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Which Burns More Fat? Sweating In a Sauna vs. Steam Room

Saunas and steam rooms seem similar, which may make you wonder if sweating in a sauna or steam room burns more fat.

Both are relaxing and offer health benefits, but which should you opt for if your goal is weight loss? 

Since saunas use dry heat, they increase bodily functions like cardiovascular activity, possibly contributing to further weight loss. But let’s delve into the details of both to reach a conclusion.

How Are Saunas and Steam Rooms Different?

Saunas and steam rooms are excellent ways to unwind, detoxify, and potentially burn many calories. However, the type of heat they offer is different, and that’s why each has its own effect on the body.


In a sauna, you’ll be in a small room that produces heat to reach a temperature between 150-195°F. Saunas rely on heating stones using a wood-burning stove or an electric one. As a result, the stones radiate heat and create a dry environment with low humidity.

This incredibly high heat helps the body to sweat and flush out toxins, improve blood circulation, and aid weight loss.

Steam Rooms

On the other hand, steam rooms are small enclosures that reach temperatures between 110-120°F. The temperature is lower than that of a sauna, as a steam room comes with moisture and creates a humid environment.

The idea relies on the humidity to open up the pores and allow the body to sweat for the same benefits a sauna gives.

Yet, it’s important to note that in both cases, most of that weight loss is due to water loss and not fat loss.

Which One Burns More Calories?

You’ll sweat a lot in both a sauna and a steam room. Yet, saunas produce more intense sweat as the temperatures get a lot higher and they rely on dry heat—resulting in quicker and more sweat. 

Accordingly, saunas can be more effective for weight loss. A 30-minute session in a sauna can help you burn up to 300 calories, while it goes only up to 150 calories in a steam room.

How Does Sweating Burn Fat?

When you become physically active, your body burns calories to produce energy. As it does so, your body produces heat, and your brain signals the sweat glands to produce sweat to cool you down.

Naturally, the more intense the physical activity you’re engaging in, the more you’ll sweat, and the more calories you’ll burn.

Sweating, on its own, doesn’t burn fat, as it’s merely a byproduct of your body trying to cool itself down and regulate its temperature. While sweating doesn’t directly burn fat, it can indirectly help with weight loss.

Should You Use the Sauna Before or After a Workout?

Using a sauna after a workout can help you relax your muscles, improve recovery time, and reduce inflammation.

Moreover, sauna sessions increase blood flow, which results in better nutrient delivery and waste removal processes in your body.

However, it’s worth mentioning that staying hydrated is of the essence to avoid overheating. As such, using a sauna before the workout isn’t recommended. 

What Are Other Benefits of Using a Sauna?

Saunas come with a couple of health benefits that make them excellent for more than just breaking a sweat. These include:

What Are Other Benefits of Using a Steam Room?

Apart from burning calories, detoxification, and improved skin, there are a couple of benefits that come with using a steam room. Here are the most notable ones:

  • Lower blood pressure levels
  • Clearing sinuses and congestion
  • Enhancing blood circulation
  • Recovery after workouts
  • Remedying stiff joints
  • Relaxation

Are There Any Risks of Steam Rooms or Saunas?

The consensus is that pregnant women, those on medication, or those with heart conditions should be highly cautious when using a sauna or a steam room.

Which Burns More Fat? If you’re planning to incorporate saunas or steam rooms into your life regularly, you should consult with a professional beforehand. You should also do that if you have any health conditions, particularly ones that entail lung issues, like asthma. 

It’s also important to keep hydration in mind since saunas and steam rooms work by making you sweat, which results in losing a lot of fluids.

Burns Fat FAQs

How Many Calories Do 15 Minutes in a Steam Room Burn?

If you sit in a steam room for 15 minutes, you can burn anywhere between 20 and 40 calories, depending on your weight and how often you exercise.

What’s the Ideal Time to Use a Sauna or Steam Room?

Generally speaking, you should stick to using the steam room or sauna twice or thrice per week, with sessions lasting between 10 to 20 minutes.

Can I Use a Sauna or Steam Room Every Day?

It’s not advisable to use saunas or steam rooms daily as that may lead to severe dehydration.

Can You Target Certain Areas for Weight Loss Using Saunas or Steam Rooms?

Unfortunately, you can’t. When you’re inside either, your whole body sweats, which means the water weight won’t be directly lost from a certain area rather than others.

Can I Lose Hair from Steam?

Since the heat and the steam loosen hair follicles, it’s advisable to wear a shower cap before going into a sauna or steam room to avoid any risk of hair loss.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, both saunas and steam rooms can be effective in promoting sweating and potentially helping with weight loss.

However, the idea that either method alone will result in significant fat loss isn’t reliable, especially since no scientific evidence backs up the information.


If you’re looking for more intense sweating sessions, opt for a sauna. If you want to combine reduced inflammation and rejuvenated skin, a steam room would suit you well.