What is the Difference Between a Steam Room and a Sauna?

While both the steam room and the sauna reap similar benefits, there is often confusion concerning the differences. Often times, folks tend to use the terms interchangeably, which is actually incorrect. Preference for dry or wet heat therapy is determined by individual taste.

 Steam Room

Steam Rooms use externally produced moisture pumped into the room. Steam rooms are generally constructed of tile (glass, ceramic, etc.). With a humidity of nearly 100%, the temperature in a steam room ranges from 100°F – 130F.

Some experts believe that the moist heat of a steam room can reduce detoxification time by as much as 50%, as compared to a dry sauna. (Healthy Healing; Linda Page, PhD; 2004). The body retains more heat in a steam room than in a dry sauna. Specific benefits of a steam:

  • treating respiratory ailments
  • relieving joint pain
  • improve skin texture
  • improve skin tone

A Sauna uses dry heat therapy. With a humidity level of about 10%, the temperature ranges from 175°F – 200°F.  The walls, ceiling and benches are usually constructed of wood panels. Some dry saunas offer tiered benches to allow for personal comfort; with the heat more intense on the lower levels. In a “wet” sauna, clients can pour water over the heat source (if not electric!) to raise the humidity.

Because the body eliminates up to 1/3 of its waste through perspiration during a dry sauna, this is a highly effective method for detoxification. According to Page (2004), dry sauna can:

  • boost the immune system
  • stimulate blood circulation
  • flush toxins from the body
The Choice is Yours!

Some folks prefer the quick results from a Steam Room. For clients that find the humidity uncomfortable, the best choice is a relaxing Sauna. Either choice is perfect to combine with a massage or other spa treatments.