The differences between steam bath and sauna

Both the steam bath and the sauna: methods of relaxation and cleansing.

Steam baths and saunas have been well-known methods of relaxing and cleansing the body for centuries. They both use high temperatures to promote perspiration and thus rid the body of impurities. Although both offer similar benefits, they differ in how they work and the experience they provide.

The steam bath

The steam bath, often referred to as the 'hamam' or 'Turkish bath', is a room where the body is warmed by contact with hot steam.

  • Humidity and temperature: The special characteristic of a steam bath is the extremely high humidity, often reaching up to 100%. This makes the heat feel different than in a sauna. Despite the high humidity, the temperature in a steam bath is between 40 and 50 degrees Celsius, which is comparatively milder than in a sauna.

The sauna

A sauna, on the other hand, is a room that is heated by dry heat, often by a wood, gas or electric sauna heater onto which water can be poured to create short bursts of steam (sauna infusions).

  • Humidity and temperature: Saunas have very low humidity, often below 20%. Temperatures are much higher than in a steam bath and can range from 70 to 100 degrees Celsius.

Differences in detail

Although both facilities are designed to heat the body, there are significant differences in the experience and the effects on the body:

  • Type of air: The steam bath uses moist, warm air, while the sauna is characterised by dry heat.
  • Sweating and heat sensation: The high humidity in the steam bath can intensify sweating, even if the temperature is lower than in the sauna. However, the dry heat of the sauna can lead to a stronger heat sensation, as there is less moisture to evaporate on the skin and thus provide cooling.


Both steam baths and saunas offer effective ways to relax and cleanse the skin. The choice between the two depends on personal preference. Some people prefer the more humid environment of a steam bath, while others prefer the dry heat of a sauna. It is advisable to try both methods to find out which best suits individual needs and preferences.

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