Is a Sauna Good for a Cold?

Is sauna good for a cold

Getting a cold is not fun, but there’re ways to fight the virus and enjoy relaxation at the same time. There are numerous home remedies and common practices that claim to help cure a common cold. In fact, recent studies have confirmed the notion that hot beverages can help relieve some flu and cold signs and symptoms.

Sitting in an infrared sauna raises your body’s core temperature and helps fight viruses and flush out toxins. Although it’s always recommended that you consult your doctor for severe cold symptoms, research has proven that relaxing in an infrared sauna not only helps fight colds but can also help prevent them.

How does an infrared sauna help fight colds?

Sweating out colds is the notion that using things that make us sweat such as exercise or heat can make colds go away faster. Perspiration or sweat is water that is secreted by sweat glands in the skin. This is basically the body’s way of getting rid of excess heat as well as toxins.

A rise in the body’s temperature triggers the nervous system which sends signals to the sweat glands to release water onto the skin. This water then evaporates off the skin, causing a relaxing, cooling effect. Although sweat is actually water, it also contains other substances, including vitamins, electrolytes, and toxins.

With temperatures of about 176 degrees Fahrenheit, infrared saunas have been shown to be effective for chronic fatigue, asthma, and arthritis, among other conditions, since they were used by Finnish nomads centuries ago. While some reputed benefits of infrared saunas have not been properly examined, there’s evidence that infrared saunas may help fight colds and even reduce their occurrence.

Some researchers report that sauna heat helps reduce symptoms by improving drainage, while others suspect that the high sauna temperatures weaken flu and cold viruses. However, it’s unclear how high sauna temperatures may help prevent colds and flu in the first place. However, recent studies suggest a positive effect.

Saunas are good for your immune system

Studies have proven that infrared saunas are beneficial for the body to fight toxins and pathogens by providing the immune system with essential building blocks it needs to stay strong and fight infections such as the common cold.

Infrared saunas can also help detoxify the lymphatic system which is mainly responsible for maintaining the health of the immune system. The lymphatic system works in conjunction with the cardiovascular and immune systems, which are significantly accelerated during sauna sessions.

Saunas increase your core temperature and help fight colds in the following ways:

  • Heat increases sweating, which can help detoxify the body.
  • Saunas help open the airways, making it easier to breathe. This is particularly beneficial if you have congestion symptoms.
  • Sauna heat increases oxygenation and blood flow, making it easier for immunity boosters to be carried throughout the body.
  • Increased blood flow and oxygen supply in the brain help alleviate muscle soreness and fatigue.

A study by Australian scientists studied a group of 50 adults and followed them for a period of 6 months. The group was divided into 2 groups and one group was put under infrared sauna therapy while the control group abstained. By the end of the study, the group that used saunas regularly had contracted significantly fewer colds. Fewer colds among the sauna group were particularly observed during the last 3 months of the study when the incidence was almost halved compared to the control group.

Although other recent studies have reported similar results, doctors caution that infrared saunas can be unsafe for people with circulatory or heart conditions.

Does sweating help reduce or treat congestion?

Some methods commonly used to sweat out colds such as exercise and inhaling hot steam may provide temporary relief by relieving nasal congestion but they typically don’t shorten the period you are sick. In most cases, it takes about 7 days to fully recover from the common cold.

Saunas expose your body to infrared heat which penetrates deep into the skin to induce sweating. According to a 2017 study, being exposed to infrared heat in saunas may help alleviate the symptoms of the common cold. However, there’s still a need for further studies to confirm whether saunas can help treat colds.

If you want to use a sauna for the common cold, it’s recommended that you adhere to the following safety tips:

  • Limit your infrared sauna time to 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Limit your intake of foods and beverages that tend to dehydrate the body, such as caffeine, salty foods, and alcohol. Remember, you can lose a fair amount of water through sweat from sauna therapy.
  • Always rehydrate after each sauna session by drinking 2-4 glasses of water.
  • Pay keen attention to your body and leave the sauna and cool off in case you start feeling unwell during your sauna session.
  • Avoid using the sauna if you are pregnant.

Although it is fine to use a sauna if you have a cold, it is important to take into account how you are feeling. If your cold is particularly severe, you can take the day off and rest. Avoid using the sauna if your symptoms include severe congestion in the chest, cough, or fever.

Useful tips to help you recover from colds

  • Rest: Your body needs time to fight off the infection. Be sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Stay hydrated: In addition to helping your body fight off the infection, staying hydrated also helps loosen mucus. Liquids such as warm bone broth or tea can help fight colds and soothe a scratchy throat.
  • Correct dosing of over-the-counter medications can help relieve cold symptoms. Expectorants, decongestants, and pain relievers can help fight your symptoms.
  • If you have a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water to reduce swelling and pain.

Can infrared saunas help with chronic fatigue syndrome?

The bottom line

The heat stress from infrared saunas stimulates an artificial fever and the immune system responds by boosting the production of germ-fighting white blood cells. Heat stress also increases blood flow and cardiovascular response which provides the nutrients and energy the immune system needs to fight against infections such as the symptoms of the common cold.

Infrared sauna benefits