Saunas are well known for their relaxation and recovery properties. But, what exactly do they do, and how do they work?
Many people are also unaware of the fact that there is such a thing as a wet sauna and a dry sauna. In this article, we will be discussing the difference between the two, and how they work.
We will also discuss the benefits and risks of dry vs wet saunas, and give you a thorough explanation of the two so that you can decide which type of sauna is best for you.
The differences between dry and wet saunas.
|Dry Saunas||Wet Saunas|
|Moisture Production||A small amount||A large amount|
|Temperature||160 – 200 ºF||110 – 120 ºF|
|Method Of Heating||Rocks heated over a wood fire or an electric oven||Steam is pumped into an airtight room|
|Rate Of Heating||Heat up slowly||Heat up rapidly|
|Walls||Usually wood||Usually glass|
Traditionally, dry saunas create heat by warming stones over a wood fire and then splashing water over them.
Nowadays, electric ovens or infrared electromagnetic radiation are a common way to heat a dry sauna.
In a wet sauna, which is also known as a steam room, heat is created by pumping steam into an air-tight room with the use of an external steam generator.
The temperature in a wet sauna is different from that in a dry sauna. In a dry sauna, temperatures normally range anywhere from 160 ºF to 200 ºF, with the absolute maximum temperature being 212 ºF.
A wet sauna, on the other hand, ranges between 110 – 120 ºF. It is important to note that even though wet saunas are at a much lower temperature, wet heat feels a lot hotter than dry heat, as your body is not able to cool itself down sufficiently with wet heat.
Dry saunas are equipped with air vents that are built-in, as well as natural air vents from the wooden walls. This allows for the air to escape, making the room have a humidity percentage of 5 – 30%.
So, even though they are called “dry” saunas, there is still a bit of moisture and humidity that is found in the air.
Wet saunas, on the other hand, can fill the room with up to 100% humidity. Since wet saunas are normally air-tight, and steam is pumped into them, there is nowhere for the moisture to escape, which results in the room having 100% humidity.
Wet and dry saunas have mostly the same benefits. Due to the extra steam and humidity that is found in a wet sauna, they have a few more benefits and advantages over dry saunas.
There are various health benefits that both dry and wet saunas have.
A few of the most notable ones are improved circulation, enhanced sleep, muscle recovery, enhanced sporting abilities, lower blood pressure, lower stress levels, improved skin health, less congestion, improved mood, and a boost to your immune system.
As we mentioned, wet saunas have all the benefits that dry saunas do. But, wet saunas are a better bet if you have any respiratory conditions that you would like to attend to, such as asthma and allergies.
Wet saunas are also better for any skin conditions thanks to the moisture they provide.
There are not many risks that come with using wet and dry saunas. But it is important that you take note of them, even if some of them are unlikely to occur.
The biggest risk with both dry and wet saunas is dehydration. This is due to how much you sweat during your time in the sauna. But, it can easily be avoided by drinking plenty of water before and during your session.
A session in either sauna may lead to excessive thirst, another reason to bring water with you, and
Additionally, you should also avoid using saunas if you have any existing heart conditions, or if you are pregnant.
If you are looking for an effective way to relax, increase your overall well-being, enhance recovery, and rejuvenate skin, then either a dry sauna or a wet sauna would be perfect for the job.
While a wet sauna may have one or two more benefits than a dry sauna, both are very similar in the health benefits that they provide.
When deciding between the two, it mostly comes down to personal preference.
Below, we will be summarizing and comparing the two in order to help you decide which will be best for you.
As mentioned, dry saunas are heated by the use of a wood fire, electric oven, or infrared electromagnetic radiation.
Dry saunas have air vents, which means that the humidity in the room is only 5 – 30%. For some people, this is more bearable than the 100% humidity that a wet sauna has.
Some people find it very hard to breathe and quite uncomfortable when the humidity is so high, as it is in a wet sauna. So, if this is something that you struggle with, a dry sauna would be a better option for you.
As we mentioned above, there are various health benefits that come with using a dry sauna. Dry saunas are also great for athletic recovery, toxin removal, and improvements in energy levels and sleep.
Although there are risks that come with using a dry sauna, very few people suffer from them. It is important to be aware of them, though.
- Very little humidity
- Various health benefits
- Good for athletic recovery and performance
- Improves sleep and energy levels
- Great for skin health
- Health risks for certain groups of people
- Possible skin irritation or burns
- Risk of dehydration
Wet saunas, also know as steam saunas or steam rooms, have similar effects to what dry saunas do. Wet saunas are different in the way that they produce heat, and they also have a few more benefits than dry saunas do.
The one downside that some people might find to a wet sauna is its humidity. To create a wet sauna, hot steam is pumped into an air-tight room. With nowhere for the steam to escape, this bumps the humidity levels of the room up to 100%.
While this high humidity level comes with an array of health benefits, some people might find it very uncomfortable. Because of this humidity, steam rooms can become uncomfortably hot, even though they operate at temperatures cooler than dry saunas.
For this reason, it is important that the temperature of a wet sauna is carefully managed, and that you don’t spend excessive amounts of time in them.
Wet saunas do have a lot of health benefits, though. They have the exact same health benefits that we mentioned for dry saunas, but they are especially good for respiratory conditions and for your skin.
Great for respiratory conditions
Some people might find the humidity quite intense
Very good for your skin
Temperature needs to be carefully monitored
Amazing for muscle recovery
Promotes sleep and relaxation
Both have their benefits, but if you are looking to target a respiratory or skin condition, then a wet sauna might be a better option.
But, if there isn’t anything in particular that you want to target with a sauna, then it comes down to personal preference, and which type of sauna you prefer to be in.
This varies between people, but usually one should stay in a sauna for about 10 – 15 minutes.
Anything longer than this can start to become quite unpleasant and dangerous.
After being in a sauna, it is recommended that one takes a shower to remove any residue and close your pores. Additionally, you should drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration.