Every year, colds, chest congestion, and conditions like bronchitis and pneumonia rip through the community and leave millions of people feeling less than their best.
There are plenty of remedies you can use to combat these symptoms, from teas and tinctures to over-the-counter medications. If you’re looking for another, more natural solution, spending time in a sauna can also be useful.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of sauna usage for chest congestion, bronchitis, pneumonia, and more.
What Causes Chest Congestion?
One of the most common symptoms associated with respiratory infections, including colds, the flu, and bronchitis, is chest congestion. It occurs when excess fluids (such as mucus and phlegm) build up in the lungs.
The body produces extra phlegm when the membranes of the lungs are irritated, which can be caused by viruses and bacteria. The extra phlegm is meant to remove the irritates and reduce inflammation, but it can also cause symptoms of chest congestion in the process.
The following are some of the most common chest congestion symptoms:
- A heavy feeling in the chest
- Wheezing and shortness of breath
- Frequent coughing that produces phlegm
Is the Sauna Good for Chest Congestion?
Sitting in a sauna is an excellent option for those who are struggling with chest congestion. The hot air from the sauna helps to open up the airways, which makes it easier for you to breathe without wheezing or coughing.
Is the Sauna Good for Bronchitis?
You now know that spending time in the sauna is a good choice for those who have chest congestion caused by a cold. However, you might also be wondering, “is sauna good for bronchitis?”
The short answer is that, yes, the sauna is good for bronchitis. First of all, the sauna helps to open the airways and improve breathing, and breathing difficulties are common symptoms of bronchitis.
Furthermore, the sauna can also help you to recover from infections like bronchitis faster. For example, it heats the body and increases sweating, which helps with detoxification. The heat also improves blood flow and carries immunity-boosting cells throughout the body, while also delivering oxygen to the brain to reduce fatigue.
A lot of people also have questions about which combination is more effective: A steam room and bronchitis or a dry sauna and bronchitis?
In general, a dry sauna will be more beneficial because it heats the body to higher temperatures and offers more immune-boosting effects. However, sitting in a steam room can still feel nice and open up the airways a bit when you’re struggling with congestion.
Does a Sauna Help Pneumonia?
The benefits of sauna usage for colds and bronchitis also extend to other respiratory infections, such as pneumonia.
Pneumonia causes the air sacs of the lungs (also known as alveoli) to fill with fluid. This, in turn, causes symptoms like coughing, fevers, chills, and breathing difficulties. Using the sauna can help to open the airways and improve breathing in those with pneumonia, but a condition this serious can also be treated with other remedies like antibiotics.
In addition to reducing symptoms of pneumonia, regular sauna usage can also help to reduce your risk of developing pneumonia, as well as bronchitis and other illnesses, in the first place.
According to a 25-year study conducted by Bristol University, men who spent time in the sauna 2-3 times per week were 27 percent less likely to develop pneumonia than the men who rarely or never used the sauna. Furthermore, those who enjoyed 4 or more sessions per week were 41 percent less likely to develop pneumonia.
Saunas are useful for combating pneumonia and other illnesses, in part, because they have been shown to increase white blood cell count. White blood cells are part of the immune system and help the body to fight off infections.
Tips for Using the Sauna When Sick
Whether you’re dealing with a cold or a more serious infection, there are some best practices you should keep in mind when using the sauna. Here are some tips that will help you stay safe and get the most out of your time in the sauna:
If you’re feeling sick, even if you just have a cold with mild chest congestion, don’t go out to a public sauna at a gym or spa. If you do, you’ll likely spread your germs around and get other people sick.
Consider investing in an at-home sauna so you can experience the benefits without having to worry about infecting others.
Be sure to drink plenty of water before you sit in the sauna. You can even bring a bottle of water in with you so you don’t have to worry about becoming dehydrated. Dehydration will likely make your symptoms worse.
Avoid turning your sauna’s heat up too high, especially if you’re new to using the sauna in the first place. Start at the lower end of the suggested temperature range so you can enjoy the congestion-clearing benefits without overdoing it and potentially dehydrating yourself.
Keep Sessions Short
You don’t have to spend a lot of time in the sauna to experience benefits. In fact, when you’re sick, it’s better to spend less time and avoid putting too much stress on your body. Aim for 5-10-minute sessions so you can enjoy some relief while still taking it easy.
Try the Sauna for Chest Congestion Today
You can now answer questions like “is a dry sauna good for bronchitis?” and “is a dry sauna good for pneumonia?”, and you also know how to use the sauna for the best results. With this information in mind, are you ready to go ahead and invest in one for your home?
Having easy access to a sauna will make it easy for you to enjoy all of these benefits and feel your best, whether you’re just coming down with something or are in the throes of a new illness. Check out our selection of infrared saunas and traditional saunas today to find the perfect option for your home.
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.