Steam room vs sauna benefits, it’s essential to know the difference if you want to achieve you’re sauna goals. Have you ever found yourself standing before a sauna and a steam room, wondering which one to choose? You’re not alone.

Both saunas and steam rooms are popular heat therapies, but they offer different experiences. Knowing their differences is essential for making an informed decision that aligns with your wellness goals.

This post will explore the “sauna vs. steam room pros and cons”, their health benefits, and factors to consider when choosing between them.

So, let’s dive in and unravel the mystery of saunas vs. steam rooms!

Key Takeaways

  • Saunas and steam rooms offer distinct health benefits, from improved cardiovascular health to pain relief.
  • Depending on your needs, one may be better suited than the other for improving skin elasticity or providing deep hydration.
  • Maximize the benefits by showering before/after & staying hydrated. Always consult your healthcare provider beforehand.

Understanding Steam Room vs Sauna Benefits

Saunas and steam rooms are both heat therapies enjoyed for centuries. The main difference between the two lies in the type of heat they provide: saunas offer dry heat, whereas steam rooms use moist heat. While they share some expected health benefits, each provides a unique experience catering to different personal preferences and lifestyle considerations.

Now, let’s explore the different types of saunas and steam rooms, beginning with traditional saunas.

Traditional Saunas

A traditional sauna uses dry heat generated by hot rocks or an electric stove to create a low-humidity environment with temperatures typically between 180° and 200°F. This type of sauna has been a staple in Finnish culture for centuries. It is known for its ability to induce sweating, which helps flush out toxins and promote relaxation.

Traditional saunas are available in various types, including wood-burning and electric versions, both offering similar health benefits for those who enjoy a dry and intense heat experience.

Steam Room vs Sauna Benefits its important to understand the diffrences

Infrared Saunas

Infrared saunas, on the other hand, use infrared light to heat the body directly instead of heating the air around you. This unique approach offers a lower temperature experience, typically between 135° and 150°F, that allows for deeper tissue penetration and a more stable core body temperature.

Many people find infrared saunas a more comfortable and relaxing experience due to the lower ambient air temperature.

With the ability to stay in an infrared sauna for up to 45 minutes, depending on your tolerance and physical condition, you can enjoy a more extended session that still delivers numerous health benefits.

infrared sauna

Steam Rooms

Steam rooms offer several steam room benefits, including:

  • Opening up pores
  • Hydrating the skin
  • Providing respiratory relief
  • Creating a sensation of higher heat even at lower temperatures, which may be more comfortable for people with heat sensitivity

A steam room session typically lasts around 15 minutes, offering a soothing and refreshing experience for those who prefer wet heat.

Steam room vs sauna

Steam Room vs Sauna Benefits

Both saunas and steam rooms offer many benefits for the body and mind. These heat therapies have been praised for their healing properties, from improved cardiovascular health to respiratory relief and pain relief/muscle recovery. While some benefits are exclusive to either saunas or steam rooms, many sauna benefits and advantages are shared.

We will now examine the specific health benefits of saunas and steam rooms, focusing first on their impact on cardiovascular health.

Thinking of buying your own sauna – Take a moment to peruse my comprehensive buyer’s guide. This guide will equip you with the necessary insights to make an informed choice.

Cardiovascular Health

Saunas and steam rooms can improve cardiovascular health by increasing circulation, helping lower blood pressure, and reducing the risk of heart-related issues. The heat exposure causes blood vessels to dilate, allowing better blood flow throughout the body. Regular sauna use has been linked to a lower risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and even certain types of stroke.

Although saunas and steam rooms can enhance cardiovascular health, individuals with pre-existing heart conditions or high blood pressure should seek advice from a healthcare professional before using frequent sauna bathing or starting heat therapy. Safety should be the utmost priority, even while enjoying the benefits of sauna or steam room use.

