What Is the Difference Between Steam Rooms and Sauna’s?

I think we can all agree there is nothing more rewarding than going to the closest spa on a weekend (or weekday, I don’t judge –I’ve been there), and letting all your worries melt away in a sauna. The Scandinavian’s have sworn of the benefits of saunas for years—and rightfully so. The Greeks and Romans harnessed it’s benefits since ancient times. Truthfully, I there are many health perks for your body saunas actually provide. As if I needed another excuse to go to the spa more! And if you’re anything like me, you’ll be sure to recite these benefits to the next person who questions why you’ve booked a yearly membership to your local spa and or a regular getaway visits to a geothermal one.

You’re probably sitting here thinking “hey, didn’t I just read about this the other week? Aren’t saunas the same as steam rooms?” Well, you’d be surprised to know that while some of the benefits remain the same, saunas differ in their functionality, as well as the benefits they provide. One of the most notable differences between saunas and steam rooms, is that unlike steam rooms saunas use a dry heat with extremely low humidity and are usually heated by “wood, gas, electric, or infrared technology.” Steam rooms on the other hand, utilize humidity, and are typically not a hot as saunas.

The Benefits of Sauna

Strengthen Your Immune System

Those who use saunas regularly stay healthier and heal quicker when illnesses occur. How you might ask? Well, saunas are known to increase your body’s whites blood cell count. For those of you who don’t know this already, white blood cells are your body’s way of fighting off infections and diseases. Think of them as your body’s first line of defense—the more you have, the better chance of protecting your body and fighting of unwanted toxins that may cause you harm. Additionally through sweat you getting rid of toxins from your body at an accelerated rate.

Taken the UK wet and windy climate, I love a sauna especially in the winter months. Sauna will not only shake off the dreaded cold and get you back on your fit quicker, studies suggest that going to the sauna in a winter months helps us to keep our skin well moist. You may ask, sauna? Are you sure, it’s dries you out! Well, the skin loses a lot of moisture in the winter as the temperatures outside change and are unstable and a few sessions in the sauna stable air reconstructs and moistures skin to its lost glory.

Chronic Pain Remedy

Did you know that celebrities with chronic illness, like the one and only Lady Gaga swear by this? One of the most common features in chronic illnesses, the increased inflammation throughout the body –causing tiredness and serious pain. However, Scientists believe that saunas “reduce the inflammation levels in the blood,” providing temporary relief. A study in 2009 also found that saunas aid the body in reducing stiffness of the muscles in as little as a four week period.

If you have joint pain such as althritis sauna is the place you want to pay a visit regularly. Sauna increases your blood circulation therefore can reduces pain in your joints.

Improve Your Mental Health

As you should have guessed, like steam rooms, saunas help improve your body’s circulation system –including the flow of blood to your brain. Regular use of a sauna has been found to improve your sleep and your mood, whilst reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression. A tip that I like to use while I am in a sauna session is to meditate. Clearing your thoughts for 20 minutes can help align your body and mind—ultimately increasing your relaxation.

Tips for Boosting Your Sauna Experience  

Dry Brushing

For five minutes before your session, take your dry brush and massage your skin in an upwards motion towards your heart. Like I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, start at your legs and move up towards your stomach, then arms. This will promote increased blood circulation throughout your body, as well as prep your skin for the detoxification process ahead. Trust me, your skin will love you afterwards!

Hydrate

You should all know this by now –hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Health specialists emphasize the importance of staying hydrated throughout your session for “safety and session optimization. Proper hydration allows your body’s processes to work efficiently.” You can even enhance your water with minerals and electrolytes to replenish your body whilst it sweats out the toxins during your time in the sauna as well.

Shower Before and After

After you’ve dry brushed, hit the shower to open up your pores before-hand. This will allow your body to open up its pores before you’ve reached the sauna, to allow the detoxification processes to occur quicker, maximizing your sauna experience. Once you’ve finished your sauna session, it’s important to take a cool shower to stop your body from sweating, and re-close your pores to avoid any reabsorption of toxins you just spent time expelling from your body. I suggest that you also moisturize your skin with either a lotion or oil to replenish your body’s skin barrier. Your body will be glowing, trust me!

Are There Risks to Saunas?

Similarly, to steam rooms  saunas are likely to cause dizziness, so make sure you drink lots of water beforehand and afterwards. It is extremely important to listen to your body during your time in the sauna. It is recommended that you spend between 20 to 30 minutes per session. However, if you begin to experience light-headedness, or any other discomfort, remove yourself safely from the room and seek medical attention. Ultimately the safest method to sauna use is to consult with your doctor beforehand if you have any underlying medical conditions. It’s important to know the risk ahead of time, to avoid any negative side-effects. 

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