Infrared light therapy is a modern technology that has attracted the attention of many researchers researching its health benefits. From weight loss to detoxification, infrared saunas have shown colorful results in recent studies. In this article, we attempt to summarize what we currently know about the positive effect of infrared sauna therapy on treating the common cold and flu.
What is an Infrared Sauna, and How Does it Work?
An infrared sauna is a type of sauna that emits infrared light that is absorbed by and heats the skin, despite the traditional saunas that increase the temperature of the air around you. Infrared saunas are proven more energy efficient and offer more comfort due to easier breathing while retaining almost all of the benefits of the traditional saunas.
Among the many advantages of infrared saunas over traditional saunas, one could mention adjustable heat and operation under 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal for those who have sensitive skin and cannot tolerate high temperatures.
Infrared Sauna Benefits for Your Health
Infrared sauna therapy has several noteworthy health benefits. Infrared saunas trigger your sweat glands by increasing your core body temperature, resulting in several health benefits. Active sweating helps you get rid of toxins and leads to detoxification. When added to active sweating, higher core body temperature increases the heart rate, resembles intense physical exercise, and helps you burn calories and lose weight while relaxing!
This increase in heart rate and core body temperature improves blood circulation and cardiovascular muscles, which leads to blood pressure regulation and facilitates breathing due to higher Oxygen intake. The detoxification process gets rid of dead skin cells. Stress reduction allows for the allocation of extra energy to cell rejuvenation. These mechanisms provide you with perfect cellulite-free skin and prevent aging!
Infrared sauna therapy has been proven effective in treating many health conditions. We can mention various cardiovascular, neurological, and respiratory diseases, pain and inflammation alleviation, Lyme disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, and many more. It is worth noting that it is always necessary to consult your doctor about whether infrared sauna therapy is the right choice based on your medical evaluations.
Infrared Saunas for Cold & Flu Prevention
The common cold is an acute infection of the nose and throat. It is usually caused by “Rhinovirus,” a very contagious virus transmitted mainly by inhalation and physical contact. Due to its viral nature, avoiding sick individuals and regularly washing your hands does not guarantee safety from this virus, so it is most beneficial to try improving your immune system.
Recent findings show that a regimen of infrared sauna therapy leads to a much lower chance of catching a common cold. In a study conducted in 1990, a group of 25 healthy individuals was treated with a regimen of sauna bathing for six months, while another group of 25 healthy individuals was held as a control. The results demonstrated an impressive decrease in the number of colds in the treatment group compared to the control, especially towards the last three months when the number of cold incidents was almost half that of the control group.
It is not clearly known what mechanisms of sauna therapy lead to these results, but some of the most scientifically-backed explanations are as follows:
- Artificial Fever:
What happens when your body goes into emergency mode when a viral infection occurs? Your body increases your core body temperature to fight off the viruses! Infrared waves penetrate your skin and deliver heat to more central tissues of your body, which is similar to natural fever. Fortunately, you will not face the side effects of fever since the temperature does not reach the fever level.
Hormesis is a small amount of stress that pushes your body to get stronger. Exercise is an excellent example of hormesis. The sudden increase in the core body temperature caused by infrared heat causes small safe heat and oxidative stress in your body, resulting in the secretion of heat-shock proteins that improve the immune system against viruses.
Another study shows that this sudden rise in body temperature increases the number of CD8 Cytotoxic T-cells, a type of immune cell designed to fight off viral infections. It has also been observed that heat shock increases cell energy production, stimulating white blood cells and helping grow the number of antibodies.
- Stress Reduction:
Cortisol, a chemical released in the body under stress, is an antiviral immune system suppressor. Relaxing in your infrared sauna after a long stressful day can be a great way to redeem your body’s balance and lower cortisol levels. This is especially helpful after intense exercise sessions when your cortisol level immensely increases.
- Sleep Improvement:
Deeper sleep improves the immune system. Winter weather disrupts the depth of sleep, resulting in fatigue, mood swings, and even catching a cold. A steep decrease in body temperature signals your body that it is time for sleep and often results in higher-quality sleep. An infrared sauna session after a cold winter day can not only provide you with this temperature decline but also improve your overall sleep quality by lowering your stress levels.
Infrared Sauna for Treatment of the Common Cold & Flu
Hyperthermia, or abnormal overheating of the body, is one of the main ways infrared sauna therapy can help treat a cold or flu. We already mentioned that artificial fever helps kill viruses and germs in the body. It can also help the body better remember how to fight them. Although these benefits might seem enough to alleviate the symptoms and lower the duration of illness when added to traditional cold medicine, there are several other ways an infrared sauna therapy can help with your cold.
- Blood Circulation:
As the core body temperature rises, the blood vessels dilate, and blood flow increases. This cardiovascular reaction has several benefits that can help treat the common cold and flu or alleviate the symptoms. Infrared sauna therapy is widely known for helping with inflammation, which is the body’s response to viral infection or injury. The amount of C-reactive proteins measures inflammation, and the studies show that a regimen of infrared sauna therapy decreases the amount of this type of protein.
