If you're reading this guide, you've already figured out a sauna and/or a steam shower is the perfect addition to your home.
You are probably looking for something that will:
Be used often in your home by yourself and/or your family
Raise the value of your home.
Improve you and/or your family’s health as well as help you relax.
However, there are few options to choose from even though you’ve already made the smart decision to purchase one.
Some of the different options for you include infrared saunas, steam saunas, and steam showers with and without tubs.
Sound confusing? Not sure which would be best for you?
Relax, we’ve got you covered!
Keep reading below to find out the differences and benefits of each.
Here you'll find the perfect match for you and your home.
The Many Hidden Health Benefits of Using an Infrared Sauna, Steam Sauna, and/or Steam Shower
Before we dive right into the differences and particular benefits of each, it's important to note that all infrared saunas, steam saunas, and steam showers provide numerous health benefits.
These benefits range from mental (such as stress relief) all the way to physical.
Sauna Benefits Study - Steam Shower Benefits, Dry Sauna Benefits, Sauna Benefits
A study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal discovered that sauna and steam shower use can lower the chance of cardiovascular disease and stroke. 
The study concluded that an increased frequency of sauna bathing is associated with many health benefits.
This includes a reduced risk of sudden cardiac deaths, coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality.
A cardiologist at the Harvard University-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Thomas H. Lee, weighed in on the study.
He added, "the cardiovascular effects of sauna have been well documented in the past. It lowers blood pressure, and there is every reason to believe that its effects are good for blood vessels." 
Another landmark study followed over 2,300 men around for over 20 years and noted their sauna usage.
When they concluded the study, they found that men who went to the sauna four to seven times a week were 66% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia.
They also found they were 65% less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. 
Your Small List of BIG Health Benefits You Can Experience
- Improved Cardiovascular Performance
- Reduced Risk of High Blood Pressure
- Muscle relaxation and tension relief
- Improved Circulation
- Reduced Risk of Respiratory Disease
- Stimulates & Releases Endorphins (the body’s all-natural "feel good" chemical)
- Reduced Muscle Soreness
- Reduced Pain from Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and Other Chronic Painful Conditions
- Improved Recovery & Muscle Growth after Exercise
- Deep Sweating that Flushes Toxins from the Body
- Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia
- A Better, Deeper, More Fulfilled Sleep
- Can Help Fight Illnesses and Kill Viruses
- Cleanses the Skin & Clears the Pores
- Burns Calories to Promote Weight Loss
Saunas Benefits Skin! Sauna Effects on Skin
Saunas and steam showers will both bring you many health benefits including stress relief and alleviation of muscle pain and tension.
They have also been confirmed to improve your circulation and leave your skin cleansed and glowing.
Sebum is a naturally occurring substance in your skin that is a healthy moisturizer.
It keeps your skin moist as well as provides your skin's cell with important nutrients. It's what helps give your face a youthful, soft appearance.
When sebum, dead skin cells, bacteria, etc get lodged in your pores, this leads to acne.
Sweating through your pores in a sauna is an excellent way of eradicating these impurities.
As a result, you get the benefit of less acne without expensive medicines, harsh beauty treatments, or prescriptions.
Benefits of Sauna After Workout
Dr. Ai Mukai, a physical medicine and rehab specialist at Texas Orthopedics, states that some athletes use saunas to help with performance and endurance.
“Muscle strength and power seem to increase after sauna use. If you’re looking to build strength and power, saunas can help with that.”
Your body is already more worn down after a workout, so it’s best to keep it short and sweet in your post-gym sauna session.
Plan to stay in the sauna no longer than 20 minutes to avoid overexerting your body.
Steam vs Sauna: The Subtle Differences Between an Infrared Sauna, a Steam Sauna, and a Steam Shower
When shopping for your new in-home relaxation getaway, you may be wondering if an infrared sauna, a steam sauna, or a steam shower would fit you best.
There are numerous health benefits to both an infrared sauna, a steam sauna, and a steam shower but there are differences you should know.
These subtle differences will help you choose which option would work best for you.
The easiest way to explain the difference between these two options is infrared saunas and steam saunas produce dry heat while steam showers produce moist heat.
Both saunas and steam showers will bring you many health benefits, but even with all of these benefits in mind, dry heat and moist heat will each bring you their own specific advantages.
