Health benefits of steam bathing

The positive effects of steam bathing have been known for many years. There are excellent healing attributes of both saunas and steam baths, but the steam bath is especially good for respiratory troubles like bronchitis, asthma, and allergies.

The steam bath is also useful for cleaning and toning the skin surface. The increased volume of sweat that is induced by the steam bath and sauna leaves the skin soft and supple while the bathers are left feeling re-energized and recharged.

Steam Baths – Special Benefits

Steam baths are excellent for respiratory ailments since steam can remove allergens and mucus from the lungs. Doctors often advise patients breathe steam for various respiratory problems. The steam bath allows the user to inhale a larger concentration of steam than by using a vaporizer.

Steam has a soothing quality for the breathing passages since it raises the moisture level in the lungs, throat and nose. People that suffer from the problems of asthma or the common cold will find they feel much better after indulging in a steam bath.

Skin Benefits

A good sweat is great for healthy skin. Dermatologists understand the benefits of steam to create a beautiful, healthy glow. Serious sweating washes the skin better than soap and water since it unlocks the pores and lets deep-seated grime along with dead cells to be washed out. Also a steam bath increases the blood circulation to the skin contributing to a healthy, glowing manifestation, you will glisten!

Pain Relief Benefits

Heat is a useful tool for management of muscular pain. Taking a steam bath after a substantial bodily workout is an excellent method of speeding up the healing progression of hurt tissues and muscles. Heat allows the blood vessels to enlarge which boosts the blood circulation, letting increased oxygen to arrive at injured parts of the body. This has the twofold effect of pain reduction and improving the healing speed.

Relaxation Benefits

Life is filled with daily stresses, and these stresses build up over time and can lead to high blood pressure and hypertension. A sauna bath can help you unwind and relieve daily stress. The heat of the sauna allows the muscles to loosen up, and the steam makes available a comforting atmosphere for calming the mind.

You will discover that a steam bath ahead of bedtime is an excellent method of promoting a deep restful sleep.

Health benefits of infrared saunas

The long wave infrared occurs just below “infra” to red light as the next lowest energy band. This level of light is not visible to the human eye, but we can feel this type of light as heat.

The long wave infrared occurs just below “infra” to red light as the next lowest energy band. This level of light is not visible to the human eye, but we can feel this type of light as heat.

The earth radiates rays in the 7 to 14 micron range with its peak output at 10 microns. The Infra-Core sauna heating ceramic emitters, which are 96% radiant efficient, have a majority of output from 5.6 to 25 microns. This output is evenly spread around the 9.3 micron pivot point of maximum human output. The energy output from the infrared sauna matches so closely to the human body’s radiant energy, that our bodies take in close to 93% of the infrared waves that reach our skin. The Infrared Radiant sauna has been greatly used in treating people who suffer from toxic load. These patients are very high in toxic loads, and the detoxification pathways in their bodies suffer.

When one is able to reduce the toxins and heavy metals, their symptoms most often greatly improve. Many people unknowingly suffer from mercury poisoning, and other heavy metals such as lead and aluminum. The infrared sauna raises the core temperature which accelerates the removal of these toxins and also improves a number of areas in the immune system. Infrared helps purify our cells, especially the cells in our fat where our bodies store waste and harmful toxins, such as cholesterol and heavy metals. There are three main sections of the electromagnetic spectrum divided by wavelengths, measured in microns: 0.076 to 1.5 microns = close/near, 1.5 to 5.6= center/intermediate, 5.6 to 1000 = long wave/far infrared.

Frequently asked questions about saunas

Experience extraordinary health benefits when you have an Infra-Core Far Infrared Sauna in your own home or clinic.

The long wave infrared occurs just below “infra” to red light as the next lowest energy band. This level of light is not visible to the human eye, but we can feel this type of light as heat.

How long can you stay in a sauna?

While a sauna can be a fun and relaxing pass time, they can be dangerous to your health under certain conditions. This is because saunas can cause hyperthermia, a condition where the bodies temperature rises beyond where it is supposed to. The likelihood of have a health problem in a sauna depends on the temperature, how long you stay in, and if you have any health problems. Only your doctor who will know your health conditions (if any) can tell you how long you can stay in. In general, you should use common sense. If something doesn’t feel right while you in the sauna, you should get out.

