Is sauna ACTUALLY good for a cold? Unraveling the facts

You wake up and your throat feels 40 grit sandpaper. Your sinuses have the same pressure as the bottom of the ocean. Blinking your eyes leaves you completely exhausted. You, my friend have a cold.

When you feel that cold creeping in, is it good to hop in the sauna? We know that the allure of a warm, steam-filled sauna might seem like the perfect remedy. But is a sauna good for a cold? With our expert insight and scientific research at our disposal, let’s dive in and clear the steam on this question.

And my dear sauna enthusiast, the answer may pleasantly surprise you.   

Is sauna really good for a cold?

At a high level, sauna is indeed good for a cold. However the effects are typically temporary. But don’t just take our word for it. Any health-related decisions should be based on solid evidence, not just hearsay.

So we did a deep dive into the peer-reviewed research and the answer is yes, sauna is good for your head cold. But again, just how good for you is it really?

Let’s find out.

Unmasking the common cold

Colds are as common as they come (hence “common cold”). As we led off with, the symptoms are more annoying than anything, leaving you feeling drained.

These upper respiratory tract infections are caused by a number of different viruses and can typically last up to a week. A cold typically begins when a virus, most often a rhinovirus, invades the body’s upper respiratory tract.

The symptoms we associate with colds are actually the body’s response to fight off this invasion. These symptoms can range from a runny nose, sneezing, and coughing, to a sore throat, body aches, and fatigue.

Woman laying in robe in a sauna with a pillow

Can saunas help beat a cold? What the research says

Now, let’s get down to the real question: Can saunas help beat a cold? While the warmth and steam can provide temporary relief from cold symptoms, it’s crucial to turn to scientific studies for concrete answers.

One such study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology in 2018 found a correlation between sauna use and a reduced incidence of common colds among participants. However, the study’s authors noted, “Although our findings are promising, more research is needed to understand the exact mechanisms by which saunas might influence the occurrence of common colds.”

Moreover, research published in the journal Rhinology in 2010 showed that the use of a hot-air bath, similar to a sauna, provided only minor effects on symptoms of a common cold. The researchers concluded that “No significant effect of a hot-air bath in common cold patients was found. Further randomized controlled trials are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of thermal treatment.”

Expert insight: balancing the benefits & risks

While some medical professionals may agree that saunas can offer symptomatic relief during a cold, they’re quick to point out that saunas are not a cure-all.

Utilizing saunas as a part of a larger strategy for managing cold symptoms, which includes proper rest, hydration, and medical consultation, is recommended.

Sauna safety: proceed with caution

As always, safety should be your number one priority. If you do choose to use a sauna while you have a cold, make sure you stay hydrated, limit the length of your sessions, and listen to your body. Remember, saunas are not suitable for everyone, particularly individuals with certain health conditions.

Article wrap up

So, are saunas the secret antidote to the common cold? The research says: not exactly. Saunas may provide some temporary relief from cold symptoms, but they’re not a cure. It may help with things like anxiety or sleep, but it’s not going to resolve your cold. Always approach sauna use with caution, and when in doubt, consult with a healthcare professional.

A message from Sauna Squad

We hope we’ve provided some value in your research. But if you have any questions or concerns, hit us up on Instagram @thesaunasquad or feel free to fire us a message on our contact page.

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