Sauna & Colds
Taking part in sauna sessions on a regular basis has numerous health benefits, both for the body and for the mind.
From helping sore muscles to relax, speeding up recovery time, assisting with joint pain relief, helping skin look younger and more vibrant, and many other benefits, sauna use has established itself as a jack of all trades when it comes to improving overall health and improving overall mood.
But what about when you’re feeling sick? Is getting into a sauna a good idea when you’re feeling under the weather? What about if you have a fever?
You’ve probably heard from others that using a sauna to when you’re sick is a great option in order to ‘sweat it out’.
But how can you be sure that ‘sweating it out’ is beneficial when you’re under the weather?
Do toxins really get purged from your body when sweating?
How about preventing colds, to begin with?
Preventing the Common Cold with Sauna Use
Prevention is the best medicine, as some say. Having a strong immune system, to begin with, is key to preventing sickness and ill health.
While the evidence of sauna use when sick is constantly being researched, one Austrian study aimed to understand the correlation between sauna use and acquiring the common cold. The study states:
“Twenty-five volunteers were submitted to sauna bathing, with 25 controls abstaining from this or comparable procedures. In both groups, the frequency, duration, and severity of common colds were recorded for six months. There were significantly fewer episodes of the common cold in the sauna group.”
The study also goes on to explain:
“This was found particularly during the last three months of the study period when the incidence was roughly halved compared to controls. The mean duration and average severity of common colds did not differ significantly between the groups. It is concluded that regular sauna bathing probably reduces the incidence of common colds, but further studies are needed to prove this.”
Understanding the reason why sauna use helps prevent colds is still up for debate. Some scientists and researchers claim that the sweating from the sauna session can help facilitate better drainage, while the heat may act as a weapon in order to weaken and reduce the severity and the virus.
When looking to help potentially minimize the occurrence of the common cold and strengthen the immune system, sauna use is beneficial.
Does Sauna Use Help When You Have a Cold?
If you were unfortunate enough to catch the flu, the common cold, or whatever it was that made you sick, you may look to the sauna to help you sweat out the toxins in your body.
This, in fact, is not necessarily true.
“You can’t sweat out a cold” Michele Olson, Ph.D., CSCS, senior clinical professor of Sports Science at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama.
Olson goes on to say that ‘there are few if any, toxins in your sweat”.
However, when looking at a study by J Environ Public Health that determines whether or not sweating helps the body detox from toxic elements, there is some evidence. The study goes on to explain:
“Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury exposures are ubiquitous. These toxic elements have no physiological benefits, engendering interest in minimizing body burden. The physiological process of sweating has long been regarded as “cleansing” and of low risk…sweating deserves consideration for toxic element detoxification.”
Comparing the common cold to toxic elements isn’t quite comparing apples to apples. What this shows is that sweating does in fact have a detox effect on the body with certain elements, just not when it comes to the common cold.
If part of your sickness consists of having a fever, then taking part in a sauna session is not recommended whatsoever.
When you have a fever, your body’s temperature is already raised a few degrees higher due to trying to fight infection. Introducing more heat from the sauna puts added stress on your body, including added stress to the heart. This may cause unwanted effects including increasing the risk of myocarditis and arrhythmias.
Is Sauna Use While Having A Cold Even Worth it?
While the evidence suggests that you can’t sweat out sickly toxins in a sauna, there are various other benefits that are introduced when you take part in sauna sessions when you’re under the weather.
Some of those benefits include:
- Opening up airways for those that are congested, making breathing easier.
- Dilation of blood vessels, which promotes greater amounts of oxygen-rich blood to flow in the body, helping to bring in more white blood cells and combat the virus.
- May help speed the recovery process.
The Bottom Line
Although using the sauna doesn’t help to detox your body when sick, there are various other benefits including helping to strengthen your body’s immune system, and even helping you reduce the likelihood of getting sick in the first place.
Be sure to consult your doctor before taking part in any sauna session, especially if you’re sick and have any prior medical conditions.
Health Mate Saunas is the leading manufacturer of infrared saunas for the home for over 40 years. Our high-quality infrared saunas are made with 100% PEFC Western Red Cedar, an antimicrobial, and one of the only woods known as a sustainable and renewable resource. For more information on our line of premium infrared saunas, contact us today to see how you can improve your skin, your health, and your life.