Which is better Sauna or Steam?

On One Hand: Steam Benefits Upper Respiratory Illness Steam rooms, like saunas, are reported to promote health through heat-induced perspiration. While each claim similar health benefits, such as improving arthritis symptoms, detoxification and enhancing circulation, steam offers added advantages. According to the Merck Medical Library, steam inhalation minimizes irritated airways and frees mucus secretions–a bonus for those afflicted with sinus or upper respiratory illnesses.

On the Other: Saunas Offer Low Humidity and Boost Detoxification Saunas operate with significantly higher temperatures, accounting for enhanced detoxification and removal of xenobiotics, which are stored chemical waste compounds in the body. The Environmental Medicine Center of Excellence states, “Saunas can be used very effectively for certain cardiovascular problems and as a means to enhance the mobilization of fat-soluble xenobiotics.” Due to low humidity, saunas may be better tolerated and pleasurable to some individuals than steam rooms.

Bottom Line: Studies suggest saunas and steam rooms have therapeutic benefits. Personal preference, along with a health care provider’s guidance, may determine which is best for the individual. Always use steam rooms and saunas as directed according to manufacturer’s safety procedures.

Do you burn calories in a sauna?

Yes you do burn extra calories while sitting in a sauna and you’ll also experience a perceived weight loss. Your body is constantly burning calories every minute of every day to sustain vital bodily functions such as blood circulation, respiration, brain function, and temperature regulation.

Saunas cause an elevation in your body temperature and as a result the rate at which you burn calories can slightly increase because your body must work harder to keep itself cool. Your body combats these high temperatures with profuse sweating, which results in the loss of water weight. However, the water weight lost is only temporary and is restored as soon as you rehydrate. Moreover, saunas come with many dangers, including possible dehydration, heat stroke, and can alter your blood pressure.

Long-term effective weight loss requires lifestyle modification combining physical activity and a healthy low-calorie diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.

How hot is too hot for a Sauna?

A Canadian team published a study – on the rise of core body temperatures in women in a 180°F (80°C) sauna, specifically looking for body temperature rises above that which could be hazardous to the fetus of a pregnant woman. They found unlike in a hot tub, all women left voluntarily before their core temperature rose to a potentially hazardous level. Some stayed as long as 25 minutes.

A German study – found positive effects for a sample of patients with high blood pressure. For this they used a relatively low temperature sauna at 115-140°F (46-60°C), but with 55% humidity. He emphasizes that it is important that at-risk populations also cool down gently after the sauna, and not jump into an ice-cold pool.

A Japanese study – looked at the benefits of a sauna on the treatment of lifestyle diseases. They found that a 140°F (60°C) sauna was effective in restoring people with lifestyle diseases to healthy weights.

The CSA and UL safety requirements is that all sauna bathers must have access to the controls, and that the maximum time and temperature of the sauna control be 60 minutes and 190F (90C). This is also stated by the electrical codes.

Steam bathing – What it’s all about?

Build a steam bath in almost any bathroom with our innovative steam generator technology.

Steam baths have been a popular way of bathing for thousands of years. They were known to the ancient Greeks and have long steam bathing traditions in both Turkey and Russia.  Today, steam baths can be found in most spas and gyms. They are also becoming increasingly popular for home installation. Thanks to recent developments in steam generator technology steam baths can be installed in almost any residential bathroom.

We often hear the terms steam bath, steam shower and steam sauna. Do they mean the same thing?

Strictly speaking, a steam bath is an enclosure which is kept at about 45°C. It is fed with a steam generator which produces thick clouds of mist. The room has to be fairly well sealed to prevent the steam from escaping and also to prevent moisture damage to the surrounding structure.

A steam shower is basically the same as a steam bath but on a smaller scale. It is usually big enough for one or two people and can be installed in a standard shower stall. Steam showers are often used for residential steam baths.

A steam bath is sometimes called a steam sauna but a sauna is actually a different type of bath.

A Finnish sauna produces a dry heat and is much hotter than a steam bath. Saunas are usually heated between 70°C and 100°C.

Steam is produced in a sauna by pouring water over hot rocks, but usually the air is quite dry — around 20% humidity as compared to 100% humidity in a steam bath.

