There are many people who swear a sauna is good for colds, but until now, there weren’t any medical facts to back this up. Recently, there have been several studies that have backed up the notion that a good sweat can help you recover from the common cold.
One Austrian study tracked individuals for several months, with half the participants using a sauna twice a week and the other half not using saunas at all. At the end of the research study, the people who regularly used saunas had half as many colds as the people who didn’t.
The consensus was that a sauna is good for colds because it actually helps to prevent them in the first place. Because saunas help improve immune system function, you’re less likely to catch a cold from someone.
In most cases, regular sauna use was recommended to get the optimal effect. Thirty minutes in the sauna twice a week seems to be the minimum for improving immune system function.
“Sweating it out” can also help reduce the length of time you suffer from a cold. Native American sweat lodges, Finnish steam baths, and a variety of versions of today’s sauna have been used for thousands of years by people around the world to help cure the common cold.
One reason a sauna is good for colds is that it produces a sort of artificial fever. Your core body temperature rises significantly in a sauna, which can weaken cold viruses. The body’s natural defense system will produce a fever to get rid of germs when you are very ill, but a cold often doesn’t produce a fever, so a sauna can help the body out.
Another reason to visit the sauna when you have a cold is because the heat improves drainage. Clogged sinuses will flush out germs and excess mucus more efficiently, clearing your sinus passages and allowing you to breathe more freely. The high heat of a sauna can also help loosen chest congestion. Your body’s circulation is also increased in a sauna, which contributes to faster healing.
It’s obvious that a sauna is good for the common cold, but how much difference does it really make? The effects will vary from person to person, but it’s generally accepted that using a sauna can reduce the duration of a cold by as much as fifty percent.
Considering you can also prevent up to half the colds you’re exposed to with regular use, it’s obvious that a sauna is good for cold sufferers in more than one way.