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Article: The Science Behind Saunas: How Sauna Benefits Can Soothe Cold Symptoms and Relieve Sore Throat

The Science Behind Saunas: How Sauna Benefits Can Soothe Cold Symptoms and Relieve Sore Throat

The Science Behind Saunas: How Sauna Benefits Can Soothe Cold Symptoms and Relieve Sore Throat

Written by Chris Lang


Having a sore throat is never a pleasant experience. It aches, stings, and often seems to last for quite a while, providing consistent pain and discomfort throughout the day and night. Naturally, many people want to find ways to relieve their sore throats, and one of the most commonly asked questions on the matter is “Is a sauna good for a sore throat?”

Well, we know that saunas can provide an array of health benefits, from boosting bloodflow to soothing certain aches and pains throughout the body. This guide will dive into the science behind sauna usage and common cold symptoms, such as sore throat. We’ll explore whether or not saunas are good for a sore throat, and how to use them to get the best effects.

Understanding Sore Throat

Before we start looking at the big questions, like “Can a sauna help with a cold?,” it’s important to have a clear understanding of what a sore throat is and what it’s caused by. While the vast majority of people experience sore throats on a regular basis, many may be unaware of their precise causes and the different ways in which they can manifest.

A sore throat is characterized by pain or irritation of the throat. It’s usually persistent, and often feels particularly painful when you swallow. Other symptoms may include sore or swollen glands, swollen tonsils, pain while talking, and difficulty swallowing. In addition, sore throats may be linked with other cold and flu symptoms, like sneezing, a fever, a cough, and headaches.

This is because, more often than not, a sore throat will be caused by common cold or flu viruses. However, it’s also possible for bacteria to cause sore throats. Strep throat, for instance, is associated with streptococcal bacteria and often requires the use of antibiotics to treat, while viral sore throats tend to go away on their own.

Apart from a viral or bacterial infection, allergic reactions can cause aches in the throat, and so does very dry air or irritants in the air you breathe, especially if you primarily breathe through your mouth. Even muscle strains, caused by singing, screaming, or shouting, may leave someone with a painful throat.

Saunas and Sore Throat Relief

Whether caused by a viral infection or some other factor, sore throats are not fun to deal with. Since common viral infections don’t have pharmaceutical treatments, people try to relieve the symptoms and ease their suffering without resorting to medicine. So, is a sauna good for a sore throat? And could using the sauna help alleviate your throat pain? Let’s find out, with a look at some scientific studies and claims on the subject.

Can Sauna Use Alleviate Sore Throat?

A lot of people are eager to find out, “Is a sauna good for a sore throat?” Well, the answer isn’t as simple as either a “yes” or a “no.” This is due to the fact that there haven’t actually been too many studies specifically on the subject of whether or not taking a sauna can help with a sore throat. Therefore, we can’t definitively claim if saunas are helpful or not.

However, there have been a lot of promising studies and discoveries to suggest that sauna use should help to alleviate the symptoms. For example, several studies have demonstrated how saunas can ease pain, like headaches or chronic pain. Research into sauna and heart health has also found that saunas boost the cardiovascular system, possibly aiding with recovery and immune response.

Infrared saunas may be particularly useful for those who are struggling with sore throats and cold symptoms. This is because they operate at lower temperatures than traditional saunas, warming the body from within using IR light, which can make them more comfortable. Contact Komowa Wellness today to learn more or find the right IR sauna for you.

The Benefits of Sauna Heat

Saunas work by generating high levels of heat, warming the body in order to provide an array of health and wellness benefits. And it’s this heat that may be able to help with sore throats.

For example, the high heat of saunas has been proven to provide cardiovascular benefits and boost the flow of blood throughout the body. With more blood flowing through your system, delivering oxygen and immune support to key areas, like the throat, you may be able to recover faster and experience notable relief from inflammation and your sore throat symptoms.

Not only can heat help to dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow, but some studies suggest that an increase in body temperature may also boost white blood cell production. This is good for sore throats, as extra white blood cells give your body a better chance of battling away any infections, like cold and flu viruses.