Many people would like to have a steam shower installed in their house but are concerned about the build-up of humidity. If you have a fairly modern bathroom with an enclosed shower stall, you can easily install a steam shower without any concerns about excess humidity.

The steam shower has to be an enclosed unit to contain the moisture and to allow it to drain off. If you don’t have an enclosed shower stall or bathtub, existing bathtubs can be modified to accommodate a steam shower. If you have a large bathroom, the other alternative is to install a separate steam shower.

The steam generator does not have to be in the bathroom. It can be installed up to 40 feet away from the steam shower. The generator needs an adequate electrical connection, and some models also need to be connected to a drain.

The steam generator is connected to a steam head which is installed in the steam bath itself. Some steam heads have built in controls while others are controlled with an external unit.

It is more convenient to have the control inside the steam bath itself so that you can make adjustments as needed.

Since steam baths are so relaxing you will likely spend more time there than in a normal shower.

This means you should also install some kind of seating arrangement. The steam heads should be installed away from the seating area so that the possibility of being scalded with the hot steam is reduced.

All of this installation work requires specialized plumbing and electrical skills.

Difference between Saunas & Steam Baths

There is sometimes confusion between the terms ‘steam bath’ and ‘sauna.’  Many people think they refer to the same thing.

There is sometimes confusion between the terms ‘steam bath’ and ‘sauna.’  Many people think they refer to the same thing. Not so. Even though they both are hot baths, one uses dry heat while the other uses moist heat.

Health benefits include losing weight, cleansing the body of toxins, lowering cholesterol, relieving the symptoms of arthritis and treating respiratory problems like bronchitis and laryngitis. However, while both offer many health benefits there are some differences.

  • Saunas have low humidity. This means it can be much hotter than a steam bath. Saunas are usually between 80°C and 100°C while a steam bath is usually 40°C. If the steam bath was any hotter, it could scald the skin, but the dry heat of the sauna is safe.
  • Saunas are heated with stones placed on a heater — usually electric or wood-burning. From time to time, water is poured on the stones to produce a thick cloud of steam. This has the effect of raising the temperature in the sauna by several degrees.
  • A steam bath on is heated by a steam generator. The steam is fed into the almost airtight room where it builds up to create humidity level of around 100%.
  • The different type of heat determines the type of materials that each can be made of. Saunas are usually wood-lined and have wooden benches to sit on. They are insulated to retain the heat but there is no concern about moisture damage to the outside structure.
  • Steam baths need to be made to contain the moisture created by the steam. They are usually finished in ceramic tile and the ceiling must be slanted so that the steam buildup does not drip from the ceiling onto the bathers.

Advantages / Disadvantages

Both Saunas and Steam Baths have therapeutic benefits. They are good for blood circulation and can cleanse and rejuvenate the skin through heavy perspiration. They are good for easing muscle tension and promoting feelings of relaxation and well-being.

Some people find the dry heat of the sauna to be uncomfortable to breathe. Those with respiratory problems like sinus congestion and asthma may prefer the moist heat of the steam bath. Steam inhalation is often used for treating bronchitis, sinusitis and allergies so people with these conditions may benefit from steam baths.

If you are thinking of installing either in your home, there are several considerations to keep in mind. Generally speaking, saunas are easier to build and require less material and labor than a steam bath. You can buy self-enclosed steam baths, however, which can be easily installed in any bathroom. These cut down on construction and installation costs.

Both types of bath can be installed in a small space. Pre-built saunas can be placed in a bedroom or basement and can be put together in less than half an hour. Steam bath enclosures are usually installed in a bathroom and require the services of a plumber to connect the steam generator.

If you plan on converting an existing bathroom into a steam bath, all the walls and ceilings of the bathroom must be finished with a material like ceramic tile to prevent moisture from escaping. The room has to be airtight with only a small opening at the bottom of the door to allow a fresh air intake.


Both saunas and steam baths require relatively little maintenance. The steam bath simply needs to be washed with a ceramic tile cleaner once a week or so, and the sauna can be vacuumed or swept out occasionally. The natural wood of the sauna can become stained after a while, but the stains can be removed with light sanding or by washing the wood with an acidic solution.

