Can a Sauna Help with a Cold?

Saunas have been used for centuries as a way to promote relaxation and improve overall health. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the potential health benefits of saunas for those suffering from colds. Some people believe that sitting in a sauna can help to alleviate the symptoms of a cold, such as congestion and coughing. But is there any truth to this claim?

Research suggests that saunas may have some benefits for those with colds. One study found that sitting in a sauna for just 20 minutes can help to reduce the severity of cold symptoms, including congestion and coughing. This is because the heat from the sauna can help to open up the airways, making it easier to breathe. Additionally, the steam from the sauna can help to loosen mucus in the sinuses, making it easier to expel.

Understanding Sauna and Its Effects

Sauna is a type of heat therapy that has been used for centuries in various cultures around the world. It involves sitting in a heated room, typically with temperatures ranging from 150 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit, and sweating profusely. There are different types of saunas, including traditional saunas, infrared saunas, and steam saunas, each with their own unique benefits.

One of the primary effects of sauna is an increase in body temperature. This increase in temperature can help to stimulate blood circulation, which can be beneficial for overall health. Additionally, the heat from the sauna can help to increase sweating, which can help to flush out toxins from the body.

Sauna has also been shown to have a positive impact on cardiovascular health. The heat from the sauna can help to increase heart rate and improve blood flow, which can help to improve cardiovascular function. Additionally, sauna has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins, which can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation.

While sauna can be a beneficial form of therapy, it is important to practice safety when using a sauna. Individuals with certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure or heart disease, should consult with a healthcare professional before using a sauna. Additionally, it is important to stay hydrated and avoid spending too much time in the sauna, as prolonged exposure to high temperatures can be dangerous.

Sauna Use During a Cold

Sauna use during a cold is a common practice among many people. The idea is that the hot steam and sweating out toxins can help alleviate symptoms of congestion and relieve mucus buildup in the airways. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support these claims.

While sauna use can provide temporary relief from nasal congestion, it is important to note that the effects are short-lived. Additionally, sweating out fluids in the sauna can lead to dehydration, which can worsen cold symptoms. It is crucial to rehydrate properly after sauna use to avoid dehydration.

The hot steam in the sauna can help loosen mucus and promote drainage, but it is important to avoid overexposure to the heat. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can lead to discomfort and even heat exhaustion. It is recommended to limit sauna use to 10-15 minutes at a time and take breaks to cool down.

Overall, sauna use during a cold can provide temporary relief from congestion and mucus buildup, but it is important to use caution and avoid overexposure to the heat. Proper hydration is also crucial to avoid dehydration.

can a sauna help with a cold

The Science Behind Sauna and Cold Recovery

Sauna has been used for centuries as a natural way to treat various illnesses and promote overall well-being. But can it actually help with cold recovery? The answer is yes, according to recent studies.

When a person has a cold, their immune system is working hard to fight off the virus. Sauna can help support the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting infections. A study conducted in Austria found that regular sauna use increased the number of white blood cells in the body, leading to a stronger immune response.

In addition to boosting the immune system, sauna can also aid in the natural healing process. When the body is exposed to high temperatures, it produces a fever-like response, which can help fight off infections. This process can also help reduce stress and fatigue, which are common symptoms of colds.

Sauna can also have positive effects on cardiovascular function. When a person is in a sauna, their heart rate increases, which can help improve blood flow and oxygenation of the body. This can be especially beneficial for those who are recovering from illnesses or are experiencing fatigue.

It's important to note that sauna should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. While it can be a helpful addition to a cold recovery regimen, it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatments or exercise routines.

Precautions and Best Practices

When using a sauna to alleviate cold symptoms, it is important to take certain precautions and follow best practices to ensure safety and effectiveness. Here are some key considerations:


Saunas can be dangerous if not used properly. It is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions and any safety guidelines provided by the facility. Some general safety tips include:

  • Do not use a sauna if you have a fever or are feeling unwell.
  • Do not stay in the sauna for too long. Generally, 10-20 minutes is a safe amount of time.
  • Drink plenty of water before and after using the sauna to prevent dehydration.
  • Do not use the sauna alone, especially if you have a medical condition.

Public Saunas

If using a public sauna, it is important to take additional precautions to prevent the spread of illness. Some tips include:

  • Bring your own towel to sit on.
  • Wipe down the bench with a towel before sitting on it.
  • Avoid touching your face or other people's belongings.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after using the sauna.

Home Sauna

If using a home sauna, it is important to ensure that it is properly installed and maintained. Some tips include:

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation and maintenance.
  • Make sure the sauna is properly ventilated.
  • Keep a thermometer in the sauna to monitor the temperature.
  • Do not use the sauna if you have any doubts about its safety or effectiveness.


Saunas can cause dehydration, especially if used for long periods of time. It is important to drink plenty of fluids before and after using the sauna to prevent dehydration. Water is the best choice, but sports drinks or coconut water can also help replenish electrolytes.


After using the sauna, it is important to rest and allow your body to cool down. Avoid strenuous activity for at least 30 minutes after using the sauna.

Pain and Muscle Aches

Sauna sessions, both pre and post-workout, offer several benefits such as increased endurance, reduced muscle damage, improved recovery time, and muscle recovery.

Saunas can help relieve pain and muscle aches, but they can also cause them if used improperly. If you experience pain or discomfort while using the sauna, stop immediately and seek medical attention if necessary.

Skin and Sweat Glands

Saunas can help improve skin health and promote sweating, which can help detoxify the body. However, it is important to shower after using the sauna to remove sweat and any toxins that may have been released.

Allergies, Asthma, and Breathing Problems

Saunas can exacerbate allergies, asthma, and other breathing problems. If you have any of these conditions, it is important to consult with your doctor before using a sauna.


Saunas can help relieve the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. However, it is important to consult with your doctor before using a sauna if you have arthritis or any other medical condition.


Saunas can help detoxify the body by promoting sweating and increasing circulation. However, it is important to drink plenty of fluids before and after using the sauna to prevent dehydration and to consult with your doctor before using a sauna if you have any medical conditions.


Saunas have historical use in alleviating cold symptoms, yet their scientific efficacy remains limited. Some studies suggest immune-boosting and symptom reduction potential, but more research is necessary to determine optimal sauna parameters. It's crucial to emphasize that saunas aren't a substitute for medical care, especially for severe or prolonged colds. Caution is advised, particularly for individuals with health conditions or on specific medications.

In conclusion, saunas can complement cold treatment, but they should be part of a comprehensive approach rather than the sole remedy. If you're considering a sauna when sick, it's essential to understand the potential effects on your health and consult with a medical expert for guidance.

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