Let’s look at each of them individually to see which would suit you best.
What is a Sauna?
A sauna is a freestanding structure made up almost entirely of wood.
This is because wood absorbs moisture from the air, keeping a dry heat circulating, and also stays cool so you won't get burned while inside.
In traditional steam saunas, large stones are placed on a heater which radiates heat raises the temperature to between 150 - 200° Fahrenheit.
Then, water can be poured over the rocks to produce steam.
The dry air heat produced in traditional steam saunas allows for them to be safely raised to a higher temperature than steam showers.
With the steam sauna, you also have the option of producing steam only if you choose.
The humidity in a traditional steam sauna hovers around 10% unless a ladle of water is poured over the rocks. This will raise the humidity to between 30-40%. 
There are also infrared saunas that produce heat in a different way that involves no steam or humidity, but we'll discuss that more below.
A sauna would be best for you if you:
Prefer dry heat
Do not like humidity
Want a freestanding option dedicated to sauna use.
What is a Residential Steam Shower?
A steam shower is usually made from ceramic tile, glass, or other material.
Steam showers stray away from using the traditional wood due to the high level of moisture involved.
The non-porous material of ceramic tile or glass used in steam showers keeps the heat and steam sealed inside. This what produces the "moist heat" that steam showers are known for.
In steam showers, a steam generator fills the shower with a gentle mist of steam that soothes, warms, and envelopes you.
Steam Shower Temperature
Steam showers are typically controlled by a thermostat and the temperatures normally reach between 110 - 120° Fahrenheit.
While this is considerably less than a traditional steam sauna, the humidity moves from a low 10% up to a complete and full 100%.
The higher humidity creates the sensation of a much hotter environment, which allows the temperatures to remain lower.
And one of the most popular reasons to use a steam shower is that you use it to clean off, it’s a shower!
A steam shower would be best for you if you:
- Prefer moist heat
- Enjoy more steam
- Want to incorporate showering or bathing into your sauna use
- Want a multi-purpose fixture in your home
Dry Sauna Benefits vs. Moist Heat
As we've discussed previously, there are many health benefits of using a sauna and a steam shower.
However, there are different advantages from using dry heat (such as found in an infrared and steam sauna) versus moist heat (such as found in a steam shower).
The dry heat of a sauna will soothe your nerve endings while warming and relaxing your muscles. It relieves the tension from your body and reduces joint inflammation and pain.
This is can be especially beneficial for those who suffer from arthritis, fibromyalgia, painful migraines, and headaches.
The heat from a sauna will also help your body to release endorphins. This “feel good” chemical will assist you in relieving pain, reducing your stress, induce a deep, and full relaxation, all while bringing you better night's sleep.
Once you leave the sauna and your body starts to cool down it begins to release melatonin as well.
This will work instantly to help you feel more relaxed and later on enjoy a deeper, more fulfilling sleep.
While the moist heat of a steam shower will bring you many of the same health benefits, it can also offer even more.
The steam in a steam shower, often 100% humidity, helps to open up the airways and bronchial tubes.
This helps improve your breathing and alleviates congestion.
The moist heat from a steam shower thins and opens the mucous membranes in the body which helps to relieve pressure.
This is very beneficial and sought after most by those that suffer from asthma, bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, and allergies.
Sauna Benefits Weight Loss
It's also worth mentioning that since higher humidity levels cause increased sweating, steam showers and steam saunas can be better for weight loss and increased metabolism.
By now you likely know which type of new, relaxing addition you want for your home but you can actually customize these options even further!
Between a sauna and steam shower, there are two variations of each to consider.
This is so you’re able to find just the right match to give you the perfect kind of relaxation and health benefits you’re looking for.
Should I Install a Traditional Sauna or an Infrared Sauna?
If you have decided a sauna would work best for you, you may be left now wondering if you should get an indoor steam sauna kit or an infrared sauna.
Don’t worry though, we’re here to make it easy!
Although you will receive wonderful health benefits from them both, there are some key differences between them.
A traditional sauna generates its heat from a heater and stones
An infrared sauna uses infrared heaters to emit a specific wavelength of infrared light.
In a traditional steam sauna, a heater produces temperatures up to 175 - 180° Fahrenheit.
