Sauna vs. Steam Room: Which is Better for Your Heart?

When it comes to unwinding and improving health, particularly heart health, both saunas and steam rooms offer significant benefits. The choice between the two often boils down to personal preference, but each has its unique advantages for cardiovascular health. Let’s dive into the scientific evidence to see which might be better for your heart.

Saunas and Heart Health

Saunas, especially Finnish-style saunas, involve sitting in a room heated to high temperatures with low humidity. This practice has been linked to a host of cardiovascular benefits. Research shows that regular sauna use can lead to improvements in endothelial function, which is the function of the inner lining of blood vessels, reduce arterial stiffness, lower blood pressure, and even decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. For instance, a study found that passive heat therapy improves endothelial function, arterial stiffness, and blood pressure in sedentary humans, highlighting its potential as a treatment option for improving cardiovascular health in various patient populations, especially those with limited exercise capabilities (Brunt et al., 2016).

Another comprehensive review of sauna bathing suggests that beyond pleasure and relaxation, sauna use is associated with reduced risk of vascular diseases, including high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, and neurocognitive diseases. These benefits are thought to be linked to the effects of sauna on circulatory, cardiovascular, and immune functions (Laukkanen, Laukkanen, & Kunutsor, 2018).

Steam Rooms and Heart Health

Steam rooms, which provide moist heat from steam, offer similar cardiovascular benefits. The high humidity in steam rooms can help improve circulation, lower blood pressure, and in some cases, have been shown to improve cardiovascular health. For example, a study on the effect of steam sauna baths on fasting blood glucose level in healthy adults indicates that steam sauna can increase insulin sensitivity, which is beneficial since insulin resistance is a risk factor for heart disease. Steam sauna has also been known to reduce insulin resistance in an obese, diabetic mouse model, suggesting its potential benefits for heart health (Shiralkar et al., 2018).

They are both awesome!

You may have your own preference. But according to our research they are both good for you!

Hot Tubs were not included in this study. However, they also offer many benefits.

“Embrace the heat, find your chill: Saunas and steam rooms, where every drop of sweat tells a story of relaxation and rejuvenation

The Rules of Sauna Etiquette

Enter and leave quickly and quietly. Heat flows to cold. It’s one of those fundamental laws of thermodynamics. That’s why it’s important to minimize how long you leave the door to the sauna open; you don’t want to let the hot air escape!

When you enter and exit a sauna, do so quickly. Don’t be the guy who opens the door all the way, steps halfway into the sauna, and then proceeds to have a conversation with his bud who’s still in the locker room while the sauna door hangs open.

Also, make sure you shut the sauna door all the way when you enter and exit. Sometimes you need to give a sauna door an extra tug to completely close it.

While you’re at it, be quiet as you come and go. Saunas are about relaxing. Don’t kill the vibe by making a ruckus when you enter and exit.

Respect the dress code (or lack-of-dress code). In Finland, people sauna in the buff. It’s part of the culture. Here in the North America, public nudity, even in saunas, isn’t normally a thing. Most public saunas in gyms will ask that you wear gym shorts or swim trunks while sauna-ing or at least wrap a towel around your waist. Respect the prevailing mores of your particular public sauna.

3. Use a towel. Whether you sauna in shorts or in the buff, bring a towel with you. Use the towel to sit or lie down on. It’s hygienic and will also put a comfortable buffer between your skin and the hot wood. You’ll also want a towel for sponging off your dripping sweat.

These are the basics… Want to see more… Click on this link: https://www.artofmanliness.com/featured/10-rules-of-sauna-etiquette/

In Summary

Both saunas and steam rooms offer considerable benefits for heart health, including improved endothelial function, reduced arterial stiffness, and lowered blood pressure. The choice between a sauna and a steam room may ultimately come down to personal preference and specific health considerations. However, for individuals seeking to improve their heart health, incorporating either into a regular wellness routine could be beneficial. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new health regimen, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.

For those with limited exercise capabilities or looking for additional ways to support cardiovascular health, the passive heat exposure provided by saunas and steam rooms may offer a promising, enjoyable, and relaxing complement to traditional lifestyle interventions for heart health.

In a world dominated by digital communication, slow living encourages us to foster meaningful connections with others. Spend quality time with loved ones, engage in face-to-face conversations, and create memories that go beyond the digital realm. Building strong, authentic relationships contributes to a sense of fulfillment and belonging.

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