The terms ‘steam shower’ and ‘sauna’ are often used interchangeably, but they are in fact two different things. True, they both work with a similar concept (in that they use heat to provide the body with heat) – but they differ in many ways. Before you decide to install either a sauna or steam shower, you should understand how they are similar and how they are different; picking the right one is detrimental to having a better and healthier life. Ever wonder what the differences between the two are? Here are the basics on saunas and steam showers: which one is best for you?
Let’s start with the similarities
True, whilst they are different, they do have some things in common. In both cases, the essence (from which flow the many benefits) is heat. In both cases, blood circulation is improved, your skin pores open, and muscles tend to relax. However, that’s where the similarities end – they are two different kinds of the application of heat, and this requires different installations and gives you different advantages.
The main difference
There are two kinds of heat – the moist and the dry kind. The principle in the sauna is that you are surrounded by high dry heat (between 160 and 200 degrees F, or about 71 to 93C, with a low humidity level of anywhere between 10 and 20%). The steam shower, in contrast, has a much lower heat (about 105-115F, or about 40-45C), with a humidity level of 100%. It’s for this reason that steam showers are often referred to as wet saunas.
The heat source
With the sauna, the heat source is inside the enclosure; with the steam shower the steam generator is outside of the room, and the steam is brought in through plumbing.
There is a big temperature difference – as stated previously – but there is a need of caution in both cases: you will sweat, so make sure you hydrate and drink plenty of water.
The advantages of the steam shower
The steam shower offers the same advantages as the sauna, but there’s more:
- It clears the airways (great for sufferers of colds, asthma, or other pulmonary diseases)
- It results in better skin treatment
- It makes for easier bathing and relaxation
In the end, it’s all a matter of personal choice – it basically comes down to whether you prefer the low heat and high moisture environment (steam shower), or whether you prefer the high heat and low moisture option (sauna). Bear in mind that, whichever choice you go with, you should always make sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, both before and after the session.
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