Which is Better? Steam Room or Sauna
Wellness comes down to more than just working out. There are tons of ways in which you can improve your health and well-being just by changing variables in your environment. A great way to do this is with either a steam room or sauna. Temperature plays a very important role in cell health, aging, and many other metabolic processes. Now, you may be wondering which of the two is best for you? Well, they each have different benefits, and which one to choose comes down to what you need and/or prefer.
In this post I’ll be breaking down reasons to use either of these tools as well as help you make a decision on which is right for you.
Why Use Either One?
So, what’s the point of using either the steam room or sauna? There are forms of stress that can be imposed on your body that will in turn create certain reactions. Just like lifting weights causes your body to adapt and grow stronger, so can these other stressors. Variables like heat can be used to induce these forms of stress in a controlled manner. This is referred to as Hormetic Stress or hormesis. It’s a controlled, acute stress that can trigger healthy adaptive responses.
These stressors can cause certain proteins to activate and specific reactions to occur in your body that in turn provide health benefits. Some things to expect can be lowered inflammation, better blood flow, and improved cognition.
Good stress can lead to positive health benefits and that’s why you would want to use either a sauna or steam room.
One misconception is that either of these are used for weight loss, and this just isn’t the case. Yes, you will sweat a lot, but any weight from this is going to be water weight.
Benefits of the Steam Room
Now, each one of these have their own benefits. The steam room is the less intimidating of the two. The temperatures within a steam room are around 110 to 114 degrees which is less intense. It’s also filled with steam, which increases the humidity. It’s a different kind of heat from a dry sauna. The heat is good for producing this hormetic stress, but it’s also great for opening up your sinuses and improving your breathing. For anyone who experiences sinus issues or has mild congestion, the steam room is extremely beneficial. In addition, you’ll find
that a steam room is very relaxing and can lower stress levels.
Essential oils are also something that you can take advantage of in the steam room. The steam helps to carry the beneficial oils throughout the room.
Benefits of the Sauna
The dry sauna is a totally different experience from the steam room. A dry sauna can get up to temperatures as high as 195 degrees, which may seem a little intimidating. However, so long as you avoid staying in for extended periods of time, you’ll be fine. These higher temperatures really cause some changes in the body that you can benefit from. There are benefits for anti-aging, heart health, brain health, inflammation, and even immunity.
It should be noted that the sauna is dry heat, which can bother some people who may have issues with dry air. This can bring about nose bleeds in some individuals.
Ensure that you’re properly hydrated when using the dry sauna as well, as you’re going to be sweating a lot.
Which is Best?
Now, each of these are great for your health, but it really depends on what you’re looking for. The steam room is more approachable and something that goes more along the lines of relaxation. The sauna is going to be a little more intense but provides a wider range of benefits for your health. Hormetic stress comes about in the steam room, but the sauna’s temperatures allow things to really start shifting for your body.
Acclimate yourself to the higher temperatures for both of these and see which you find most benefit in!
Not all stress is bad stress. You can use a sauna or steam room as a way of inducing good stress on your body. The heat is going to improve your cell health, reduce inflammation, and much more. Depending on what level of intensity you want, you can decide on what is best for you. The sauna is going to be the most intense option, which much higher heats than the steam room. The steam room is fantastic for your lungs and breathing, while the sauna is more about stressing out your body to cause adaptations to occur.
There can be a time to use one over the other, but it really depends on what your goals are!