Sauna Therapy Can Fight Infections And Respiratory Diseases

Sauna Therapy Can Fight Infections And Respiratory Diseases

Sauna is a kind of heat bath. The use of dry heat causes high temperatures that induce a person to sweat heavily. There are various types of saunas, but most of them have wood-lined interiors that often use cedar, hemlock, or redwood. Electric stoves or wood-burning stoves are used to heat the stones inside the sauna.

Water is poured or splashed on these stones or the walls to increase the sauna’s humidity and make it more comfortable. Many saunas can have temperatures that go over the 180-degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s not a good idea to stay here for more than 20 minutes. It may seem dangerous, but it’s generally safe and good for health.

Sauna Therapy Can Fight Infections And Respiratory Diseases

Sauna is Said to Fight Infections

Since long ago, people have been sitting in a sauna as a way to fight off the flu. Back in World War II, it was even said that sauna therapy was extremely helpful in preventing typhus fever from spreading in Finnish troops. It was even the primary method of the Finnish people in typhus prevention.

They would go sauna bathing regularly, which was not only efficient but also part of their culture. There have been many studies published on sauna therapy’s ability to fight infections since then. These studies confirm that consistently sitting in a sauna is indeed a big help.

An example of these studies is a clinical study involving 50 patients. They divided the patients into two groups. One group was assigned to have sauna sessions. They sat in a sauna regularly for several months. The other group did not sit in a sauna at all, which did not show any notable health benefits.

Sauna therapy stops the common cold

Meanwhile, those who had sauna therapy experienced incredible benefits. One of which is the 50% reduced risk of developing the common cold. The benefits don’t stop there since they also shared a reduced risk of developing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases. This was true in the people who sat in the sauna at least four times a week.

Increased body temperature fights infections

It’s easy to see how the sauna helps combat infections. When you sit in a sauna, the heat boosts your core body temperature. As a result, it imitates a fever, which is the body’s first defense when you have an infection. This makes it sense that you can get rid of infections before you are even affected simply by going on a heat bath.

Too long in the sauna is bad for health

It has been established that sitting in a sauna is good for your health, especially if done regularly. However, it is not a good idea to do this to the point where your body temperature can cook on its own. Consistent use of sauna helps prevent viruses and bacteria from replicating in your body, which is vital before the infection causes a fever. With the sauna’s effect, the virus or bacteria can be stopped before getting to the lungs and taking hold there. However, too much heat can harm the body. It can make you pass out or even cause a heat stroke.

Sauna Therapy Can Fight Infections And Respiratory Diseases

The Effects of Sauna on the Body

Sauna therapy is excellent for fighting infections, but you must know how it affects the body. There are various ways that sitting in a sauna can combat respiratory diseases, as mentioned below.

Sauna causes hyperthermia

Sitting in a sauna causes your core body temperature to rise, which is known as hyperthermia. It essentially means that you are doing heat shock therapy, where the heat shocks the body with short-term stress. The idea is that after the body recovers from the stress, it becomes more resilient to anything that can oppress your health.

This process is called hormesis, which follows the same principle that what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. This actually applies to you when doing exercise or going on cold therapy. For example, in sauna therapy, you are battling with heat until it helps your immune system become more robust.

Sauna increases heat shock proteins

It wasn’t until recently when people learned about the sauna’s effect on viruses. In the beginning, what they only know is it increases the heat shock proteins (HSPs) production. These HSPs help prevent proteins from deteriorating due to heat shock or other things that cause them stress.

HSPs also help in stimulating the immune system, making them tougher. Heat shock proteins are capable as well as of directly hindering the replication of the influenza virus. The benefit of sauna through HSPs also includes boosting cell resistance to death due to external stressors.

To sum it up, there are three main benefits to increasing the production of heat shock proteins via sauna therapy. One, it boosts the immune system. Secondly, it stops viral replication. Third and last, it protects lung cells and the immune system when the body releases cytokines. 

Sauna therapy boosts the nitric acid release

There is more to what sauna therapy and HSPs can do for the immune system. For one, heat shock protein-70 fuels nitric acid release from monocytes. The nitric oxide released by this can prevent severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARs replication. Sauna therapy can also stimulate endothelial nitric oxide synthase or eNOS.

Infrared therapy boosts eNOS

Endothelial nitric oxide synthase or eNOS is the enzyme that creates nitric acid within the body. Typical sun therapy can already increase the production of this enzyme. But it is found that infrared sauna therapy can boost it even beyond. It, therefore, suggests that infrared has some extra benefits to traditional saunas.

Sauna Therapy Can Fight Infections And Respiratory Diseases

Sauna stimulates the immune system

A typical sauna session goes for at least 15 minutes. In as short as that and with a regular session, the body can already experience many benefits. For example, a 15-minute sauna therapy stimulates your immune system, resulting in more counts of white blood cells, neutrophils, basophils, and lymphocytes.

Sauna increases interferons’ antiviral effect

Increasing the core body temperature is also found to boost interferons’ ability to inhibit the development of pathogens. It is a big help to interferons that stimulate the body’s antiviral antibodies and improve the immune system. All these effects mentioned show that undergoing sauna therapy has many pathways towards fighting infections.


In summary, going on a sauna session for 15 to 30 minutes a day in about four days a week is good for your health. It will help boost your immune system, increase HSPs, and prevent the replication of viruses. In addition, many studies show that sauna therapy can help with the common cold, flu, pneumonia, and other respiratory illnesses.

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