Respiratory Relief

Steam rooms are particularly beneficial for respiratory relief, as the moist heat and humid air helps alleviate congestion and soothe irritated airways. The steam acts as a natural humidifier, moisturizing and opening the lungs, making breathing easier. Steam rooms can provide a comforting and therapeutic experience for individuals with asthma or other respiratory issues.

Though steam rooms are more directly adequate, saunas may offer some respiratory benefits. The dry heat can help loosen mucus and reduce inflammation, relieving those struggling with respiratory concerns.

Remember that individual responses to saunas and steam rooms for respiratory relief may differ. Some people might find significant relief in a steam room, whereas others might favour the dry heat of a sauna. Before using heat therapy for respiratory issues, always check with a healthcare professional to ensure it’s a safe and appropriate choice for you.

eucalyptus oil for steam room

Eucalyptus oil is a fantastic addition to your steam room. For more details on benefits and how to use it, click here.

Pain Relief and Muscle Recovery

Both saunas and steam rooms can help with pain relief and muscle recovery, making them popular choices for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. The benefits include:

  • Increased blood flow
  • Heat exposure to relax muscles
  • Reduction in inflammation
  • Alleviation of soreness

With their higher temperatures, Saunas may offer more significant benefits due to the intense heat penetrating deeper into the muscle tissue.

While not as effective as saunas in muscle recovery, steam rooms still provide a soothing and relaxing environment that can help ease muscle tension and stiffness. They are especially beneficial for individuals who struggle with joint pain or arthritis, as the moist heat can alleviate discomfort and improve joint mobility.

Ultimately, choosing between a sauna and steam room for pain relief and muscle recovery will depend on personal preference and the heat that provides the most comfort and ease.

Skin Health: Sauna vs. Steam Room

Both saunas and steam rooms benefit skin health, but they work in different ways to achieve these results. With their dry heat, Saunas stimulate collagen production and improve blood flow to the skin’s surface. This can lead to a more robust and elastic complexion, as well as help with the removal of toxins and dirt through sweating.

On the other hand, steam rooms provide hydration and open up pores, allowing for a deeper cleanse and the removal of impurities. The moist heat of steam baths can also help alleviate certain skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, by providing a soothing and moisturizing environment.

Consider your specific needs and preferences when deciding between a sauna and a steam room for skin health. A sauna might be better to improve skin elasticity and promote collagen production. However, a steam room could be ideal for deep hydration and a thorough cleanse. Here is a great article all about the skin and how it works.

Mental Health and Relaxation

In today’s fast-paced world, mental health and relaxation are more crucial than ever. Both saunas and steam rooms can promote mental health and provide a tranquil space for meditation and stress reduction. The heat therapy experience can help release endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, which can improve mood and overall well-being.

Additionally, spending time in a sauna or steam room can encourage mindfulness and provide an opportunity to disconnect from daily stressors and focus on the present moment.

relaxin in sauna

While both saunas and steam rooms can offer physical and mental health benefits, the choice will ultimately come down to personal preference. Some may find the dry heat of a sauna more conducive to relaxation. In contrast, others may prefer a steam room’s enveloping warmth and humidity.

Regardless of your choice, incorporating heat therapy into your self-care routine can enhance mental health and promote relaxation.

Safety and Precautions

Despite the numerous health benefits of saunas and steam rooms, practising safety and following certain precautions is paramount. Hydration is vital as saunas and steam rooms can lead to significant fluid loss through sweat.

Remember to hydrate before, during, and after your session to replace lost fluids. Monitoring the length of your session is also essential, as staying in a sauna or steam room for too long can lead to overheating, dehydration, and dizziness. Limiting your session to 15-30 minutes is recommended, depending on your heat tolerance and physical condition.

Specific individuals should consult their healthcare provider before using a sauna or steam room, including those with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or respiratory issues. Pregnant women should also seek advice from their doctor before a steam bath or engaging in heat therapy.

Always prioritize safety, and pay attention to how your body feels during your sauna session too. If you feel unwell, exit the sauna or steam room immediately.

