Differences Between a Sauna and a Steambath
Today, millions of people are looking for unique and alternative ways not only to relax, but also to improve their well being. Two such ways of recharging mentally and physically is to use a Sauna or Steam Bath (also called a Steam Shower). Both saunas and steam baths are popular ways to alleviate stress and tension in the body, and calm the mind. When deciding whether to have a sauna or a steam bath, it is important to know the differences between each one and how they work.
Dry Heat vs. Moist Heat
The main difference between a sauna and a steam bath is that a sauna makes use of dry heat and a steam bath utilizes moist heat. Conventional saunas can use either wood, electric, or gas-fired heaters. Generally, saunas are rooms that are wood paneled, and the heat is provided pouring water over heated rocks to produce very fine vapour.
Benefits of a Sauna
The temperature of a sauna can range from 140 to 200 F. Saunas are effective at supporting fitness routines as they relax muscles and promote bloodflow, helping oxygen to circulate in the body. A sauna can be useful both before and after a workout to improve performance, and help with recovery.
The sauna itself can be at risk of mold developing due to the moisture levels, so it is necessary to clean the porous wood panels and benches with water and mild soap to prevent mold growth. An infrared sauna can prevent this issue, as they use infrared heaters that dispense radiant heat to heat the body instead of the air.
Benefits of a Steam Room or Steam Bath
Steam rooms are rooms that are sporadically heated using a steam generator. Steam is sent into a nearly airtight room where it accumulates and creates a high humidity level. Because the steam rooms are nearly airtight, they will hold the moisture that is created by the steam. In most instances, steam rooms are constructed with a ceiling that is slanted so moisture does not drip onto the people sitting below. As well, steam baths, showers, and rooms are typically finished with tile surfacing, which makes it easy to clean. This humid vapor heat has a temperature that can from 110 to 120 F.
Steam baths are effective at alleviating sore throats and breaking up congestion in the lungs and sinuses. They can also help alleviate some difficulty with breathing associated with respiratory conditions. One disadvantage of a steam room is that they are more prone to mold and bacteria growth because of the high humidity. Steam baths must be regularly cleaned and disinfected to prevent the growth of microorganisms.
Home steam baths or steam showers use a steam generator connected to a regular shower. The generator can be kept behind a hatch in a wall or in a cabinet and it will connect to external steam controls and the steamhead in the shower itself.
Saunas and steam baths both have therapeutic benefits that include: alleviating muscle tension, improving blood circulation, allowing one to relax and reduce stress, restoring and rejuvenating damaged skin, and relieving symptoms of colds, the flu, allergies and bronchitis. Which you choose is a matter of personal choice. Usually one can sit longer in a sauna as it is not as steamy, while others may prever the steam over heat. Whether you choose a sauna or steam bath, you will definitely love the experience and benefit from an improvement in your well being.