Do Saunas Help with Sinus Infection?

Timothy Munene Timothy Munene
Do Saunas Help with Sinus Infection?

Managing a sinus infection can be frustrating. What with the thumping headaches, breathing struggles, and stubborn mucus that leaves you feeling miserable and exhausted? Thankfully, getting a sauna session can give you much-needed relief. But how does the sauna help with a sinus infection? Is there anything you can do to get the optimal therapeutic experience in the sauna? Read on to understand the role of saunas in relieving irksome sinus infections.

Understanding the Sinus Infection

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, a sinus infection is the accumulation of mucus in your sinuses. So, what are sinuses? These are inflated pockets above your cheeks and behind your cavities that keep bacteria away from your lungs.

A sinus infection occurs when bacterial growth triggers inflammation and swelling of your sinuses. Sinus infections can either be chronic or acute. While the former can persist for over 12 weeks, the latter lasts up to eight weeks. A common cold can cause an acute sinus infection. 

A chronic sinus infection can occur due to fungal contamination, a deviated septum, or nasal polyps. Sometimes, chronic sinus infections can trigger more severe issues like brain abscess or meningitis. You can detect a sinus infection from the following symptoms:

  • Bad breath
  • Stuffy nose
  • Reduced sense of smell
  • Headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Persistent cough
  • Dental pain
  • A yellow or green nasal discharge

Getting a sauna session can ease some discomfort if you or your loved one is experiencing nose blockage that makes breathing difficult. While the moisture and heat from a sauna may not cure your sinus infection, they can reduce stuffiness, dryness, and pressure. 

Will the Sauna Relieve a Sinus Infection?

Regular use of a sauna can help ease your sinus infection. By spending time inside a sauna, you can alleviate inflammation of the cavities surrounding your nasal passages, boosting blood circulation. Visiting the sauna regularly can accelerate your healing from the infection. The heat from the sauna helps unclog nasal passages of mucus, giving you much-needed relief. 

Why you Should use the Sauna to Relieve Your Sinus Infection

Scientific studies support saunas' impact on sinus infections. One study, conducted in 2016 and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, divulged a momentous finding: steam inhalation effectively reduced sinusitis symptoms and sinus-associated headaches. 

Another study conducted in 2021 and available in PubMed Central revealed that inhaling steam significantly relieved patients with rhinitis. Further, Medical News Today suggests that warm sauna vapor can thin out mucus from nasal passages, hydrating the respiratory tract and helping the body get rid of mucus more easily. Again, the heat inside the sauna can facilitate the opening up of blood vessels, allowing blood to flow into the sinuses, which oxygenates the tissues, helping them fight inflammation and sinus infection. 

It is worth mentioning that the benefits of regular sauna sessions surpass the fast relief of blocked nostrils. Remember, sinusitis can disrupt a patient’s sleep schedule. Researchers suggest that the human body temperature often drops before going to sleep. The cool-off phase post-sauna mimics this natural gesture, helping you get a good night’s sleep. 

Even though sauna-associated steam inhalation can relieve the symptoms of sinus infection, it is not sufficient for people with chronic sinusitis infection. As a result, it’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider and discuss how to treat your condition effectively, especially if you experience severe breathing difficulty, pain, or fever. 

What Kind of Sauna is the Most Effective for Sinus Infections?

With the infrared, traditional, and steam room saunas available, the pertinent question remains: which produces the best results for sinus infections? Some people with sinus infections often prefer infrared saunas because the infrared light stimulates the production of white blood cells.

The more white blood cells your body has, the better it can fight diseases and infections. Further, infrared saunas generate heat that penetrates the skin, causing perspiration and improving blood circulation.

Sinus infections often hinder blood circulation, preventing the smooth flow of nutrients and oxygen across the body. A full spectrum infrared sauna is one of the most effective units, but you can reap the same benefits from a steam room or traditional sauna.

Using the Traditional Sauna for Sinus Infection

The high heat from traditional saunas facilitates mucus drainage from the nasal passage and weakens bacteria and viruses. Often, traditional saunas can be 180°F. Avoid spending over 20 minutes inside the traditional sauna. 

Using the Steam Room Sauna for Sinus Infection

Some people prefer the steam room sauna for relieving their sinus infections. The steam room helps clear congestion in the lungs and sinuses, which is essential in treating colds, unclogging sinuses, and aiding breathing.

Just like in the traditional sauna, don’t spend too much time inside the steam room. You can get dehydrated, which can thicken mucus and create more pressure in your sinuses. A steam room session can help clear mucus that causes sinus infections, helping you breathe better. When used inappropriately, steam room sauna sessions can worsen your sinus infection. 

Using the Infrared Sauna for a Sinus Infection

Infrared saunas fight sinus infections by acting as a natural healing property. Proper use of these units helps maximize benefits. The air inside an infrared sauna is similar to the air outside the room.

Infrared saunas heat you instead of the air inside the room. The temperature inside the unit is usually between 120°F and 140°F. Spending 15 minutes inside the infrared sauna is enough. Ensure you drink sufficient water before, during, and after your sauna session. 

How to Use Saunas for Sinus Infection Effectively

Here are some tips to help you get the best out of your sauna session. 

·       Choose the Right Time for Your Sauna Session

Many people experience discomfort, stuffiness, and increased inflammation during the night, more so when lying down. As a result, evenings can be the most appropriate time to spend some time inside the sauna.

Studies suggest that moist heat is vital in draining clogged mucus. Likewise, sauna heat can lower cortisol levels. It is worth noting that stress can worsen your body’s inflammatory response; therefore, having a sauna session in the evening will help relieve the tension, preventing your sinuses from inflaming. 

·       Frequency

If you can spend more time in the sauna, that would be better. Frequent sauna sessions help clear your sinus infection faster. Try to get three sauna sessions every week. 

·       Maintain Calmness

Relaxation is crucial for fast recovery. Practice meditation or deep breathing. You can also rinse the sinuses using a Neti pot with saline solution. Doing so before your sauna session helps clear debris and inflammation from the nose. 

·       Aromatherapy

Add some drops of eucalyptus oil to the sauna bucket that holds sauna stones. The vapor will help clear nasal congestion. 

·       Duration

Adopt a 15-minute sauna session routine to ease sinus infections. This duration is long enough to help you gain the benefits and brief enough to prevent potential risks associated with prolonged exposure to high heat. 


After use, take time to cool down before taking a shower. Remember to drink lots of fluids to replenish losses from sweating and maintain proper hydration levels. Avoid strenuous activity such as working out after your sauna session. Instead, relax and rest to recover and heal. Doing so helps you maximize the sauna’s benefits. 


Getting a sauna session can help relieve sinus infection symptoms, enabling you to clear your blocked nasal path and breathe better. Whether you choose a traditional, infrared, or steam room sauna, it’s important to use it cautiously to avoid unnecessary risks. Stay hydrated before, during, and after your sauna session to avoid dehydration, which can worsen your sinus infection. Always consult your health provider before using a sauna, especially if you have other underlying conditions.

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