An included water cask and spoon allow you to add water to the heated stones to get the humidity level up to where you want.
Infrared Saunas create the same atmosphere but at a much lower temperature, usually between 120 - 150° Fahrenheit.
This is done with absolutely no steam or humidity.
A traditional steam sauna increases body temperature by heating the air around you.
An infrared sauna uses infrared light to raise the body temperature deeper in the body for more effective sweating.
In a traditional steam sauna, as the temperature of the air increases around you from the heated stones, the temperature of your body increases as well as it begins to absorb the heat.
This increase in temperature causes your body to start cooling itself down which is done through sweating.
With an infrared sauna, your skin absorbs the wavelength of infrared light which causes your body's temperature to rise.
Infrared Sauna Benefits Weight Loss
The heat from the infrared travels much deeper into the body and is able to produce more effective sweating at a much lower temperature.
Which Sauna is Better: Infrared or Steam
Which should I choose?
- An Infrared Sauna would work best for you if you’re looking for detoxification, weight loss, cellulite reduction, and no steam or humidity during your relaxation.
A Traditional Steam Sauna would work best for if you’re looking for improved respiration, skin hydration and cleansing, a deeper sleep, and dry heat with the option of steam or humidity.
Best Home Sauna?
There's no doubt that Clearlight is the leading brand of sauna.
Their quality surpasses most if not all other sauna products. They do tend to be more expensive but carry a Lifetime warranty for your peace of mind.
Sauna Shower Combo: Steam Showers with a Jetted Tub vs. Steam Showers without a Jetted Tub
If you have decided a steam shower would work best for you, you may be wondering if you should get one with a tub or one without a tub.
We can help you make the best choice by explaining the advantages and differences below.
The good news when deciding between a steam shower with a jetted tub and one without, it is completely a personal choice.
There are multiple benefits of both and either would make a wonderful addition to your home.
Steam Shower Tub Combo
Many people prefer a steam shower over a sauna due to a steam shower's ability to be integrated into existing bathrooms.
They can work as a shower, sauna, and jetted bathtub all in one space.
The two main differences between these options are the size and personal preference.
Usually, steam showers with a jetted tub will be a little bit larger than a steam shower without a tub.
If the size of this relaxing oasis isn't an issue for you, then it comes down to if you would also like the option to take a calming bath or not.
It's not just a typical bath either! Many steam showers come with jetted tubs.
These luxurious, comfortable tubs feature acupuncture jets and whirlpool jets which give you an unmatched therapeutic sauna experience.
Which should I choose?
A Steam Shower with a Jetted Tub would work best for you if:
- You want the ultimate therapeutic sauna experience
- You’re looking for deeper relaxation,
- You want targeted muscle and pain relief
A Steam Shower without a Jetted Tub would work best for you if:
- You want a smaller steam shower
Don't enjoy relaxing in a bath
A Sauna and/or a Steam Shower Will Improve Your Health and Happiness
Whether you choose a traditional steam sauna, infrared sauna, steam shower with a jetted tub, or steam shower without a tub, you are making a wonderful decision for both your overall health and happiness.
While each type of steam or heat method can bring its own benefits and perks, they all have been proven to relieve stress, induce relaxation, and improve overall cardiovascular health.
Whichever design or model you choose, you are sure to feel better and live longer.
1. Laukkanen, M. T., Khan, M. P., Zaccardi, M. F., & Laukkanen, M. P. (2015, April). Association Between Sauna Bathing and Fatal Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality Events. JAMA Internal Medicine, 542-548. Retrieved from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2130724
2. Merz, B. (2015, February 25). Sauna use linked to longer life, fewer fatal heart problems. Retrieved from Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/sauna-use-linked-longer-life-fewer-fatal-heart-problems-201502257755
3. Laukkanen, T., Kunutsor, S., Kauhanen, J., & Laukkanen, J. A. (2017, March). Sauna bathing is inversely associated with dementia and Alzheimer's disease in middle-aged Finnish men. Age and Ageing, 46(2), 245–249. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/ageing/article/46/2/245/2654230
4. North American Sauna Society. (2015). Sauna Experience. Retrieved from North American Sauna Society: https://www.saunasociety.org/sauna-experience