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Which is Better, Steam Sauna or Infrared?

From a general perspective, it may seem that steam saunas and infrared saunas are quite similar. But if you actually compare these two types of heat therapy units, you’ll find that they’re actually quite different. People will often ask, “Which is better steam sauna or infrared?” In order to try and answer that question, we’ve broken down these therapies into the various components to allow for better comparison.

What Is an Infrared Sauna?

Infrared saunas differ from traditional saunas by the fact that the body is heated by infrared light rays rather than ambient heat. These rays penetrate into the skin to a depth of about an inch and a half and cause the body to heat up from the inside. This allows infrared saunas to run at much lower temperatures than a traditional sauna. 

What Is A Steam Room?

A steam room heats the body from the outside with the use of high ambient air temperatures and humidity. Water is boiled to create steam which is forced into an airtight room to raise the temperature. Although steam rooms may not get much hotter than an infrared sauna, they may feel hotter because of the high humidity levels.

Benefits of Infrared Saunas

The lower humidity of infrared saunas compared to steam rooms leads to some differences in the type of health benefits the user might receive. The combination of the infrared rays penetrating deep into the body with the low humidity will cause your body to sweat much more than in a steam room. This can lead to increased blood circulation, elevated cellular metabolism levels, and weight loss. Infrared saunas are also typically better for those who have trouble breathing in extremely humid environments.

Benefits of Steam Rooms

The high humidity of a steam room can provide very specific benefits for certain users. Those who suffer from asthma, allergies or the symptoms of a cold may find it easier to breathe after using a steam room. The moisture-laden air can also be good for those who suffer from dry skin or other epidermal problems such as acne, rosacea or psoriasis. The drop in body temperature after exiting the steam room can help promote sleepiness.

Installation Considerations

Because infrared saunas do not require a lot of insulation or an airtight seal, they may be easier to transport and install in your home. Many infrared saunas are considered plug-and-play and can be up and running within a couple of hours. Steam rooms are also often available in do-it-yourself kits but may require more complicated plumbing and electrical specifications. The need for an airtight seal and the effects of high humidity levels may make a steam room somewhat more complicated to install and maintain.

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