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Dry Sauna Vs. Wet Sauna - Click to enlarge

Dry Sauna Vs. Wet Sauna

"Sauna" is the only commonly used Finnish word in the English language. However, most English speakers pronounce it incorrectly. In Finnish, every syllable is pronounced and the first takes emphasis. Broken into syllables, sauna would be pronounced "SA-oo-na." When said fast in English, it should sound like "sow-na" instead of "saw-na," as many English speakers say.

Chances are you've heard of the terms "dry sauna" and "wet sauna," but do you know what the difference is?

A wet sauna is not really a sauna at all, at least, not in the way of traditional saunas. The term "wet sauna" is usually used to describe a steam room, which generates moist heat. Like a sauna, it can open your pores and loosen up muscles, among other health benefits. Unlike saunas, however, a steam room is almost airtight, building up a great amount of humidity; the air is so damp that water actually condenses to the walls. Heat is created in a steam room with device called a steam generator, which boils water into steam and releases it into the air.

A dry sauna, or as we now know, a traditional sauna, creates dry heat in an entirely different way. The most traditional way is with wood burning in a stove, and water is poured with a ladle from a sauna bucket onto the rocks above it. This does generate some moisture, but nowhere near the levels of a steam room. The other way is electric, where an electric stove heats the rocks for an even dryer heat. This is most common in small spaces like apartments or gyms. Saunas have a vent that continually brings fresh air in to limit humidity build up.

Most sauna temperatures are set between 160 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit, while steam rooms run around 110 or 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the 100 percent humidity keeps your sweat from evaporating, though, steam rooms can often feel even hotter than saunas. The temperature is measured with a thermometer and a hygrometer shows the humidity level.

You may be wondering whether a wet sauna (steam room) or dry sauna is better for you. Those who have conditions aggravated by humidity will find that a sauna is the best option, while steam rooms can help more with congestion in the chest or sinuses. It all comes down to personal preference.


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Dry Sauna Vs. Wet Sauna

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