The common cold and flu create inflammation in the upper respiratory system, which consists of the nose and nasal cavity, pharynx, and larynx. Alleviation of inflammation in these areas allows for easier breathing and more Oxygen intake. Higher core body temperature delivers more oxygen to the brain and immune system when added to increased blood flow, facilitating recovery.
Infrared sauna therapy helps your body get rid of germs and viruses through sweating, and infrared heat waves deeply penetrate fat cells, triggering the cells to discard the toxins stored in them. The lymphatic system, the system responsible for fighting against toxins and regaining balance and homeostasis in the body, cannot do this naturally. Infrared sauna therapy facilitates this process and helps improve your lymphatic system and, thus, your immune system. This especially comes in handy when the body is dealing with a viral infection and needs a boost.
- Immune Cells:
As discussed earlier, artificial fever increases the number of T-Cells and white blood cells, the cells responsible for fighting the body’s germs and viruses. The increased blood flow helps send these antibodies to the infected areas faster and allows for quicker recovery.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Sauna Session for Treating Cold and Flu
Though an infrared sauna is by itself a great tool for improving your immune system and recovering from a cold or flu, there are some tips you could use to get the most out of your infrared sauna therapy session. Here are some great tips for this end:
The body gets extremely dehydrated during a cold or flu, which is why doctors always tell you to drink lots of fluid when you get sick. Infrared sauna therapy also heavily dehydrates your body, considering that a cold or flu can be dangerous without enough hydration. If you are using infrared sauna therapy during a cold or flu, make sure to hydrate much more than you usually do while you still have symptoms.
If you can, try to stretch a little before your infrared sauna therapy session. This helps wake up your body and improves blood flow, giving you the best sauna therapy results.
- Healthy Diet:
It is not a secret that your body needs nutrients to fight a cold or flu. Make sure to include sources of vitamins and proteins in your diet, especially fruits and vegetables like citrus fruits that are rich in vitamin C.
- Consult Your Doctor:
Though lots of fluid, nutritious foods and infrared sauna therapy greatly help treat cold and flu, nothing takes the place of a doctor’s prescription. Always try to consult with your doctor before using infrared sauna therapy for treating an illness, even for the common cold and flu.
Best Infrared Saunas for Fighting Cold & Flu Symptoms
Regarding the general health benefits of infrared saunas, like cold and flu treatment and prevention, any infrared sauna does the job. However, some infrared saunas have specific features that might boost the results.
- Sunray Savannah
The Savannah model by sunray is a high-quality and spacious infrared sauna that provides you with a fantastic sauna experience. The nano heaters in this model penetrate your skin deeply, providing better hyperthermia benefits while guaranteeing very low EMF (Electromagnetic Field) for safer use. Unlike ceramic heaters, these heaters do not need replacement and will last a lifetime with little to no need to repair.
In addition, Savannah’s air purifier is another valuable feature of this sauna, which can facilitate breathing while battling cold or flu symptoms. In addition, the inner chromotherapy system installed on the ceiling of the sauna helps you retain your body’s energy balance and lower your stress levels, which directly contributes to your immune system boost.
The spacious design of this model allows you to lie down on the bench and expose all of your body to infrared waves to ensure the best results.
To learn more about the Savannah model on our website, click here.
- Dynamic Barcelona
The Barcelona model from Dynamic Sauna is a compact economy option that provides you with all the typical health benefits of infrared saunas and most of the necessary features. This model is very popular among customers looking to find a high-quality product who do not want to invest more than they need to.
To learn more about this model by Dynamics on our website, click here.
- Golden Designs 2-Person Full Spectrum
This model by Golden Designs is one of the most popular full-spectrum models in this price range. The advantage Full Spectrum models have over other infrared saunas in the context of cold and flu treatment and prevention is that this technology makes a more significant contribution to your immune system by triggering mitochondria production in immune cells, increasing their growth and activity.
The Himalayan salt bar used in this sauna will boost your mood, improve air quality and enhance sleep, all of which can directly lead to lower stress levels and better toxification, resulting in a boost in the immune system.
To learn more about this model by Golden Designs on our website, click here.
Conclusion: Why You Should Use an Infrared Sauna to Treat Your Colds and Flus
Although infrared sauna therapy might not replace cold and flu medicine, it can help with treatment. Infrared sauna therapy creates an artificial fever in the body that helps kill germs and viruses and stimulates growth and activity in immune cells.
The higher core body temperature leads to extensive respiration that cleans the body of toxins and lowers cortisol levels, significantly boosting the immune system. The steep decrease in core body temperature after the session increases sleep quality, another contributor to immune system improvement. To get the most out of your infrared sauna sessions to prevent or recover from the cold and flu, you must drink plenty of fluids and maintain a healthy balanced diet. In addition, always make sure to consult with your doctor before using infrared saunas for a particular health condition.
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