Often found at spas and work out facilities, saunas and steam rooms are used to provide therapeutic relief for a number of different health and body conditions.
Both of these rooms are enclosed structures and allow moist or dry heat to penetrate through.
Difference between sauna and steam room lies in their heat distribution and technique.
The heat distribution in a sauna is created when hot rocks are warmed by an electric or wood stove, producing dry heat.
The temperature ranges from 160 to 200 degrees in a sauna.
The humidity level varies from 5 to 30 percent.
A sauna is also made of wood paneling.
The wood paneling helps absorb moisture to keep the air dry.
A saunas temperature is much higher than a steam room, with variation between 150 and 190 degrees.
A steam room has a temperature range from 110 to 114 degrees.
The steam is pumped in through a generator that is filled with water and produces moist heat.
The humidity level in a steam room stays at 100 percent with the constant flow of water.
Steam rooms are also made of tiles or a similar surface that can get wet safely.
Tips for Sauna Use
- It’s important to talk to your doctor before using a sauna if you have a health condition that heat can affect, like high blood pressure.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before going into the sauna. Heat depletes your body of water and minerals, so water is the preventative medicine here.
- Shower before entering the sauna. When your skin is free of dirt and debris, your pores are free of debris and it will allow your body to breathe better. The cleaner your skin is, the better the benefit is.
- Don’t keep your jewelry on. Being in a sauna is hot. Even 15 minutes can cause jewelry to heat up to the point where it will burn your skin.
- Time yourself appropriately. All it takes is 15 minutes for a good sauna session to maximize its health benefits. If you take more than the recommended time, it can be dangerous to your health.
- Try to eliminate stress during your sauna time. The more relaxed you are, the better the health benefits. Some people even meditate during their sauna sessions.
- Cool down after your sauna session. Once your body is no longer sweating, take a cool shower to get your body temperature regulated.
Sauna Health Benefits
Naturally Enhances Detoxification
Modern society faces a problem with naturally sweating.
Not everyone lives as much of an active lifestyle as we once did, so it has become increasingly harder to get rid of toxins through sweat that has built up in our bodies.
Sweating is crucial for detoxification as the human body rids itself of waste products like heavy metals, residue from prescription drugs and other harmful substances.
Studies have shown that toxins from substances like heavy metals are released through sweat in higher concentrations than any other waste route in our bodies.
Sauna use increases our ability to sweat and has proven to rid of these toxins.
Sauna use promotes growth hormone levels significantly, increases insulin sensitivity and repairs damaged muscle cells.
When growth hormone levels increase, the breakdown of protein is decreased.
Because of this breakdown, the protein goes straight to the muscle.
An increase in insulin sensitivity causes skeletal muscles to absorb amino acids better.
This causes less nutrient content to store in fat cells, promoting muscle growth.
Heat shock proteins aid in the prevention and repair of muscle cells.
This leads to less muscle breakdown and restorative properties that promote muscle growth.
Sauna use has shown remarkable improvement to skin health by promoting anti-aging, improving hydration, and restoring pH levels.
The heat from the sauna causes your skin cells to become stressed.
This stress allows the skin cells to build antioxidant defenses that promote skin repair which gives your skin a healthier and younger appearance.
The heat from the sauna also causes sweating, which cleanses out the pores on the face.
This can remove any bacteria lingering on the surface.
Regular sauna use promotes the reduction of acne, pimples, and blackheads.
The hydration factor can also be helpful to anyone with skin conditions like psoriasis.
Heat shock proteins have anti-inflammatory properties.
Inflammation in the body has been linked to major conditions and diseases.
While useful in the body’s defenses to heal itself, too much inflammation causes the body to go awry.
In cases of chronic inflammation, c-reactive proteins are found at high levels.
Your liver releases these in response to inflammation in the body.
In studies, sauna use has shown a reduction in numbers of c-reactive proteins and reduces oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress destroys the relationship to the molecules (free radicals and antioxidants) that fight off infection in the body.
Sauna use promotes an improvement in depression.
There is a link between depression and higher body temperature.
Although sauna use can increase body temperature temporarily, brief segments can lower the body temperature and force regulation and inflammation.
This therapy causes a large release of endorphins (the body’s feel-good hormones)and makes the brain more resistant to changes due to stress.
In a sauna, the brain also releases a substance that causes some discomfort but regulates heat.
The body’s response is to release more endorphins to fight it.
This causes you to be more sensitive to endorphins, so your mood is more stable.
Increases Red Blood Cell Count
Sauna use increases the number of red blood cells in your body.
This increases the amount of oxygen going to every cell in the body and the muscles.
This is a great benefit for athletes and physical training because it can significantly improve energy levels, physical endurance, and brain function.
In a reaction to sweating, the amount of fluid in your blood vessels is increased.
The body responds to this by increasing the number of red blood cells to keep the vessels at optimal performance.