Key Takeaways -

  • Steam rooms and saunas are two different types of heated, enclosed areas which have various health benefits.
  • Steam rooms are usually filled with moist air, and the temperature can reach up to 120°F. On the other hand, saunas use hot, dry air and typically reach temperatures of around 180 - 200°F.
  • While both of these treatments can help to reduce stress and improve circulation, steam room treatments are more suitable for those with asthma, allergies or other respiratory problems.

Are you looking for a way to relax, detoxify and improve your overall health? If so, you may have heard of steam rooms or saunas. But what’s the difference between the two?

Well, while they both provide many of the same benefits, such as relaxation and improved circulation, there are some key differences between them that you should be aware of before deciding which is right for you.

In this article, we’ll explore those differences in detail so that you can make an informed decision about which one will best suit your needs.

Steam Room Vs A Sauna - What's The Differenc

What Is A Sauna?

A sauna is a heated, enclosed room that typically has WOODEN walls and benches. The dry heat generated from the sauna can range from mild to very hot, depending on the type of sauna you’re using. The typical temperature in a traditional Finnish-style sauna is around 176°F (80°C) [1].

An electric heater, wood stove, or water can be sprinkled on hot rocks, which heats a sauna. The hot air inside the sauna helps to RELAX your muscles and improve circulation as well as cardiovascular health.

You may also experience some SWEATING as your body gets used to the high temperatures. The heat and humidity can help you to relax, unclog pores, and burn calories.

What Is A Steam Room?

A steam room session is similar to a sauna in that it is a heated ENCLOSED room. However, the temperature inside the steam room is usually lower than in a sauna, typically ranging from 110°F (43°C) to 115°F (46°C) [2].

The moist heat in a steam room comes from hot water vapor rather than dry air. You may also find that the HUMIDITY level in a steam room is much higher than in a sauna, as the hot water vapor helps to maintain the moisture inside.

Types of Saunas

There are several TYPES of saunas, including traditional Finnish-style saunas, infrared saunas and steam rooms. Let's take a look at the differences between them.

Traditional Saunas

Traditional Finnish-style saunas are the most COMMON type of sauna. They typically use a wood stove or electric heater to produce heat and can reach temperatures of up to 176°F (80°C).

Pro Tip: When using a traditional Finnish-style sauna, it’s important to pay attention to the temperature and humidity levels in order to ensure that you don't overheat.

Infrared Saunas

Infrared saunas use infrared light to produce heat. The temperature of an infrared sauna is typically LOWER than that of a traditional Finnish-style sauna, ranging from about 120°F (49°C) to 140°F (60°C).

Types of Steam Rooms

There are two MAIN types of steam rooms: wet and dry. Let's take a look at the differences between them.

Wet Steam Room

Wet steam rooms are usually LARGER than dry steam rooms and use a large amount of hot water to generate the vapor that fills the room. The temperatures in wet steam rooms typically range from 110°F (43°C) to 115°F (46°C).

Pro Tip: Wet steam rooms are better suited for those with asthma, allergies or other respiratory issues, as the moist air helps to relieve congestion [3].

Dry Steam Room

Dry steam rooms use a SMALLER amount of hot water and typically have lower temperatures, ranging from 95°F (35°C) to 105°F (41°C).

Benefits of Saunas

Saunas have been used for centuries for their therapeutic and health benefits. They help PROMOTE relaxation, reduce stress, improve skin health and increase circulation.

Regular use of a sauna can also help to DETOXIFY the body, flush toxins from the system, reduce symptoms of joint pain and muscular soreness, and even aid in weight loss. Additionally, saunas can help improve the overall quality of sleep by relaxing the body and mind.

Steam Room Benefits

For centuries, steam rooms have been used to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels due to their healing properties. Just like saunas, with many health BENEFITS, they help people relax and alleviate tension in the body.

Using a steam bath can also IMPROVE circulation, relieve joint pain and muscular soreness, flush toxins from the body and even aid in weight loss.

Additionally, steam rooms can help CLEANSE the skin by opening pores and removing dirt, oil and dead skin cells. Steam rooms are also known to improve the quality of sleep by helping to relax both body and mind.

Safety Considerations for Saunas and Steam Rooms

It is important to take SAFETY precautions when using saunas and steam rooms, as both can be dangerous if used improperly.

Stay Hydrated

When using a sauna or steam room, it is important to stay HYDRATED and avoid staying in the room for too long. This can lead to dehydration and other health complications.

Pro Tip: Bring a bottle of water into the sauna or steam room with you and sip on it throughout your session.

Be Careful With The Temperature

When using a sauna or steam room, it is important to be mindful of the temperature and humidity level in order to AVOID overheating. If the temperature becomes too hot, leave the room immediately to avoid becoming dizzy or nauseous.

Medical Conditions

It is also important not to use either type of heat room if you have a pre-existing medical condition, as it can be DANGEROUS to your health.

Such as, if you are pregnant [4], have high blood pressure, have heart problems or any other medical condition, consult your healthcare provider before using a sauna or steam room.


So how does a sauna compare to a steam room? Saunas are typically hotter and drier, while a traditional steam room is usually cooler and more humid. Both saunas and steam rooms can offer a variety of health benefits, but it is important to consider safety considerations before using either one.

Both forms of heat therapy can help improve circulation, reduce stress levels, relieve joint pain and muscle soreness and aid in weight loss. Ultimately, the choice between a sauna and a steam room is up to personal preference.

Whichever one you choose, drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and start off with shorter sessions until your body adjusts to the high temperatures.

Sources -

  1. This is how to enjoy Finnish sauna like a local. Published 2022. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  2. Hussain J, Cohen M. Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2018;2018:1-30. doi:
  3. Health Benefits of Steam Rooms. WebMD. Published April 29, 2021. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  4. NHS Choices. Is it safe to use a sauna or jacuzzi if I’m pregnant? Published 2023. Accessed February 6, 2023.