The common cold is one of the diseases, which usually pass after a week with or without medications. However, it is a very uncomfortable condition that prevents us from performing our daily activities. Our grandparents know a bunch of home remedies that are proven cures for the common cold. One of them is the sauna.
Is the sauna miracle cure for the cold and flu, as many people claim? The results of some valuable research show that you can reduce the symptoms of the cold and flu and speed recovery if you use infrared sauna therapy in the early stage of the illness. There are claims that the heat in the sauna reduces symptoms by improving drainage, weakening viruses, and flushing out toxins from the body. What is the truth? Let’s see.
Can You Sweat Out a Cold?
In the very beginning, I would like to clarify one essential thing. The common cold and flu are different conditions. Symptoms are similar, but not the same.
When you suffer from the common cold, you will face sore throat, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and congestion. Flu is even worse. Except for all these symptoms, flu will cause headaches, fever, and muscle soreness.
Now, why anyone on the earth may believe that the sauna can help with this particular state? The explanation is not simple at all, but scientists have a few relevant theories about the subject. Plus, there are well-founded claims that you will be able to get over the common cold faster by using the sauna.
Basically, when you enter the traditional or infrared sauna, it will cause artificial hyperthermia, the fever state helping your body fight off the common cold. While sitting inside, the temperature of your skin will rise to 104 F (40 C). At the same time, your internal body temperature will reach 100 to 101 F (37.8 – 38.3 C).
The system is the same as old fashioned inhalation with the hot fumes of boiling water. My mother cured us with this method for years, but I find sitting in the sauna more efficient and pleasurable.
Positive Effects of the Sauna on the Common Cold
As you probably know, antibiotics or any other medications won’t work on the common cold. It is unrealistic to expect that the sauna can cure this condition miraculously, but it seems that it may relieve the symptoms.
There is a lot of evidence that sweating may help treat the common cold. For centuries, people have tried to alleviate symptoms of this condition by inhaling the warm steam and exercising.
For example, people in Scandinavia use the sauna for increasing immunity, mood, and longevity, as well as fighting with various diseases. Nowadays, there are many supporters of the theory that the sauna and steam room may help overcome the common cold. On average, spending 15 to 20 minutes in the sauna may help you feel better.
However, you should take care to drink enough water to avoid dehydration. Also, keep in mind that the sauna is just a small and enclosed cabin, which means that you need to think about other people using it. Warn them that you have a cold or use the sauna when there is no one else in it.
Raising body temperature
As I have already said, the main effect of the sauna is to cause hyperthermia. Fever is beneficial for the human body and helps it fight the viruses. By increasing the body temperatures, you will reduce the chances of the causative agent survives in your body.
French virologist Dr. Andre Lwoff, who got a Nobel Prize in 1965, had the theory that high temperatures combat the growth of the viruses during infection. Therefore, you shouldn’t bring the fever down with drugs. You can logically realize that raising the body temperature in the sauna may help that process.
Also, with increasing the body temperatures, your nervous system will start sending the specific messages to your sweat glands. As a response, they will begin secreting sweat through your skin.
Evaporation of water will cause a cooling effect. You should be aware that this process probably can’t shorten the time of illnesses, but can provide temporary relief of symptoms and help you feel better.
One of the primary symptoms of the common cold is congestion in sinuses and your lungs. While sitting in the infrared sauna, the warm air will open up the air passages and improve your breathing. Also, the heat will loosen mucus and help you to get rid of excessive amounts of it.
Adding essential oils in the water, which you should occasionally pour over rocks in the traditional sauna, may aid the decongestion process. It would be best to try with rosemary, eucalyptus, mint, or peppermint.
As soon as you start breathing more comfortable, you will feel better. However, be prepared that your nose will begin to become runny after opening.
Even though the sauna has numerous health benefits, you should be careful when using it if you have any cardiovascular problems. You don’t want to cure a common cold and face a heart issue at the same time.
A sore throat
The infrared light from the infrared sauna always heats the body from the inside out. As a result, it will raise the temperature of your body and consequently treat every pain, including a sore throat.
Also, heat will raise blood flow, which will lead to the oxygenation of body cells. That process boosts immunity and elevates the level of oxygen in your brain. So, you will feel alleviating muscle soreness and fatigue.
No one can confidently claim to what extent a sauna can accelerate healing. However, the fact is that, in combination with a moderate workout, it helps to prevent the common cold and alleviate symptoms when this unpleasant condition occurs.
If you stay hydrated, spend enough time resting, and avoid excessive strain, you will help your body get over the infection. Enter the traditional or infrared sauna, use some essential oil, and enjoy fighting the cold comfortably and pleasantly.