Is Sauna Good For Pneumonia?

Infrared Sauna Benefits for Pneumonia Symptoms


Clearlight would like to remind users that this should not be taken as direct medical advice, and you should always consult a licensed health practitioner before making any significant changes to your lifestyle or existing pain treatment regimen.

Jump to article highlights:

• Sauna use, specifically dry saunas, lowers your risk of not only pneumonia but also other lung conditions.

• Saunas are only useful for preventing pneumonia and should never be used in acute circumstances.

• The evidence is reasonably strong that saunas will lower your risk of getting pneumonia.

Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or other organisms. This type of lung infection can be very unpleasant and even dangerous, leaving sufferers with symptoms such as fever, difficulty breathing, coughing up mucus, chest pain, and rapid heart rate.

While traditional treatments are focused on curing the infection with antibiotics and other medications, saunas may also offer some benefits for people with pneumonia. In this blog were going to find out what the literature says about saunas being a viable method for treating and/or helping the symptoms of pneumonia.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a very serious infection of the lungs that can affect anyone but is especially dangerous in the elderly and young populations. There are several risk factors associated with pneumonia, including pre-existing conditions, such as chronic bronchitis, older age, and weakened immune systems.

What are the symptoms of Pneumonia?

Hallmark symptoms include chest pain, fever, coughing, fatigue, loss of appetite and sometimes vomiting or diarrhoea and difficulty breathing. Shortness of breath happens because the body’s ability to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the bloodstream and have oxygen (O2) taken up by the bloodstream is impaired.

How does Pneumonia affect lung function?

The infection can fill up the air sacs in your lungs with fluid and pus, which can make it harder for oxygen to enter your bloodstream. As with any illness, the earlier you seek help from your doctor after noticing any of the above symptoms, the better your chance of recovering quickly and avoiding future complications related to the illness.

If left untreated for any length of time, pneumonia has been known to develop into lifelong lung projects or even lead to death. These adverse health outcomes  prove to be a substantial public health burden on society.

What causes Pneumonia?

Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses, toxins or other compounds, and can differ according to the location and intensity of the inflammation symptoms. Treatment for acute pneumonia involves antibiotics; however, prevention should be your primary focus. Building up a strong immune system is key since it helps protect you from getting infected in the first place.

How can you prevent future risk of Pneumonia?

You can help prevent yourself from contracting pneumonia by:

  • eating a nutrient-dense diet full of fresh vegetables and fruits
  • exercising regularly for at least 30 minutes every day
  • staying hydrated
  • getting enough sleep each night
  • avoiding processed foods
  • reducing stress levels
  • and quitting smoking if applicable.

Managing your health now is key for the future prevention of long-term repercussions. ​​By taking these steps you can help lower your risk of developing pneumonia significantly, but that's not all you can do. Sauna bathing can provide numerous health benefits that support what's mentioned above and other major contributing risk factors.

What are the implications on our society from pneumonia?

It is estimated pneumonia causes over 17 million deaths each year, most of whom are children under the age of five living in developing countries. But it doesn’t end there: pneumonia can also affect people of all socioeconomic statuses.

The annual global economic cost associated with pneumonia is estimated at around $14 billion per year, made up largely of medical expenses and lost wages due to hospitalisation. Pneumonia has been described as a “hidden killer” due to its disproportionate effect on the elderly and immunocompromised - such as people with kidney and liver disease, and prevalent coronary heart disease.

It has an especially heavy burden among indigenous populations in Canada, Australia and New Zealand due to socioeconomic status such as overcrowded living conditions and limited access to healthcare.

Furthermore, certain elements - such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, air pollution, airborne allergens and viral infections - increase the prevalence of pneumonia in any given population.

Is sauna bathing good for Pneumonia?

Sauna bathing has long been known to have many positive health benefits, but can frequent sauna bathing help with pneumonia specifically?

Although it wouldn't be wise to rely on a single Finnish sauna bath to cure pneumonia, frequent and regular sauna bathing may reduce the risk of developing pneumonia due to its ability to strengthen the cardiovascular and immune systems.

Studies suggest that regular sauna sessions strengthen the heart and lungs while reducing inflammation, both of which could help protect you from developing pneumonia.

Do infrared saunas help with chronic respiratory diseases?

Infrared saunas are becoming a popular way to improve overall health, but they have demonstrated efficacy in helping with chronic respiratory diseases. Inflammatory responses in lung tissue, commonly caused by particles and air pollutants, can lead to chronic respiratory concerns.

