relaxed and ready for sleep.

Refresh

Yes, you can use your sauna in the morning to have more energy throughout the day.

Yes, you can use your steam shower at any point during the day for an extra boost of energy.

A steam sauna or steam shower provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere that can boost mood. Both wet and dry heat are able to trick our bodies into thinking they are under sedation which in turn allows us to relax and feel better.

If you’re torn between a steam sauna or steam shower, please do not hesitate to contact Saunafin online or by phone at 1-800-387-7029 (toll free), 905-738-4017 (local).

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