Steam Rooms and Sore Throat Relief

In a dry sauna, you usually inhale hot, dry air. However, steam rooms work a little differently, making the air very moist, with almost 100% humidity. Inhaling hot, wet air could also be beneficial for a sore throat. Studies have looked into this, finding how steam is able to moisten the airways and sinuses, providing certain patients with noticeable relief from pain, congestion, and typical cold symptoms.

However, other studies have been less optimistic, stating that steam room usage may not provide any genuine, long-lasting benefits or harms for sore throats. However, since steam rooms aren’t really dangerous for sore throats and could provide you with some relief, it’s worth giving them a try. Just be sure to limit your time in the room, as excessive exposure can lead to dehydration.

Using Saunas for Cold and Flu Symptoms

A sore throat is just one of the many symptoms of cold and flu viral infections. Headaches, blocked and runny noses, congestion, and fevers can also come along with these common illnesses. And, once again, saunas might be able to help.

Saunas and the Common Cold

When it comes to whether or not saunas can relieve cold symptoms, there’s more scientific evidence to draw on. And the evidence is very promising. There are studies to suggest that spending time in a sauna can help relieve or even prevent the onset of colds. In addition, other studies note that regular sauna bathing can help people catch fewer colds in their lives.

At the same time, other studies have concluded that breathing in hot, dry air inside a sauna has no significant impact on overall symptom severity of the common cold, including sore throats and runny noses. In other words, the jury’s out on how useful a sauna session really is to relieve symptoms of a cold, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

As explained earlier on, sauna heat can widen the blood vessels throughout the body. This boosts blood flow, which can help the body cope with inflammation and infection more quickly, delivering oxygen and white blood cells where needed. Many people also find that spending time in a sauna soothes and relaxes them, which can help to make colds more manageable.

Saunas as a Complementary Approach for Flu Relief

Flus tend to be more serious than colds, and have to be treated as such. While studies into sauna with a fever have provided promising results, saunas should only be regarded as a potential complementary treatment method for those suffering from a flu. They may be able to provide relief from the likes of headaches and congestion, and saunas could help with sore throats, too.

However, flus also require additional care and treatments in order to soothe their symptoms and ease the suffering of the patient. Antiviral medications, for example, may be required to help patients deal with the flu. In addition, those in at-risk groups, like people above 65 or those with certain medical conditions, may require additional care.

Precautions and Considerations

While saunas may be able to provide light or temporary relief from sore throats, they have to be used with care. There are certain risks that come from using a sauna, especially when you’re sick. Here’s a quick guide to some essential precautions and considerations to keep in mind.

When Saunas May Not Be Suitable

In some cases, inhaling dry air in a sauna may not provide much benefit to a sore throat. Those with serious bacterial infections, like strep throat, for instance, are recommended to seek medical assistance, rather than relying on a sauna to ease their conditions. In addition, if you happen to have any cardiovascular issues, like low blood pressure or heart problems, it’s always best to speak with a doctor before stepping into a sauna.

Tips for Sauna Use

If you’re planning to use a sauna for sore throat, here are some handy tips to help you stay safe:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water both before and after your sauna session to minimize the risk of dehydration. This is particularly important when ill.

  • Use the sauna solo: Sharing a sauna with someone else while you’re ill could significantly increase the risk of passing your infection to that other person, especially in a steam sauna.

  • Know your limits: Stick to short sauna sessions, and always stop the sauna and step out right away if you start feeling dizzy, drowsy, or worse.


As we can see, sore throats may indeed be helped by spending a little time in the sauna. The high heat and unique therapeutic benefits of saunas has helped a lot of people experience relief from cold and flu symptoms in the past, even though scientific studies haven’t arrived at any definitive conclusions on the matter.

However, it’s important to note that saunas should only be seen as a supplementary or extra way to ease a sore throat and other cold symptoms. They should not be considered a cure or used as the only treatment method for your illness.

Instead, use them as part of a holistic, medical approach to sore throat management, and always consult healthcare professionals for expert advice when suffering from severe sore throats. To learn more about saunas and their benefits, browse the Komowa Academy.


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