The immune system protects the body against a wide range of illnesses and infections. When your immune system isn’t functioning optimally, you’re at risk of getting sick and spreading illnesses to others.
Are you looking to protect yourself and others by keeping your immune system strong? If so, spending time in a sauna is one of the best things you can do.
Read on to find out why.
How Does the Sauna Help Your Immune System?
The short answer to the question “Does sauna boost immune system function?” is “Yes.” If you want to know what the link is between using the sauna and immune system support, though, here are some important facts to keep in mind:
Increased White Blood Cell Production
Spending time in the sauna has been shown to increase the production of white blood cells. White blood cells are a crucial component of the immune system and are responsible for fighting off foreign invaders.
Saunas support this process because they increase the core body temperature. This, in turn, creates a temporary and artificial fever. A fever, real or artificial, triggers your immune system and increases the production of white blood cells, which help the body to fight off infections and recover faster.
More Efficient Detox
Sauna usage supports the body’s natural detox processes, too.
One of the primary ways that the body gets rid of toxins is by sweating. Because saunas raise the core body temperature, they cause you to sweat and eliminate toxic, potentially harmful substances like heavy metals and air pollutants through your pores.
When you’re feeling stressed, your body goes into a “fight or flight” state. When you’re in this state, your immune system's ability to fight off antigens decreases and you become more susceptible to infections.
Spending time in a sauna regularly is a great way to reduce stress levels by practicing meditation or mindfulness. It helps you build peace and calmness into your day, which helps you manage stress more effectively.
Sauna usage has been shown to improve sleep quality, too. If you’re feeling relaxed and at peace, you’ll have an easier time winding down and falling asleep when nighttime rolls around.
If you’re a little under the weather already, sleep is essential for supporting your body’s recovery and improving its ability to fight off infections in the future. Spending time in the sauna can help you enjoy more restful nights, which in turn allows you to get over illnesses faster.
What Kind of Sauna Should You Use?
When it comes to using the sauna and immunity-boosting, there are lots of different devices that offer similar benefits. The following are some examples of saunas you might want to use to support your immune system:
Infrared saunas use light to create heat. Also known as a far infrared sauna, immune system benefits are one of the top reasons why people seek these devices out.
Infrared saunas are also good choices because they produce results with lower temperatures compared to traditional saunas. For those who can’t tolerate the high heat that traditional saunas produce, infrared is a great alternative.
Traditional saunas heat the air around you rather than using light to heat the body directly.
Traditional saunas offer the same immune-boosting benefits as infrared saunas. However, they also heat the body more than infrared saunas, which can make them uncomfortable or inaccessible to some people.
How to Use a Sauna for Immunity
It doesn’t matter if you’re using an infrared sauna for immunity boosting or a traditional sauna, you’ll follow the same basic steps to experience the benefits discussed above. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your sauna use:
Saunas naturally raise the body temperature and cause you to sweat.
Although sweating supports detoxification and boosts the immune system, it can also cause you to lose precious fluids and electrolytes. Make sure you’re hydrated before you get in the sauna so you don’t lose too much water.
Adjust the Temperature
You don’t have to crank the temperature up as high as it can go the first time you step into the sauna. In fact, it’s better to keep the temperature at the lower end of the recommended range so that you can gradually acclimate yourself to the sauna.
In addition to starting with a lower temperature, it’s also best to start with a lower amount of time in the sauna. Even 5 minutes can help you experience some immune-boosting benefits without being too overwhelming.
Over time, you can increase to 10, 15, and even 20-minute sessions (most exports don’t recommend spending more than 20 minutes in the sauna at a time).
Sit Still or Stretch
You may have seen people showing off online by doing workouts in the sauna. Don’t follow in their footsteps. This is too taxing on your body and could cause you to become dehydrated or even pass out. Sit still and relax while you’re in the sauna, or maybe do some light stretching. Remember, this is meant to be stress-relieving.
Be consistent with your sauna usage. Aim for at least a few sessions per week when you get started. Over time, you can gradually increase to one session per day.
Finally, don’t forget to rehydrate when you’re finished. Drink plenty of water after your sauna session so you can replenish the fluids you lost while you were in there sweating.
Experience the Benefits of Sauna Use Today
Once you learn how sauna use and immune system function work together, it’s natural to want to use the sauna regularly — maybe even daily.
The best way to make sauna use a consistent part of your routine is to set one up in your home. Whether you want to invest in an infrared sauna or a traditional sauna, we’ve got you covered at Sun Home Saunas.
Visit our shop today to check out our selection and find the perfect one for your needs.
If you don't have the money or space for an actual sauna, Sun Home Saunas' portable infrared sauna blankets are an excellent alternative that provide many of the same wellness benefits.