Personal Preference and Lifestyle Considerations

Choosing between a sauna and a steam room ultimately depends on personal preference and lifestyle considerations. Factors to consider include the desired heat intensity, humidity levels, and available space. A traditional or infrared sauna may be the better choice if you prefer a more intense, dry heat experience. However, a traditional steam room also might suit you if you enjoy a more moderate, humid environment.

Other considerations include:

  • The available space in your home or access to a local gym or spa facility. For those wanting to head to your local gym for a test run – please read this post on sauna etiquette.
  • Saunas require less space and can be more easily installed in a home setting
  • Steam rooms typically require more space and specialized equipment.

Ultimately, deciding between a sauna room and a steam room should be based on your unique needs, preferences, and lifestyle factors.

Maximising the Benefits – Sauna vs Steam Room

Consider incorporating a few practices into your routine to maximize the benefits of saunas and steam rooms.

Showering before and after your session can help open your pores, relax your muscles before entering both the sauna and heat, and rinse off sweat and toxins afterwards. Dry brushing, a technique that uses natural bristles to gently exfoliate the skin, can help improve circulation and lymphatic drainage, further enhancing the benefits of heat therapy.

Maintaining optimal hydration is essential since both saunas and steam rooms can lead to fluid loss through sweating. Make a habit of drinking water before, during, and after your sauna bathing or session to replace lost fluids and keep hydration levels up.

Incorporating these practices into your sauna or steam room routine can help you get the most out of your heat therapy experience, ensuring you’re reaping all the health and wellness benefits these therapies offer. I also have an article that dives deep into this topic here.



In conclusion, saunas vs steam rooms offer many health benefits for the body and mind. From improved cardiovascular health and respiratory relief to enhanced skin health and mental relaxation, choosing between a sauna and steam room depends on personal preference and lifestyle considerations. By understanding the differences between these heat therapies and incorporating safety precautions and practices to maximize their benefits, you can decide which option best aligns with your health and wellness goals.

So next time you find yourself standing in front of a sauna and steam room, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to make the best choice for your well-being. No matter which heat therapy you choose, remember to prioritize safety, stay hydrated, and enjoy the numerous health benefits of saunas and steam rooms.

Ready to buy your own sauna – Have a look at my sauna buyers guide here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a steam room better for you than a sauna?

The steam room is a better option for dry skin, as it provides beneficial humidity. At the same time, saunas offer more researched cardiovascular health, immunity, and longevity benefits.

Steam rooms also help to open up pores and cleanse the skin from dirt and dead skin cells. However, some people may find the steam stifling and hard to breathe.

What are the cons of steam rooms?

Steam rooms can lead to headaches, unsuitable for those with asthma or heart problems, and risk long exposure.

Therefore, it’s essential to take caution when using them.

Can I have a sauna outside?

Yes, you can get saunas that are specifically made to be outdoors. You can see a rundown on some outdoor saunas here.

What is the main difference between saunas and steam rooms?

The main difference between saunas and steam rooms is that saunas provide dry heat while steam rooms offer moist heat.

Can saunas and steam rooms improve cardiovascular health?

Yes, using saunas and steam rooms can improve cardiovascular health by increasing circulation, through weight loss lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risk of heart-related issues.

What safety precautions should I follow when using a sauna or steam room?

Stay hydrated and monitor your session length when using a sauna or steam room.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

How else can I improve my wellness?

Maximizing Wellness: The Synergy of Sauna Sessions and Nourishing Drinks

Are you striving for a comprehensive approach to well-being that encompasses both external and internal aspects of health? Exploring the wellness world often leads us to discover the benefits of practices like sauna sessions and nourishing drinks. This article will delve into the remarkable synergy between these two elements, contributing to a more balanced and revitalising lifestyle.

Wellness Drinks: Unlock the Power of Fresh Healthy Drinks for Wellness