Benefits of Steam Room vs Sauna

Which Is Better?

Steam rooms and saunas are two popular spa treatments that offer a range of health and wellness benefits. Both provide therapeutic sessions of dry or wet heat that promote detoxification, improve circulation, ease aches and pains, and provide relaxation.

But what exactly are the specific benefits of a steam room versus a sauna? Here’s a detailed comparison of the benefits of each to help you decide which is better suited for your needs.

Benefits of a Steam Room

Steam rooms provide moist heat from hot steam vapor, usually around 110-115°F. This offers several therapeutic advantages:

1. Alleviates Respiratory Problems

Inhaling the warm steam provides moisturizing benefits for your nasal passages, throat, and lungs. This can help relieve symptoms of respiratory conditions like colds, flu, asthma, bronchitis, coughs or sinusitis.

The humid environment helps loosen mucus secretions in your airways and makes breathing easier when congested. The heat also helps kill bacteria.

2. Promotes Muscle Relaxation

The warmth and humidity of a steam room helps relax tense, tight muscles and increase flexibility. This makes steam rooms ideal for soothing sore, stiff muscles after exercise or physical activity.

The moist heat stimulates blood circulation to your muscles, reducing lactic acid buildup that contributes to muscle aches.

3. Clears Skin & Unclogs Pores

The wet steam helps open your pores to flush out impurities, dirt and bacteria trapped underneath your skin. Using a steam room regularly can help minimize acne breakouts and achieve a clean, fresh complexion.

The hydrating effects of steam rooms also add essential moisture to your skin to prevent dryness and irritation. Improved circulation provides nourishment for softer, healthier looking skin.

4. Eliminates Toxins Through Sweating

Although you don’t sweat as much in a steam room as a sauna, the heat still induces perspiration to help eliminate toxins from your body. As your pores open, impurities are flushed out through your sweat.

This helps rid your body of heavy metals, BPA, chlorine and other harmful chemicals that enter through our water, products and environment.

5. Reduces Stress & Relaxes Muscles

The soothing warmth of a steam room helps melt away muscle tension. It also increases endorphins which provide natural stress and anxiety relief as your body unwinds.

The meditative, relaxing environment eases mental fatigue and rejuvenates your mind, body and spirit after a long challenging day.

6. Improves Quality of Sleep

Using a steam room before bedtime promotes relaxation and can make it easier to fall asleep and get better rest. This is ideal for those with insomnia or trouble relaxing in the evenings.

The routine of a pre-bedtime steam room session helps establish a regular sleep cycle so you wake up feeling more refreshed and restored.

7. Boosts Circulation & Oxygen Flow

The high humidity and heat of a steam room raises your core body temperature. This causes your blood vessels to dilate and increase blood flow throughout your body.

More circulating blood means more oxygen and nutrients can reach your cells. This provides benefits similar to cardiovascular exercise by improving heart health.

Increased blood flow also keeps your skin looking moisturized and vibrant.

8. Supports Healthy Breathing

The warm moisture of a steam room keeps airways open, hydrated and functioning optimally. This promotes easier breathing for those with asthma, allergies, chronic bronchitis or other conditions that restrict air flow.

The humidity loosens mucus secretions, prevents dryness and provides cough relief. Steam rooms can also strengthen lungs and increase lung capacity.

Benefits of a Sauna

Saunas use dry heat, usually between 150-212°F, to induce sweating and provide these therapeutic effects:

1. Relieves Stress

The high heat of a sauna stimulates release of endorphins and reduces levels of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. This creates a deep sense of relaxation and calm.

Regular saunas improve sleep quality, reduce tension headaches and minimize anxiety and depression caused by chronic stress.

2. Eases Muscle Soreness

The dry heat warms up your muscles and increases blood flow to loosen stiffness, improve flexibility and relieve aches and pains.

Saunas help minimize muscle soreness from intense workouts or athletic activities by soothing tense muscles and speeding up recovery time.

3. Detoxifies Your Body

Sweating profusely in a sauna eliminates toxins through your pores including heavy metals, BPA, pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Toxic buildup in your body can contribute to chronic conditions.

Sauna sessions provide the benefits of a deep sweat without physical exertion while flushing out impurities from your tissues and cells.

4. Improves Cardiovascular Health

As your body temperature rises in a sauna, your heart works harder to pump blood to the surface of your skin. This increased heart rate provides a mild cardiovascular workout.

Using a sauna 2-3 times per week lowers blood pressure, improves blood flow and helps maintain a healthy heart.

