Is Sauna Good for Allergies? (4 Ways it Can Help Relieve Symptoms)

Allergies got you down? Don’t worry, saunas are coming to the rescue!

Visiting the sauna can alleviate some of the symptoms associated with allergies. The humidity of the steam rooms loosens mucus. Saunas also increase sympathetic activity, peak nasal inspiratory flow, and lung function. However, dry air can irritate allergies so it’s important to start slow when using a dry or infrared sauna with allergies.

Keep reading to learn all about why saunas are good for allergies!

Can the sauna help with allergies?

If you’re looking for a holistic way to treat allergies, look no further.

The sauna can help with allergies. Saunas can increase sympathetic activity, peak nasal inspiratory flow, and lung function. Steam rooms help break up mucus in the nasal cavities.

Allergies take place when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance, including pollen, pet dander, and more.

Your immune system will then make antibodies that identify the allergen as harmful, even though in reality it isn’t. This reaction can cause inflammation in your airways, skin, sinuses, or digestive system. Reactions can range from inconvenience to life-threatening emergencies.

Allergies usually can’t be cured, but treatments can help relieve symptoms.

Typical treatment includes:

  • Allergen avoidance to prevent reactions in the first place.
  • Medication to reduce your immune system’s reaction. These can be OTC or prescription.
  • Immunotherapy for allergies that are severe and don’t respond to other treatments. 
  • Emergency epinephrine, the most famous of which is an EpiPen. This can reduce symptoms until emergency treatment arrives.

Sauna treatment can increase sympathetic activity, peak nasal inspiratory flow, and lung function in patients with allergies.

Is heat good for allergies?

Considering how hot saunas are, it’s worth considering whether or not heat affects allergies.

Heat is good for allergies in many different forms: radiant heating systems will heat up your home without spreading irritants; heated mattresses reduce dust mites; and heated compresses loosen mucus. However, turning the heat on in your home can blow irritants and make allergies worse.

Radiant heating systems are helpful because they don’t blow air around the house, which can spread irritants. Heated mattresses also reduce humidity, combating dust mites.

Heated compresses applied to your forehead, cheeks, and nose can help by increasing blood flow which loosens mucus. 

But turning on the heat in the winter can make allergies worse as it will blow irritants throughout the house.

Can you sweat out allergies?

Maybe you’ve heard of all the great detoxification benefits from sweating in the sauna. 

You can’t sweat out allergies, but exercise can help alleviate symptoms by enhancing immune function.

Exercise can help treat allergies. But you aren’t sweating out your allergies! Rather, exercise enhances immune function.

Is steam good for allergies?

Maybe you’ve noticed that steamy showers feel really good when your allergies are acting up.

Steam is good for allergies, especially for clearing mucus and nasal cavities.

Steam can greatly improve nasal obstruction if you have allergies. This is because it loosens the mucus in your nasal cavities. 

Steam baths also reduce symptoms of allergies. However, the difference between an herbal steam bath and a normal steam bath is not statistically significant. Despite this, those who take herbal steam baths are much more satisfied with the experience as opposed to a typical bath.

Which type of sauna is best for allergies?

There are three main kinds of saunas: traditional dry saunas, infrared saunas, and steam rooms. But which one is best for allergies?

Steam rooms are the best type of sauna for allergies because the steam helps loosen mucus and relieve allergy symptoms.

Other saunas can dry out your nasal passages because of their low humidity.

Traditional dry sauna and allergies

What are you supposed to do if you love how hot traditional dry saunas get but you suffer from allergies?

To use a traditional dry sauna when you have allergies, make sure you throw water on the sauna rocks to increase the humidity in the sauna. Only stay in for five minutes at a time because dry air can irritate allergies. You can stay in for longer if you find that the sauna isn’t making your allergies worse.

Dry air can irritate allergies further by drying out the nasal passages, so be sure to keep the humidity as high as possible by throwing water on the sauna rocks as appropriate and limiting the amount of time you spend in a dry sauna.

Infrared sauna and allergies

Let’s talk about how to use an infrared sauna when you have allergies.

To use an infrared sauna when you have allergies, limit your sessions to five minutes at a time because dry air can irritate allergies. If you don’t have an adverse reaction, you can ramp it up to 20 minutes at 120°F to get all the potential benefits offered by infrared saunas. It is common to use an infrared sauna three times a week. 

Benefits of using an infrared sauna three times a week include:

  • Clearer and tighter skin
  • Improved circulation
  • Detoxification
  • Reduced joint and muscle pain
  • Relaxation

What is infrared nasal therapy?

Infrared nasal therapy is highly effective, but it’s a separate entity from infrared saunas.

Infrared nasal therapy is when far-infrared rays are transmitted into a patient’s nose to help alleviate symptoms of allergies. There are products marketed as “light therapy” that are meant to mimic this, but they don’t have the science to back them up.

After placing a far-infrared emitter towards the patient’s nose for 40 minutes every morning for a week, the symptoms of nasal itching, eye itching, nasal stuffiness, sneezing, and rhinorrhea all significantly improved. Far infrared therapy can improve allergy symptoms and may end up being a modern, novel treatment.

Devices are being sold as “light therapy” that are meant to put red and near-infrared light into your nose to mimic these effects. However, near-infrared light is different from far-infrared light, so the effectiveness of these products is still to be determined.

Steam rooms for allergies

Steam rooms are the holy grail of saunas if you have allergies!

To use a steam room when you have allergies, stay in for 15-20 minutes at 112°F three times a week. This will maximize the benefits that humidity has on your allergies while avoiding the risks associated with overuse.

Steam rooms are a great choice when you have allergies. The humidity will loosen up mucus in your nasal cavities, bringing some relief. Relaxation is an added bonus!