Fortunately, infrared sauna bathing or Waon therapy, provides hope in treating these issues. Far infrared sauna bathing may reduce pulmonary hypertension associated with poor prognosis while improving lung function and cardiac function in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - shown in this study.

Infrared saunas may not be a cure-all, but they can provide relief from inflammatory lung diseases and help improve breathing capability. In addition, using infrared saunas is a relaxation practice that aids in reducing stress levels and improving overall well-being.

Sweating also helps remove toxins from an individual's body, aiding in respiratory distress relief, another potential benefit in regards to helping to avoid or recover from pneumonia.


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Sauna bathing found a reduced risk of pneumonia: A prospective cohort study concludes

A prospective cohort study looked at how inflammatory pathways are involved in the pathogenesis of pneumonia and found that frequent sauna sessions may reduce the risk of respiratory tract infections including pneumonia, independent of inflammation.

2264 middle aged caucasian men between the ages of 42 - 61 years participated in the study for an average period of 26.6 years. Out of those 2264 men, 528 cases of pneumonia occurred.

The prospective cohort study evaluated an inflammation marker in the blood and frequency of sauna bathing with risk of pneumonia. Those who used the sauna less than once a week were defined as using it infrequently, whereas those using it 2 -7 times were classified asusing it frequently.

The results found that compared with the middle aged caucasian men with normal inflammation markers and low frequency of sauna bathing, those with high inflammation and low frequency of sauna bathing had an increased risk for pneumonia in a multivariable analysis.

The difference in frequency found that those who used saunas more than once were 21% less likely to get pneumonia, and 4 or more weekly sauna session reduces pneumonia risk by 47%.

Conclusions: Frequent sauna baths drops the chance of developing pneumonia almost in half! Not only this, but the same study found a generalised decrease in overall respiratory diseases - not just pneumonia.

These prospective cohort studies have a downside in that they don't utilise the gold standard of medicine, which is the Randomized Controlled Study method. This would involve randomly allocating participants to either a control or intervention group.

Regardless, there's a very high likelihood that regular sauna use lowers your risk of not only pneumonia but also other lung conditions.

Potential frequent sauna benefits for Pneumonia

Furthermore, frequent sauna use may improve sleep quality, a key indicator for improved immunity. While there is still no clearcut evidence supporting or denying this theory, frequent sauna use is certainly something worth considering when it comes to increasing an individual's defences against pneumonia.

In short, frequent sauna bathing may not directly cure an existing bout of pneumonia; however, it absolutely can be beneficial in reducing one's chances of contracting the serious illness in the first place.

Can you go in  a sauna with Pneumonia?

Of course, if you've got the common cold, Finnish sauna bathing has been traditionally promoted as a cure. But is this true? One study shows that using a sauna won't improve acute symptoms or stop you from getting the cold. You can learn more about if you can sweat out a cold with an infrared sauna in a more in depth article.

Several major risk factors of sauna bathing with Pneumonia

A common cold won't make you feverish, but pneumonia is different. Fever and pneumonia often go hand-in-hand. There are several major risk factors that are associated with pneumonia symptoms and the negative side effects of raising the body temperature. For example, a chronic tension type headache from a fever will be worsened by the use of heat therapy.

Therefore, sauna bathing may further worsen the chronic disease conditions and any therapeutic implications regular sauna baths may provide on inflammatory lung diseases will not be viable and should never be used in acute circumstances.

How to use an infrared sauna for Pneumonia

Cardiovascular research has shown us that regular sauna bathing may reduce chronic respiratory conditions and actually improve lung function. But what was the clinical practice used in these studies? Let's take a look at the baseline sauna bathing habits used.

How long should you sauna for to prevent pneumonia?

Both studies mentioned in the article recorded baseline sauna habits of 15 - 30 minute sauna sessions. While the cohort study did not mention the temperature, the other did, at 60 degrees celsius.

From these two studies we can see that 15 - 30 minutes at 60 degrees Celsius, 2 - 4 times a week can provide a 21-47% reduced pneumonia risk. Create your own sauna session habits so that you have a reduced risk of preventable disease, like cardiovascular disease, using the above guidelines.

What the science shows: Frequent sauna baths prevent the risk of Pneumonia

Although some might argue otherwise, the research suggests that saunas do lower your risk of developing pneumonia. And it makes sense when you think about it–generally speaking, people who do sauna bathing regularly tend to live a healthier lifestyle than those who don't.

If you have questions about whether you have acute pneumonia, please contact a medical professional. However, if you're interested in infrared saunas for at-home relaxation, click here to explore our full range of products.

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