Sauna Vs. Steam Room: Similarities, Differences + Which Is Best


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Heather Bien

The difference between a sauna and a steam room comes down to the type of heat that they provide, explains Safdar Naueen, MD, an internal medicine doctor at EHE Health. While a sauna is a dry heat, a steam room produces—as the name would suggest—a steamy, humid environment.

A sauna, with its dry heat at temperatures of 180 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, is ideal for relieving sore muscles1, increasing blood flow2, and promoting faster recovery3 after a tough workout. Saunas have long been an essential health tool in Scandanavian countries, and their benefits are starting to go global.

Meanwhile, a steam room is slightly cooler, closer to 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, with near 100% humidity, creating a heavy, moist feeling as soon as you walk in. Steam rooms, similar to saunas, also help with muscle soreness and recovery4.

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