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Article: Can Saunas Help with Sinus Infections?

Can Saunas Help with Sinus Infections?

Can Saunas Help with Sinus Infections?

Written by Chris Lang

Stuffy noses are never pleasant. They can bring down your mood and ruin your day, but there are certain steps you can take to improve your condition. One possible method you may have heard about is to use a sauna for sinus infection relief. But can saunas really alleviate sinus infection symptoms? Or is it only a myth?

Well, there’s a lot of evidence out there to suggest that spending time in a sauna can indeed help when you’re suffering from a sinus infection. This guide will explore exactly how saunas work to alleviate congestion, while also exploring the scientific studies and research to back up those claims.

What Is a Sinus Infection?

A sinus infection, otherwise known as sinusitis, is when the tissues within the sinuses become inflamed. Viruses are usually to blame, but bacteria, fungi, and even allergic responses can all trigger sinus infections, too. Common symptoms include a stuffed or runny nose, along with aches in the nose, head, and cheeks.

Sinusitis should usually go away on its own within about a week, but there are various treatments that sufferers can use to minimize symptoms. Over-the-counter decongestants, for instance, can help open the nasal passages and ease congestion.

Sinusitis vs. Common Cold: What’s the Difference?  

The common cold can cause many of the same symptoms as sinusitis, so it can be tricky to tell them apart. They’re both treated in similar ways, too. The biggest difference is that the common cold is caused specifically by the cold virus, while sinusitis can be caused by various kinds of viruses and bacteria or even fungi.

Types of Saunas: Traditional vs. Infrared

If you’re considering using a sauna for sinus infection, it’s first important to understand the different types of sauna available. There are traditional saunas, which use the old-fashioned hot rocks and steam to warm up the room. Then, there are also infrared (IR) saunas, which shine infrared light to penetrate the skin and warm your body from within.

Is infrared sauna better than regular sauna? Not necessarily, but these saunas work differently, giving them unique benefits. The advantages of an IR sauna are that it heats the body directly, rather than the surrounding room. It also works at a lower and more comfortable heat than a traditional sauna, which may make it more enjoyable for those who find usual saunas too hot. On the other hand, the increased humidity in a regular sauna can promote easier breathing.

Infrared Saunas: A Closer Look

There are various health benefits of infrared heat that can be enjoyed by spending time in an IR sauna. Healthline notes that there isn’t a huge amount of solid evidence yet, due to a lack of studies on the subject. However, the studies so far have provided promising results, suggesting that these saunas can help with circulation and blood pressure. Contact Komowa Wellness to find out about IR saunas and the various models available for home use.

How Saunas Might Help With Sinus Infections

Spending time in a sauna could alleviate sinusitis symptoms, and the main way in which they do this is via heat. The heat opens up the airways throughout the sinuses, alleviating some of the pressure on the nose and around the face. It’s similar to holding your head over a pot of simmering water or draping a warm, wet cloth over your face when you feel stuffy and congested.

It’s also believed that saunas, including IR saunas, boost circulation. Again, this is thanks to the high temperatures they can generate. The heat helps to boost blood flow by opening up the blood vessels. This helps more oxygen flow through the system to organs and muscles, which can also help to relieve sinusitis symptoms.

Heat and Congestion: A Relief Mechanism?

Various studies have examined the links between sauna heat and nasal congestion, with very promising findings. As explained above, the heat helps open up the sinus passages and dilate the blood vessels around the face. This gets air and blood flowing in key areas to relieve pressure, reducing symptoms like stuffiness or headaches.

The Science Behind Saunas and Sinus Infections

There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence behind saunas helping sinus infections. But, before booking a sauna appointment or installing your own home sauna, you may want to know what the science has to say about it.

What Does the Research Say?

As stated above, there have been multiple studies into the effects of saunas on nasal congestion and sinusitis symptoms. In general, the studies have produced positive results, suggesting that spending time in a sauna can indeed improve circulation and ease symptoms. In addition, studies have shown that saunas can help people relax and feel calmer, which may help them get more rest and recover quicker while suffering from a virus-related sinus infection.

Risks and Precautions

In general, research has found no adverse effects from using a sauna in moderation for most people. However, some individuals, such as those with conditions like cardiovascular disease, should consult their doctor before using a sauna. It’s also important to stay hydrated when using a sauna and avoid spending too much time in it.

When to Avoid the Sauna

Avoid using a sauna if:

  • You have consumed alcohol recently

  • You have a heart condition

  • You are pregnant

  • You have very low blood pressure

  • You have a fever

Conclusion: Should You Use a Sauna for a Sinus Infection?  

Evidently, there are multiple sauna benefits during illness. Particularly, if you have a sinus infection with a blocked nose, spending time in a traditional or IR sauna could provide some relief. It won’t cure your infection, but it can make it much more bearable to deal with. So, it might be something to consider if you’re feeling a bit stuffy, and you can contact Komowa Wellness today to learn more and schedule your sessions.


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