Sauna versus steam bath: a comparison of two popular relaxation methods
In the world of wellness and relaxation, there are a variety of ways to relieve stress and promote good health. Two of the most popular options are the traditional sauna bath and the increasingly popular steam bath. Both offer unique benefits, but in this article we will focus on why the mild heat of the steam bath might be a better choice than the extreme heat of the sauna.
What is a steam bath, and what is a sauna?
Before we get into the pros and cons, let’s briefly define what a steam bath and sauna are actually about.
- Steam bath: a steam bath is a closed room filled with hot steam. The humidity is usually 100%, while the temperature is in the range of 40 °C to 50 °C (104 to 122 °F). It is often enriched with essential oils to promote relaxation.
- Sauna: The sauna, on the other hand, is a room characterized by a dry heat. The temperature can range from 70 °C to 100 °C (158 to 212 °F) and the humidity is very low. In the sauna, people sweat to cleanse their body and increase their general well-being.
Advantages of a steam bath
- Gentler on the skin: the mild heat and high humidity of a steam bath are gentler on the skin. In contrast, the extreme heat of the sauna can dry out the skin and cause irritation to sensitive skin.
- Better Breathing: The warm steam in the steam room can help open the airways and relieve respiratory problems. This is especially beneficial for people with asthma or other respiratory conditions.
- Improved circulation: The combination of heat and moisture promotes circulation and can reduce muscle tension.
Skin cleansing: The high humidity in the steam room helps open pores and remove dirt and excess oil from the skin, resulting in a more thorough cleanse.
- Stress reduction and relaxation: the calming effect of the steam bath on the body can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Advantages of a sauna
- Intense sweating: the heat of the sauna has a cleansing and revitalizing effect on the skin. This is because the heat opens the pores of the skin and facilitates the drainage of sebum and dirt. In addition, the sauna can moisturize the skin and improve elasticity.
- Muscle recovery: the sauna can help promote muscle recovery after exercise and relieve muscle soreness.
- Strengthening the immune system: sauna strengthens the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells. These cells are responsible for fighting infections.
Here are some additional tips for a healthy sauna or steam bath visit:
- Drink plenty of water before and after spending time in the sauna or steam room.
- Shower before going to the sauna or steam room to rid the body of sweat and dirt.
- Do not sauna or steam for more than 15 minutes per session.
- Take breaks in a quiet room between sauna or steam bath sessions.
- Listen to your body and interrupt your sauna or steam bath session if you feel uncomfortable.
Conclusion: Why the steam bath might be the better choice
Although the steam room and sauna have equal benefits, for many people the steam room is the better choice. The mild heat and high humidity of the steam bath make it a gentler option for the skin, while it can also relax the respiratory system and improve circulation.
For people with sensitive skin or respiratory problems, the steam bath is especially beneficial. It is also great for relieving stress and relaxing.
However, individual preferences and health needs should be considered when deciding between a steam bath and sauna. Both wellness practices can have a positive effect on the body and mind, and the choice between the two should depend primarily on personal well-being. No matter which you choose, one thing is certain: the time you spend in a steam room or sauna will undoubtedly provide you with a relaxing and refreshing experience.