Going to a spa resort is a great way to relieve stress and have a day full of relaxation. America is on a health kick recently it seems, and that is certainly helping the spa business. In fact, this recent focus on health led over 179 million people in the United States to visit spas in the year 2016.

People go to the spa for many reasons. Massages, facials, and body treatments are just some of the packages that are available for spa patrons to enjoy. Saunas and steam rooms are also very popular commodities that spas often offer. What’s the difference between the two, you ask? Here are the main factors that differentiate steam rooms and saunas.

Dry Versus Wet Heat

The biggest difference between steam rooms and saunas is whether or not the room is moist. Saunas are traditionally dry. Rocks are heated up to create the warm temperatures in the room. Water can be poured over the rocks to create steam, but the humidity levels reach nowhere near those of a steam room. Steam rooms have a machine known as a steam generator that boils water into steam and releases it into the air. Steam rooms are not ventilated like saunas are, so they are much more humid.

Various Temperature

The temperatures vary from a sauna to a steam room. According to Live Strong, a sauna will usually be set between 160 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity level of 5% to 30%. Steam rooms, on the other hand, are set to 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, but with 100% humidity. Both allow the body to sweat out toxins, it just depends on what the desired temperature is.

What You Sit On

Due to the variance in humidity levels, the materials used in the rooms are different. Saunas typically use wood materials for their benches because metal or tile would get too hot and could burn skin. Wood absorbs moisture, which not only keeps the surfaces cooler but also helps pull humidity out of the air. Wood, however, cannot be used in steam rooms due to the humidity. The wood could warp and degrade very quickly. Therefore materials like tile are typically used in steam rooms.

Saunas and steam rooms are similar, but they certainly have their differences. Whether you go to the spa for a massage or to sweat it out, you will feel like a million bucks after your session.