Steam and Saunas: The Best Ways to Cool Down after a Workout

There are many ways to cool down after a workout. For ages the debate has been between the sauna and the steam room. The steam room has many incredible benefits an athlete can use to boost their performance and help aid in recovery. Both saunas and steam rooms invoke the therapeutic use of high heat to relax muscles and promote sweating. The most significant difference between the two is the type of heat. Saunas use dry heat generated from a stove or hot rocks to increase the room temperature to between 160 and 200 degrees. Steam rooms operate at lower temperatures, typically around 110 degrees, but keep humidity at 100 percent to maintain moist heat. Let’s break down some of the benefits of adding the steam room and the sauna to help you cool down after a tough work out.

Sauna or Steam?

First, let’s begin by talking a little bit about what a sauna is and how they work. Most saunas are constructed into wooden paneled rooms where inside temperatures reach 160 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Saunas use heated stones placed atop of an electric or wooden stove to radiate dry heat throughout the room. The humidity inside of a sauna are usually very low. They usually range between five and 30 percent humidity, depending on the amount of water one chooses to pour onto the rocks. This also the gives the user the option of a little bit of steam.


Saunas have so many benefits for a person looking to keep in tip top shape. For starters, sweating opens your pours and helps cleanse the skin of dirt and impurities. Saunas have also been shown to help muscles stimulation, lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve cardiovascular health. When using a sauna, its best to keep an eye on the clock. Time spent inside should be limited to about 15-20 minutes’ max. Because of extreme heat, you run the risk dehydration and possible burns.

Steam Room

Steam Rooms on the other hand, are slightly different. They’re generally constructed with glass or tile panels so all of the moisture doesn’t soak into any material like it would with wood or plastics. Temperatures inside a steam room range from 100 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit, which is accomplished by pumping steam from a water-filled steam generator into a small spout located near the floor. Due to the water vapor, the humidity level in a steam room is kept at a constant 100 percent.

A lot like the sauna, the steam room opens your pores and cleanses the skin but it also has a number of benefits unique to itself. Steam rooms produce very moist heat, your skin flushes out toxins easier and leaves you with a soft, smooth, rejuvenated feeling on your skin. Steam rooms are also great for clearing any sinus related issues, as well as head and chest congestion.


Time is key when using either one of these methods for cooling down. Staying in too long can cause dizziness, vertigo, increased heart rate, and dehydration. You also need to stay far away from the steam spout. Depending on how close you get to it, the burns can be extremely bad, so be sure to use caution and due diligence when using these methods to cool down.


This article was written by Nina Wells from Steam Shower Store. Nina has been writing articles for over 10 years and is a commanding voice in the health and fitness community with her articles high in demand.

Nick McPherson
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