5. Boosts Immune System

The temporary heat stress of a sauna session increases white blood cell counts and other immune cells in your system, preparing your body to fight infection.

Using a sauna when you’re sick can help open up nasal and bronchial passages to provide relief from colds, flu, sinus issues and allergies.

6. Burns Calories

A 30-minute sauna session can burn up to 300 calories as your metabolism rises. This makes saunas an easy and relaxing way to maintain a healthy weight and give your heart a workout.

Using a sauna after exercise maximizes calorie burn as your body remains at an elevated temperature after your workout is over.

7. Improves Skin Health

The high heat opens your pores and makes your body sweat out impurities. This cleanses your skin, unclogs pores and leaves you with a healthy glow.

Saunas also increase blood flow to your skin cells, delivering nourishing oxygen and minerals for improved complexion and tone.

8. Alleviates Arthritis Symptoms

The dry heat of a sauna can help relieve inflammation, increase circulation and flexibility, and ease joint pain caused by arthritis.

Using a sauna 2-3 times per week provides lasting pain relief for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.

Steam Room vs Sauna: Key Differences

Now that you know the unique benefits of steam rooms and saunas, here are the main ways they differ:

  • Heat source: Steam rooms use wet heat from steam vapor. Saunas use dry heat from a wood stove, heated rocks or other source.
  • Temperature: Steam rooms average 100-115°F. Saunas range from 150-212°F.
  • Humidity: The humidity in a steam room nears 100%. A sauna’s humidity level is only about 10-20%.
  • Sweating: You sweat more and burn more calories in a sauna. Steam rooms produce light perspiration.
  • Duration: Sauna sessions usually run 10-20 minutes. Steam rooms are enjoyed for 10-15 minutes.
  • Health perks: Steam rooms excel at respiratory relief. Saunas are superior for detoxification and heart health.
  • Skin benefits: Steam rooms deeply cleanse pores and skin. Saunas improve complexion and nourish skin cells.
  • Discomfort risks: Saunas feel extremely hot and can sometimes cause lightheadedness. Steam rooms are lower risk.

Choosing Between a Steam Room vs Sauna

Should you use a steam room or sauna? Which one offers more advantages? Here are some tips for choosing between the two:

  • Those seeking muscle relaxation and respiratory relief are better suited to steam rooms.
  • If your main goals are detoxification and cardiovascular health, saunas may be more beneficial.
  • For congestion relief and skin cleansing, steam rooms hold more advantages.
  • People looking to burn calories and ease joint pain would likely favor saunas.

Consider alternating sessions between the two to reap both the deep cleansing of saunas and the humid relaxation of steam rooms. Start slowly, drink plenty of water and listen to your body. Used properly, both can promote better health!

Frequently Asked Questions

What health conditions are helped by saunas vs steam rooms?

Saunas improve heart health, arthritis and skin complexion. Steam rooms help breathing issues like asthma, allergies, coughs, colds and bronchitis. Both relieve stress.

What are the benefits of an infrared sauna vs traditional sauna?

Infrared saunas use light waves to heat your body directly rather than heating the air. This allows lower temperatures with deeper direct tissue penetration.

Is it better to use a sauna or steam room after a workout?

Post-workout sauna use can help ease sore muscles, continue calorie burn and aid workout recovery. Steam rooms also help relax muscles after physical activity.

Can you use a sauna or steam room if you have high blood pressure?

Start slowly for 10-15 minutes if you have high blood pressure, as the heat can lower blood pressure further. Stop if you have any dizziness, headache, nausea or weakness.

How often should you use a steam room or sauna?

It’s recommended to start with sessions just 2-3 times per week for 10-20 minutes to see how your body adapts to the heat. Build up gradually to daily 20-minute sessions.

What should you do before and after using a sauna or steam room?

Before: Drink water, wait 1-2 hours after big meals, shower. After: Cool down gradually, shower, rehydrate with water, relax.


In conclusion, steam rooms and saunas both offer therapeutic benefits, but excel in different areas. Steam rooms provide humid heat that opens airways and relaxes muscles. Saunas promote detoxification, heart health and deeper muscle therapy with intense dry heat. Consider your personal health goals and needs to determine which method may be better for you. Incorporate sessions 2-3 times per week, being sure to stay hydrated before and after use.

There are a growing number of reputable companies specializing in luxury sauna and steam room installation across hotels and residential towers in Dubai. Top venders like Steam Dubai and Hero Wellness Contracting exclusively utilize state-of-the-art European equipment for optimal build quality and fitting. Their comprehensive services span consultation, design, customization, plumbing, electrical, ventilation, and annual maintenance works.

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