We are all aware of the many benefits that sauna bathing can provide – from aiding in weight loss and detoxifying the body to even improving heart health. But did you know that sauna bathing may help if you have a cold? This may seem surprising at first, but in this article, we will explain exactly how a sauna helps with cold – and how you can maximize the positive effect of the sauna.
Many people take the help of a sauna to help with their cold or flu. Even spending just 15-20 minutes in the sauna may have many positive effects on your health. Interestingly, the healing properties of sauna bathing are not a new discovery – in fact, they can be traced back to when the sauna was invented by the Finnish people! They were so sure of the restoring and purifying properties of the sauna that they called it “the poor man’s pharmacy”.
How Does Sauna Help with Cold?
1. It opens up your airways
Taking in steam when you have a cold is a common practice in many homes. You may have already tried this by heating water up on the stove and inhaling the steam. However, sauna bathing is a much more pleasurable way of taking in steam. You can reap the same benefits while relaxing and enjoying yourself in the sauna. The hot steam in the sauna will open up blocked airways, and help with congestion in the nasal passageways and sinuses; this will allow you to breathe freely and deeply. Blocked noses can be a very irritating symptom of colds – and we’d love to get rid of it as soon as possible!
2. Detoxifying the body
Many people turn to saunas for detoxifying their body cells and relieving the symptoms of the flu. We already know that sweating helps remove toxins from the body – and sauna bathing is an excellent way to ensure heavy sweating! The heat in the sauna activates your body’s temperature regulation center, and your sweat glands start working harder. As the sweat escapes through the pores on your skin, it drains away many toxins from your body cells. This means that you can certainly try to sweat out your cold using a sauna – it may not help a great deal, but it will certainly have some positive effects.
3. The high temperatures
The heat of the sauna has many benefits. Some scientists claim that the high temperatures inside the sauna may help weaken cold and flu viruses. We’re not sure how accurate that is, but there’s no harm in trying! Higher temperature also increases blood circulation, so the white blood cells in your immune system can be transported around the body to fight the disease. In addition to this, raising the body’s temperature will simulate a fever-like condition, which is actually good for your body. How? Because it will activate our immune system and increase the number of antibodies and white blood cells, so the cold can be fought off quickly.
Which Type of Sauna Should You Use?
If you’re wondering which type of sauna would be best suited to help with cold, we’re here to answer your concerns. Any type of sauna will be beneficial to some extent – whether it’s a wet sauna, wood-burning sauna, or infrared sauna. Infrared saunas are particularly useful as the infrared light heats the body from the inside and outside. This way, you can ensure that the temperature is raised. Dry saunas, however, do run the risk of drying out your body, which may worsen scratchy throats and noses instead of fixing them.
Can Sauna Bathing Actually Prevent You From Catching a Cold?
The answer is yes – definitely! Regular sauna sessions strengthen the immune system, making it stronger against various viruses and bacteria. This means that if you go to the sauna regularly, it can help prevent you from catching a cold in the first place. A study was done by scientists where they made two groups – one that went to the sauna regularly and one that didn’t.
By the end of six months, they observed that the sauna group had caught colds less frequently, and the severity of the cold was also less. This was especially noticed in the last three months, so you might need to be patient to see the positive effect! Even if it’s not visible at first, if you keep going to the sauna regularly, you can protect yourself against those pesky colds. In fact, sauna bathing may even reduce the risk of getting other serious respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia or asthma.
Some Important Things to Keep in Mind:
Going to the sauna could be an excellent idea to help relieve symptoms of cold and ensure protection against catching them in the future, but there are some safety measures you must keep in mind.
- Hydration is particularly important when you have the flu, as your body needs fluids to fight off the illness. Thus you should drink plenty of water before entering the sauna, and should immediately leave if you notice any signs of dehydration – such as headaches, or feeling nauseous.
- If you have a heart condition, it is best to not risk going to the sauna. Instead of helping your cold, it may instead cause more problems for your health. You should always consult with your doctor before sauna bathing so that you can be sure that you are healthy enough to safely and effectively reap the benefits of sauna.
- If you have a fever, your body temperature will already be quite high. Going to the sauna could be counter-productive, as your body will have to fight harder to control the temperature. This will expend valuable energy that your body needs to fight off the disease.
- You might be contagious. Especially during the times of this pandemic, it would be recommended not to go to the sauna if you have flu-like symptoms, as there is a chance that you have Covid-19. By going to the sauna, you might risk passing on the virus to other sauna goers and making them ill. Thus, to carry out your duty as a member of society, you should try to protect the people around you by being careful. It is always better to be safe than sorry!
So, we have answered the question – ‘does sauna bathing help with cold and flu?’ Going to the sauna can help ease your symptoms and make you more comfortable and relaxed while you’re at it. Your immune system will also be strengthened to protect against future colds. All you have to do to reap these benefits is simply relax and enjoy the sauna! However, sauna bathing can only help so much, so you should combine it with whatever medicine your doctor has prescribed and take in lots of fluids. This way, you can go back to your healthy self in no time!
Hi People! My name is Monica Khemsurov, and I am the founder of SaunaSavant. I am Finnish, a professional swimmer, and a lifelong sauna & spa enthusiast. In this blog, I will share my insights, suggestions, and recommendations on everything related to saunas and indoor living. Please let me know (through the contact box) if you have any feedback. Cheers!