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Sauna Vs. Steam Shower

by
author image Kristin Davis
Kristin Davis has been writing since 2004, specializing in the health and fitness fields. She has written for online and print publications including Fitness Monthly and Creative Circle. Davis has certification through the International Fitness Professionals Association as a personal trainer.
Sauna Vs. Steam Shower
Saunas and steam rooms both have many advantages. Photo Credit sauna(n/b) image by Sébastien Goetschmann from <a href="http://www.fotolia.com">Fotolia.com</a>

Steam showers and saunas are both very relaxing. Both offer heated environments that can be used to relax after an intense work or just to unwind after a stressful day. Research should be performed before deciding to step into the sauna or steam room.

Steam Shower

A steam shower uses the concept of wet heat. According to Sauna-talk.com, it creates heat by heating rocks and pouring water over them or by using a generator. The heat and humidity inside the steam rooms causes the body to sweat, aiding in the removal of toxins and temporary weight loss. A steam room can reach temperatures ranging from 100 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Gyms and spas may add fragrances and scents to the room to provide a more relaxing experience.

Sauna

A sauna uses the concept of dry heat. You will not sweat as heavily in a sauna, as they have relatively low humidity. Although the humidity is lower, the heat is greater and can reach as high as 200 degrees Fahrenheit. A typical sauna will include two layers of benches. Most people choose to sit on the top bench while resting their feet on the lower one. Heat rises, so the higher bench will have higher temperatures.

Benefits

If you frequently experience breathing problems, the humidity in the steam room can aid in temporary relief. Using the steam shower can relieve the effects of bronchitis or asthma. A sauna has very different benefits. According to Saunasite.org, since a sauna will reach higher temperatures with lower humidity, it aids in the recovery of muscles after a workout.

Disadvantages

When it comes to the steam shower, the moist environment makes it the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. A steam room that is properly cleaned on a regular basis should remain bacteria-free; however wearing shoes as a precaution is recommended. The humidity can also cause problems if you suffer from acute rheumatoid arthritis or active tuberculosis. The biggest disadvantage of the sauna is that your body will not sweat as much and will not release the amount of toxins that are released in a steam shower.

Conclusions

There is no right or wrong choice when deciding to use a steam shower or sauna. The choice is completely personal. Both create an environment that you use to unwind and relax. While the steam room can be extremely soothing, especially if you are having breathing issues, some people find the intensity of the humidity to be uncomfortable. If you are one of these people, the sauna is a better choice. Before using either the sauna or steam room, you should take a shower to ensure that any bacteria and other impurities have been cleaned off.

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