There is one in almost every commercial gym these days. They sit hidden in a corner and most of us just eyeball them and then move along. The question begs, which one works best, if at all?

Saunas and steam rooms have been used for hundreds of years by different cultures to feel good and improve general health. Just think of the big Roman baths where all the generals used to plot their next big victory during the great Roman era! So if you want to stay healthy, you need to sweat, it is an integral part of being human and functioning properly. They say that about 30% of our bodily wastes is eliminated through sweat. This is incentive enough to get sweating!

So let us look at the basic differences between the two. They are both basically “hot baths” but a sauna uses dry heat where a steam room uses moist heat. Saunas have a low humidity so they can run a lot hotter than a steam room, they run at about 80 – 100 degrees Celsius, don’t worry, it is perfectly safe, due to the dryness of the air. A steam room on the other hand runs at about 40 degrees Celsius, if it was any hotter, your skin would burn! Saunas are constructed out of wood with wood benches and steam rooms need to be constructed, it must be almost airtight and it has a slanting roof so that the moist that build up don’t drip on the users.

Ok, so now you know which is which, does one give you a better relaxing experience and is better for your health?

Here’s the thing, it is all about preference really. Do you like it hot and dry or do you like it hot and wet? Neither one really give you a better relaxing experience than the other.

Both of them are good for:

·         Improving blood circulation

·         It cleanses and rejuvenates your skin

·         Very good for easing muscle tension

·         It just gives you an all-out relaxing feeling and makes you feel generally good

·         It enhances the detoxification process

It is all about taste, but if you do suffer from respiratory problems and allergies, a steam room is generally a better choice since the wet air will help to clear your sinuses and airways. If you suffer from asthma, bronchitis or have a bad couching bout, it can be relieved by the hot, wet air in a steam room.

Saunas are generally better tolerated by those who feel the hot and wet air of a steam room is just too much but again, your choice. Both steam rooms and saunas get the thumbs up for overall health benefits but it is always good to consult with your physician before you venture into one. Enjoy the heat!