Do saunas and steam rooms have the same health benefits?

For the thousands of people around the UK who are making use of saunas and steam rooms on a regular basis, one of the primary motivations is the perceived health benefits that come from using such a health facility. Whether you are using one weekly in a gym, or you have splashed out to purchase one of your own home sauna or steam room kits, this access to health benefits is a major draw. But what are the health benefits, and are they the same with each?

To answer the latter question first, no, they an anecdotally quite different. This is to do with the nature of how the heat is utilized in each setting and the way it interacts with your body.

In essence, the fact that steam is wet means it is better suited to help to clear your lungs after a cold (although it can cause yeast growth if not carefully cleaned) so there is a definite health boost on offer to being in a clean steam room.

When you’re using a sauna, it is a situation where you are making use of a much drier heat. This isn’t so effective for dealing with colds but it can help you to sweat out toxins and can also give benefits to the skin by clearing out pores.

It is worth noting, that the way this question is asked at times, it can often lead some folks to think of using the sauna or steam room as being an exercise for the body. It is worth noting that the use of a sauna or steam room should not be seen as a replacement for actual physical exercise in either situation.

Also, if you are ever considering exercising inside a sauna or steam room setting, this is NOT recommended unless you build up to the state of being able to fully tolerate exercise (such as cardio) in such environments. Exercising in high-level heat situations could result in suffering heat stroke or other bodily struggles.

In terms of other bodily effects, a person’s heart rate will accelerate and circulate more blood around the body in both of these health environments. As we have mentioned before, we should once again say that you should NOT attempt to do cardiovascular exercise in either of these heat levels. It’s far too hot and will cause needless strain to the body compared to exercising in conditions with more regular heat.

Whether you’re considering using a sauna at the gym or looking through
steam room kits that could fit at your home, you should know that they are similar in terms of what they can stimulate in the body, which to recap, are:

– increased heart rate

– increased body temperature

– peripheral vasodilation (which in regular terms, is a healthy workout for your blood vessels)

– additionally, steam may interact with your mucous membranes to clear your sinuses

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