Benefits of sauna and steam room

1 Jul 2022

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a sauna and a steam room?

Sauna and steam room bathing are ancient practices that have been commonly accepted to promote good health and wellbeing for centuries. You may be wondering if one is better than the other, which is a very good question given that both provide an array of different benefits.

In this article, we dive deep into understanding these two practices and what makes them so good. Continue reading to learn more about the wondrous affects sauna and steam room bathing can have on your health and wellbeing.

More about sauna bathing

High heat exposure from a sauna can elicit a robust and positive health response in your body. The dry heat in a traditional sauna can reach temperatures of up to 70 – 90 °C and up to 45-70 °C in an infrared sauna. The higher the heat, the more positive stress is put on your body which triggers that positive health response.

Bathing in high temperatures causes your skin and body temperature to increase, and your body responds by sweating. Many people consider sweating a powerful detoxifying effect, although more research is needed to confirm this. The main benefits show that saunas support relaxation and cardiovascular health.

Other potential benefits sauna bathing can have include:

  • Increased endorphins which are 'feel good' chemicals in your brain
  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced stress, anxiety and depression
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Relaxed sore muscles after a workout
  • Improved cardiovascular health and immunity

At Habit Health, we use electrically heated saunas with stones that you can pour water over to increase humidity and temperature. We have them located in each of our fitness clubs in Wellington, so be sure to check them out next time you’re in for a workout.

Many people swear by sauna bathing for its many restorative benefits, though it may not be for everyone. In particular, sauna bathing may not be safe for people who have a history of fainting, heart attack, stroke or low blood pressure or for people who are currently pregnant. If you're unsure whether sauna use is safe for you, check in with your GP.

More about steam rooms

Bathing in a steam room is an ancient practice that dates back to ancient Greek and Roman times. In Europe, these are often referred to as Turkish baths, as they offer a similarly warm and humid space to relax.

Modern steam rooms are heated, enclosed spaces that generate steam, and are commonly used to aid recovery and relaxation after a workout. They are often kept a little cooler than traditional saunas, heated to around 40 – 50 °C. The steam room could be a better option for someone who finds traditional sauna heat a little too much. Some benefits steam rooms can offer include helping to improve skin health, relaxation and workout recovery.

Some other potential benefits to steam room bathing may include:

  • Improved heart health
  • Optimised post-workout recovery
  • Detoxing effects
  • Cleared congestion
  • Relieved stress
  • Improved sleep
  • Relief of pain and discomfort
  • Improved circulation

Our Majestic Health Club has a steam room alongside a 33-metre saltwater pool, spa and sauna. If you aren't a member, check out our membership options here.

There is still little research to validate the benefits listed above. That said, you may discover the positive effects steam room bathing can have by experiencing it and deciding for yourself.

We always recommend that if you have a history of fainting, heart attack, stroke, low blood pressure or anything else of concern, check in with your GP.

Steam room or sauna: Which is better?

Both sauna and steam room bathing offer an array of potential benefits that may suit your lifestyle. To answer the question as to which one is better, this may be entirely up to you in what you're looking to achieve with your health and wellbeing. More research is still required to validate many long-held beliefs, though, we are seeing a lot of exciting findings from studies about traditional sauna use as we speak. So we will definitely watch this space in future.

Learn more about Habit Health's Wellington based fitness clubs

If you haven't been to any of our fitness clubs before and would like to learn more, visit our personal fitness section here.

For any questions about our fitness clubs, memberships or other services, get in touch with our team here.