Benefits of Using Steam Rooms and Saunas

Kendra Leroux, Editor

Since the beginning of the United States, health and hygiene has been an issue. This problem was amplified when the deadly COVID-19 virus broke out, affecting not only America but the entire world. Through quarantine, many people were extremely focused on keeping a healthy mind and body to stay safe. Saunas and steam rooms are a great way to keep sickness in check and help your body stay well through these difficult times. To understand all the benefits you can gain from a sauna and steam room, you first have to know what they are. 

There are about 20 types of saunas available to use, but we are going to focus on 3 of the major ones: infrared, wet, and dry heat. The goal is to recreate the body’s response to moderate exercise by profusely sweating and elevating heart rate. All of them have pros and cons, but it is best to learn about each one to find which fits you the best. 

  1. Infrared

Infrared saunas use light to create heat, so it heats your body without warming the air around. It helps produce more sweat at lower temperatures, allowing people to stay in for longer without getting as much heat exhaustion. The light penetrates skin, making toxins release helping with better sleep, relaxation, weight loss, sore muscle relief, clear and tighter skin, etc. As relaxation sets in, the healing begins, but continuing to be cautious is extremely important. When using the sauna, there is a risk of, “overheating, dehydrating, and interference with medication.”

  1.  Wet

This is very similar to a dry sauna, but to heat it up water is thrown on hot rocks to warm the air. The steam makes the sauna hot creating the temperature to sweat. This is not the same as a steam room since, “A steam room is one where steam is emitted into the room. A wet sauna uses a heating element which produces hot humid air by splashing water on the heating element.” Some benefits of using this type of sauna are, it eases pain, increases circulation, improves joint movement, improves circulation, etc. Sometimes there are strict rules about the hot rocks since they are electric heaters, and if used improperly, water can damage the system. Wet saunas can get too hot and humid, making it hard to stay in, creating an uncomfortable experience. With this sauna especially, breaks are recommended.

  1. Dry

This sauna uses dry heat from a heater in the box to produce warm air. The softer wood construction helps with heat conductivity which is what makes the body hotter. This is the more traditional type, and it is commonly used throughout the world.Dry saunas have low humidity, hence the name dry,” so it is less likely to make you overheat quickly. This type of sauna can help with improving cardiovascular health, skin issues, asthma, etc. Sometimes issues such as low blood pressure, light-headedness, muscle pain, and airway irritation can occur. 

Now that we know what saunas are and why they are so beneficial, we can talk about steam rooms. 

The name is exactly what it does, the room fills with steam to help people relax. Its main purpose is to open pores and cleanse the skin. It is recommended to stay in for less than 15 minutes to prevent overheating or exhaustion. The steam can help with workout recovery, lowering joint stiffness, clearing congestion, etc. Of course it does have it’s issues, be aware that, “Steam rooms can also host other people’s germs. The steam isn’t hot enough to kill some types of bacteria, and the warmth may even increase the number of bacteria. Steam rooms alone can’t treat serious conditions.” The difference between this and a sauna is one focuses more on sweating and increasing heart rate while the other is a fast relaxation and cleaning process geared more towards the skin.

Both are accessible in many different places. To find one, search up, “steam room near me”, or “the sauna near me” on Maps. My favorite places to go in the Santa Clarita area are Sweat Box Valencia for a sauna, and The Sweat Shack for a steam room. I highly recommend going to one and trying it out, to reap the benefits!