5 benefits of saunas & steam rooms

Throughout history they have been used to improve a person’s health and wellbeing. Here are some of the benefits.

Saunas and steam rooms offer fitness benefits. Throughout history they have been used to improve a person’s health and wellbeing. However, what exactly are the benefits of saunas and steam rooms?

  1. They cleanse the skin. The heat opens the pores allowing all the dirt and grease to come out. Sweating also helps flush out any toxins and the increased blood flow promotes the healing of any skin cuts, sun burn etc. This makes saunas great as part of a detoxing program.
  2. It decreases your chances of catching cold and flu as your increased body temperature tricks it into thinking you have a fever which in turn stimulates your internal organs, especially the immune system.
  3. The heart rate increases from the temperature of a sauna or steam room which can be the equivalent of doing physical activity like taking a brisk walk. They can also help with weight loss as you can burn several hundred calories per session. However, they are not replacements for actual physical activity. Combine it with a healthy regime for the full benefit.
  4. Steam rooms in particular are great for respiratory problems. The steam and warm air loosens all that nasty mucous from the lungs and throat, as well as relieving any inflammation and swelling.
  5. They can be very good for relaxing after a hard day at work, and loosening muscles after physical exercise. This makes them ideal for reducing stress and recharging the body.

Is a steamroom right for you?

Transform any bathroom into a gorgeous sanctuary with added market value to your home.

With the right planning and application methods a modern steam room can transform any bathroom into a gorgeous sanctuary with added market value to your home.  Some designers may argue that a home sauna can only do this if the initial plan for the project outlining the construction of a fashionable steam room is extravagant or you need lots of extra space in your bathroom. While initial planning does facilitate the scope and outline of a stylish steam room, it is still possible to transform an ordinary bathroom into a modern steam room that is trendy and full of character.   However, while the idea of having a modern steam room might be tempting, there are some key considerations to avoid a “steamy” headache along the way.

Get the right materials for your steam bath

If you are transforming your old bathroom into a modern steamroom then it of utmost importance that you change the rooms surface materials. A modern steam room does not function in the same way as a traditional bathroom and as such special modern steam sauna shower building materials are needed. You will have to ensure that the walls and floors are impervious to moisture and that the material that you use does not dilate due to the heat and steam that builds up in your modern steam room. As such, you will find that silicone and other waterproof products are used in many luxury steam showers to accommodate the new shower design. If you plan to use wood then you will have to ensure that it is treated to avoid water penetration. However, ceramic, porcelain and glass tiles are usually the preferred materials of most homeowners that want the latest steam room design.

Get drains in your home sauna room

Drains should be included in your modern steam room to guide the water outside of the room to areas where it can be disposed of or re-used. If you do not have drains then you will find that the steam in your bathroom will produce a lot of water that does not have an exit point. The drains should be placed in areas that are slopped to facilitate water entry and exit. In addition to this, they should be big enough to accommodate the flow of the water without causing any overflow in the process.

Create slopes in your modern steam shower room

Both the roof and the floor of your modern steam room should have slopes to ensure that the water is properly directed to exit points and that it does not remain in the room. The same applies for benches and any other area that water is likely to settle on.

Respect size of room and height when building a steam bath for health and beauty

If you have a large steam shower then you must respect the size of the generator to get the best service. The larger the room the larger the generator you will need and consequently the more you will have to pay to ensure your modern steam room works perfectly. The size and height of your room will dictate the type of generator that you will need to install in your modern steam room and not the other way around.

Consider portable steam sauna- If you are on a budget and do not want to have the headache of calling a plumber to set up a modern steam shower room then you can always consider a portable steam sauna as an alternative. A portable steam sauna is perfect for small spaces or for those that are just considering a temporary modern steam room due to health reasons.

Choosing the right wood for your sauna

Saunacore only uses the highest quality kiln dried wood from Canadian mills.

Wood selection is very important. A sauna is heat generating product, and with a great fluctuation of room temperature and in some cases, depending on type of sauna, there is a dry to humid moisture content repeatedly. Keep in mind when constructing a sauna, non-toxic glues and varnishes, stains, preserves, or sealers should not be used. Saunas are constructed of three main types of wood. Very rare use of basswood or pine is used for sauna construction.

