Sauna and steam rooms both use heat therapeutically - they produce the same effect - a good healthy sweat, though in different ways.
Steam rooms date back to thousands of years, it is said that Pre-Roman civilizations in Portugal were using steam baths. Saunas dated back to the 10th century during the Bronze Age of Britain, early Vikings are said to have developed them.
AdvertisementA sauna uses dry heat, whereas a steam bath uses high humidity - both open up pores to eliminate toxins through sweat, relieve joint pains, strengthen the immune system and improve blood circulation. There are many of us who cannot tolerate dry heat and prefer the moisture of steam.
A steam room has a lower temperature - not more than 110 degrees F or 43 degrees C, though the level of humidity is very high at 100 degrees. When you enter a steam room you are enveloped in a cloudy blanket of vapor and you can sit or lounge on benches so that your body can make use of this steam.
Some studies show that steam works better at detoxifying the body and give better benefits in half the time a sauna would take. The body maintains heat for a longer period.
A steam room is great for people with respiratory issues - it loosens secretion in the throat, lungs and nose. Dry throats and nasal dryness are helped with the moisture in the air. It helps asthma and croup and clears sinuses and hydrates skin.
As mold and bacteria thrive in a moist environment, the steam room needs to be disinfected regularly.
To detoxify the body with serious sweating - the answer is a sauna. A sauna uses a heater or a wood burning stove in an enclosed room to raise the temperature. Heat above 160 degrees F, or 71 degrees C is the usual temperature in a dry sauna room.
A sauna elevates the body's internal temperature and stimulates blood flow while opening pores. It is ideally used in a detoxifying program.
Sometimes water is sprinkled on the heater or hot rocks in a sauna room to add a small quantity of steam. Essential oils are added to this water to add to the benefits of the sauna. Adding too much water can increase the heat and when this happens it can scald the skin of bathers.
Plenty of fluids should be consumed before a sauna to prevent dehydration, if a person feels dizzy or unwell; they should leave the sauna room immediately.
Dry saunas boost the immune system, flush out toxins and stimulate blood circulation. The body can eliminate one third of its wastes through perspiration. It inhibits the growth of bacteria and viruses while promoting relaxation.
To sum it up steam rooms generate heat with steam while saunas use dry heat or infrared heat. Generally steam rooms are made of glass while saunas are usually made of wood. The steam rooms have an external steam generator while in sauna rooms the stove or heating device is generally placed in the room.
The temperature is very high in these rooms, especially in saunas so pregnant women, those who have heart disease, high or low blood pressure, epilepsy, or are on any prescription medication, should not use steam or sauna rooms.