Wellhealthorganic.com:Difference between the Steam Room and Sauna Health Benefits of Steam Room – Introduction

Wellhealthorganic.com:Difference between the Steam Room and Sauna Health Benefits of Steam Room: Heat therapy is a super—well, hot—topic in the well-being space. If you love the idea of getting a sweat on but are unsure whether to seek out a sauna or a steam room, you’ve come to the right place.

We talked to medical experts to find out the differences between a sauna and steam, the unique benefits each has to offer, and when and why you should choose one over the other.


What’s the difference?

If you’re unfamiliar, the difference between a sauna and a steam room is in moisture level. In a sauna, you’re getting dry heat. In a steam room, as the name implies, you’re getting steamy, wet heat. Both have similar health benefits, though, so pick based on your preference.

But why are these extra degrees worth it? Jay Bailey, Wellness Director at the Clarksville YMCA, has a little insight into why members should opt for the sauna or steam room.

What is a sauna vs. a steam room?

Both saunas and steam rooms bring your body into hormesis—a state of mild, controlled stress that can help repair cellular damage and support immunity. By raising what energy specialist Ari Whitten called our “resilience threshold” on his episode of the mind-body green podcast, hormesis helps us better respond to all sorts of stressors—and be healthier and longer-lived because of it.

The difference between a sauna and a steam room comes down to the type of hormesis-inducing heat that they provide, explains Safdar Naueen, M.D., an internal medicine doctor at EHE Health. While a sauna is a dry heat, a steam room produces—as the name would suggest—a steamy, humid environment.

A sauna, with its dry heat at temperatures of 180 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, is ideal for relieving sore muscles, increasing blood flow, and promoting faster recovery after a tough workout. Saunas have long been an essential health tool in Scandinavian countries, and their benefits are starting to go global.

What is a sauna vs. a steam room?

Health Benefits of Steam Rooms & Saunas

They feel good… That’s all we knew for sure. But it seems that the benefits of steam rooms and saunas are far-reaching and scientifically proven. Here are some of the reasons you need to steam and sauna your way to better health.

Post-Workout Relaxation

Muscles need to be relaxed and stretched after they are exercised to promote healthy recovery. When muscles are worked out, their tiny fibers break apart. When the fibers heal, the muscle gains mass and becomes stronger. This process is expedited by muscle relaxation, which occurs in response to a hot environment.

 Relieves Joint and Muscular Tension

The heat from saunas and steam rooms soothes your nerve endings and warms and relaxes your muscles. Very important after sport, especially skiing! They also minimize joint pain as well as arthritis, migraines, and headaches due to the high-heat environment.

Does Steam Rooms Help Reduce Inflammation?

One thing that researchers generally agree on is that thermal therapy can help reduce systemic inflammation. This is a big benefit. ResearchTrusted Source shows that chronic inflammatory diseases are the most significant cause of death in the world.

If inflammation can be reduced, so can the incidence of disease for millions of people. A recent research update by the Rand Corporation showed that about 60% of Americans had at least one chronic condition, and 42% had more than one. Twelve percent of adults in the United States are living with 5 or more chronic conditions.

Does Steam Rooms Help Reduce Inflammation?

Worldwide, 3 out of every 5 people trusted Source die of chronic inflammatory conditions. Inflammation has been linked to many chronic conditions, including:

  • stroke
  • respiratory disease
  • heart disorders
  • cancer
  • obesity
  • diabetes

One study by Trusted Source found that frequent sauna bathing helped reduce the amount of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the body. C-reactive protein is a leading blood marker of systemic inflammation.

Research on Sauna and Steam Bathing

Researchers noted that further studies are needed to investigate the exact relationship between sauna bathing and systemic inflammation. Though sauna heating, not steam heating, was the focus of the study, steam might have a similar benefit since it also makes use of heat therapy.

Another study suggested that reduced inflammation may be one of the reasons that frequent sauna bathing is associated with decreased risk of both short-term and long-term disease conditions. The study called for further research and cautioned that the long-term effects of saunas are still unknown.

Another study suggested that practices that temporarily elevate body temperature and thereby reduce inflammation may be particularly useful for individuals whose physical or cognitive limitations prevent them from engaging in regular exercise.

A studyTrusted Sources of more than 2,000 men living in Finland found that CRP levels were lower among those who used the sauna more frequently. This is an example of the dose-related health benefits of heat therapy in which more, within safe limits, is often better than less.

Other Health Benefits of Steam Room

There has been much discussion in medical circles about increasing not only lifespan but health span. This is the number of years you live in reasonably good health without serious acute or chronic illness.

One study concluded that regular sauna bathing has the potential to delay the effects of aging and extend healthspan via heat therapy’s benefits to cardiovascular and cognitive health, physical fitness, and muscle maintenance.

Other Health Benefits of Steam Room

Emerging evidence shows that the health benefits of saunas dose-relate, especially for inflammation and cardiovascular benefits. This means that regular repeated sauna use has more benefits than infrequent use. One research review suggested that the explanation for heat’s dose-related benefits may be that repeated sauna use could help the body acclimate to the heat and enhance its response.

Here are some of the research’s most commonly mention health benefits of heat therapy. The focus here is on steam rooms, but saunas also include when benefits overlap between the two forms of heat.

Removes Toxins

Sweating removes toxins from the body. Sitting in a sauna of steam for just 20 minutes can rid the body of an entire day’s sweat and all of the toxins that come with it. Also handy if we overindulge on our holidays!

Clears the Skin

Steam clears the skin of impurities.  It improves circulation in the whole body, which gives you a healthy glow and will make your skin look and feel great.

Sweating removes toxins from the body. Sitting in a sauna of steam for just 20 minutes can rid the body of an entire day’s sweat and all of the toxins that come with it. Also handy if we overindulge on our holidays!

Reduces Stress

The heat causes the body to release endorphins that reduce the feeling of stress in the body. After you will feel rejuvenated and content.


There are a lot of healthy reasons you should step in—and your body will thank you. The sauna and steam room “improve circulation and lower blood pressure. Reduce stress, clear congestion, promote skin health, aid in workout recovery, and loosen stiff joints. Burn calories, boost your immune system, and remove toxins,” Jay says. Whew! Sounds like a win-win all around.

Some people find steam rooms stifling though and think that the humid air is difficult to breathe. Steam rooms have a mystic quality, with the air shrouded in steam While saunas are clean and clear enough so that you could read a book if you wanted. If you have greasy skin you might find that a dry sauna is better. Because your pores get blocked by moisture if you stay in the steam room too long.