All Saunacore saunas are constructed with non sealed, non varnished, non-toxic clues.

Saunacore only uses the highest quality kiln dried wood from Canadian mills.


Western Red Cedar is renowned for its high impermeability to liquids and its natural phenol preservative. It is ideally suited for exterior and interior use where humidity is high. Cedar’s natural oils are the reason it is decay-resistant and rich in colour. Top grade 11/16” thick cedar Kiln dried.

This type of wood is rich in color, and most durable when it comes to a high moisture sauna, a traditional sauna. This sauna used in CHINA made saunas is usually up to 8mm (5/16” thick). Saunacore uses 11/16” thick cedar. Much more durable, less chance of warping.


In its unique way, Hem-Fir is a perfect combination of strength and extraordinary beauty and is quite literally one of the most handsome, elegant and versatile softwood species combinations on the market today. Hem-Fir lumber is light and bright in colour, varying from a creamy, nearly-white to a light, straw-brown colour. It can be as light or lighter in colour than some of the Western pines and is often considered, by those seeking a strong wood with a very light colour, as the most desirable of the Western softwoods. This wood is in most cases used in construction of CHINA made saunas. Much more economical wood over poplar and cedar, and usually very thin. Made in CHINA saunas the this wood is usually 8mm (5/16” thick).


Poplar trees are known to grow taller than any other U.S. hardwood species. It is found alone in open, rich, moist soil. Because of its fast maturity, the lumber from poplar is lightweight and soft for a hardwood. It is strong, durable and seasons well resisting warping once it is dried and has no knots. Saunacore constructs sauna with this type of wood for people that suffer from allergic reactions from the natural oils in cedar wood. This type of wood used is up to ¾” thick.

Saunacore Canadian built sauna wood is kiln-dried up to 10% less moisture content in their cedar and poplar wood. Air dried wood is not as curing, and an older method of wood drying. The wood moisture content is much higher than 10% which has a much greater chance of the wood to warp or crack.

ALL Saunacore wood is clear select grade kiln dried western red cedar or American poplar wood. All pre-sanded from the finest Canadian mills in Canada. Select grade means selected boards for premium quality. Saunacore wood is the thickest, and outmost highest quality in the industry. No knots, no veins, just premium beautiful, durable, long lasting wood. Compare, our saunas weight almost double the weight of our competition.

Best practices in taking a sauna or steam

Key considerations in getting the most out of your sauna or spa.

  1. Allow sauna/steam bath to heat up accordingly. Be prepared to spend time to enjoy and relax, with no set length of time.
  2. Always wait minimum of 1 hour after eating a large meal. Sauna can be taken anytime of the day. Usually in the morning to rejuvenate and invigorate, and at night to help relax and sleep.
  3. Preheat the sauna, minimum of 10-15 minutes.
  4. New users to the sauna/steam that are not accustomed to the temperatures should start at lower temperatures, until the body becomes more tolerable. Let the bodies endurance build over repeated sauna sessions.
  5. Taking a sauna with as little clothing as possible is preferred. Allows the body to release heat, and allows penetration of heat. Jewelry should not be worn.
  6. Any bathers with any medical conditions or disorders should always consult with their doctors.
  7. Take a warm rinse or shower, to remove any deodorants, perspiration, and then enter the sauna and relax on the top level bench for 10 – 15 minutes. Lying down is total relaxation. The dry heat will increase the blood circulation and will eventually bring the body to perspire. Staying longer than 30 minutes is not recommended. Always go by what you body is telling you, this is a good recommendation of when enough is enough.
  8. Once your done, leaving the sauna should be followed by a cool shower, which will close open pores, refresh and leave you invigorated.
  9. Rest for 10-15 minutes to allow your body to cool down slowly, and then you may want to repeat the whole cycle again. If not, your ready for your day.
  10. After the sauna, allow yourself 20 minutes to relax and cool down before dressing. A light snack and refreshing beverage will hit the spot. The body will need to replace the water and salts that were perspired during the sauna session.
  11. The sauna is a great tool for those who suffer from tiredness, acne, sleeping, and tension or stress. Arthritis and rheumatism sufferers as well as muscle and joint aches from over exertion, will find the sauna heat very relaxing.

Note: supplied by Art of Sauna Building