Is Sauna Good for Bronchitis and Dry Coughing? (Heat & Steam)

The heat and steam from a sauna are an effective way to ease respiratory problems and their symptoms. However, is using the sauna actually a good idea if you’re experiencing bronchitis and dry coughing?

Spending 20 minutes/session three times a week in a steam sauna is the best way to help bronchitis and dry coughing symptoms. Steam from the sauna enhances lung function, loosens mucus, and reduces the risk of respiratory disease by 40%. Hydrate before and after use to avoid dehydration and headaches. 

Continue reading to find out if the sauna can help dry coughing and bronchitis, whether or not steam is beneficial, and the best practices for easing your illness!

Can the sauna help bronchitis and dry coughing?

If you’ve ever had a cold or experienced some sort of congestion, using a humidifier or putting your head over a pot of boiling water usually makes you feel better. The sauna should have the same impact… right?

While it’s important to note that no scientific evidence points to saunas curing any conditions, the sauna’s atmosphere can help bronchitis and dry coughing by:

  • Enhancing lung function
  • Improving immune system function
  • Detoxifying your body
  • Increasing blood flow
  • Expanding airways

According to a 1989 study that followed 12 male patients, sauna bathing has the ability to improve lung capacity and strengthen the respiratory system of those experiencing breathing trouble from asthma or bronchitis.

Another study done in 2018 showed that using a sauna an average of 3 times per week reduces the risk of cardiovascular mortality in both men and women.

Furthermore, other research from the year 2018 exhibits that individuals who use a traditional sauna 4 times per week can actually lower their risk of contracting a respiratory disease by around 40%.

Benefit #1: Enhancing Lung Function

When you have a dry cough or a case of bronchitis, your body is desperately fighting to improve lung function and win the battle.

Scientific testing has shown that using saunas can improve lung function in individuals with respiratory problems. The heat from the sauna dilates our lungs, allowing for easier breathing while also helping to thin out any mucus that might be collecting in our respiratory system. 

However, a study out of England made sure to note that an individual should avoid visiting the sauna during the height of an acute respiratory illness while on medication. This is because sympathomimetic drugs (used to treat respiratory infections) can induce tachycardia and arrhythmias in sauna-like temperatures.

Benefit #2: Improving Immune System Function

All types of saunas increase our core body temperature, which triggers our immune system to respond and adapt.

The stronger your immune system is, the better equipped it is to ward off any flu viruses, dry coughs, and other respiratory infections. The sauna’s steam might even be able to improve the efficacy of drugs by making it easier for your respiratory system to absorb any medications.

Make sure to consult with your doctor first if you are unfamiliar with the side effects of any prescription.

Benefit #3: Detoxifying Your Body

Steam is very effective at pulling out toxins and poisons from deep within our bodies.

For individuals with bronchitis and dry coughs, the steam clears out any mucus that might be lodged in your air passages and throat while breaking up congestion in your lungs. 

This is an essential part of the recovery process, as it can help to flush out residual phlegm after your body starts to heal.

Benefit #4: Increasing Blood Flow

The sauna’s heat increases blood flow in the body by dilating our blood vessels, which in turn improves circulation.

This process helps to alleviate bronchitis and dry cough by making our bodies more efficient at fighting off germs while allowing more oxygenated blood to reach our lungs.

Benefit #5: Expanding Airways

The hot temperatures of the sauna relax our throats, making it easier for us to breathe.

Many individuals with bronchitis and dry coughing have found that using a sauna helps open up their airways so they can take deeper breaths, allowing them more oxygen flow.

This can help us to breathe with greater ease and clarity while alleviating any pain associated with constricted air passageways.

Is steam good for bronchitis?

The steam of a humidifier can help not only with skin moisture retention but also aids in breathing better at night. Do these same benefits result from the steam in saunas?

Steam is great for bronchitis because it can help reduce swollen blood vessels in your nose and thin the mucus in your sinuses. This will help you feel significantly better while your body fights off the infection.

The steam from saunas definitely can’t cure bronchitis, but it can help to relieve some of the symptoms short term.

Can steam make a cough worse?

As mentioned above, if you have an acute respiratory infection and are on certain drugs, speak to your doctor before using the sauna. This type of exposure can occasionally cause a reaction.

Furthermore, a 2017 scientific study showed that while some adults with a cold had their symptoms improve with steam, others stayed the same. A lot of the current research is inconclusive as it relates to concrete illness improvements or declines.

Oftentimes, it depends on the person and whether or not a hot and humid environment is comfortable for them- cough or not.

Is heat good for bronchitis?

Bronchitis can leave you feeling heavy and congested. Heat might be able to improve your comfort levels, but is it truly good for bronchitis?

Heat improves the symptoms related to heaviness in your lungs, but there are some risks involved. Too much heat can result in dehydration and excessively high or low blood pressure- both of which are counterintuitive to your condition.

To avoid these downfalls, make sure to hydrate adequately before and after sitting in the sauna. Additionally, talk to your healthcare provider if you have issues with blood pressure.

Remember: When your immune system is fighting bronchitis, you’re more susceptible to other preexisting conditions acting up.

Does the infrared sauna help bronchitis?

When asked if an infrared sauna helps bronchitis, the answer varies. Infrared saunas do a great job heating your body most effectively, in the least amount of time.

The subtle heat of an infrared sauna is able to relax your lung muscles and boost the flow of nutrient-rich blood to damaged areas. That being said, the dry heat of an infrared sauna does little to loosen the mucus in your respiratory system. 

You can still benefit from visiting an infrared sauna if you have bronchitis; although, it may not be the MOST beneficial practice.

Should you use the sauna, infrared sauna, or steam room for bronchitis?

Traditional saunas, infrared saunas, and steam rooms benefit someone suffering from bronchitis (when used appropriately). However, which one is the best?

Based on the above information, because moisture is beneficial for alleviating bronchitis symptoms- a steam room is the best option. 

While you’re getting an immune system boost, the steam will also help to clear your sinuses- leading to a double whammy of bronchitis relief!

A steam sauna is also beneficial for those with a repetitive dry cough because it’s able to relax your muscles and provide much-needed comfort.

How to use the sauna for bronchitis and dry cough

In order to use a traditional sauna for bronchitis and dry cough, it’s important to adhere to certain guidelines for safety.

Follow these practices to use a traditional sauna for bronchitis and dry cough:

  1. Always consult your doctor first (especially if you’re on medication).
  2. Avoid sauna use during the height of your illness.
  3. Visit the sauna 3 times/week.
  4. Spend 30 minutes inside.
  5. Avoid alcohol and hydrate before and after your sessions.

Perform these steps until your bronchitis symptoms subside- and maybe even longer! The benefits of sauna use are endless and could help you avoid contracting a sickness in the future.

Additionally, make sure not to overdo it. These are general guidelines, although everyone’s body and degree of sickness may be different.

How to use the steam room for bronchitis and dry cough

If someone is suffering from bronchitis, the steam room is their new best friend.

Follow these practices to use a steam room for bronchitis and dry cough:

  1. Always consult your doctor first (especially if you’re on medication).
  2. Avoid sauna use during the height of your illness.
  3. Visit the sauna 3 times/week.
  4. Spend 20 minutes inside.
  5. Avoid alcohol and hydrate before and after your sessions.

Because there is a greater element of humidity, less time inside is necessary to achieve relief.

Repeat these steps until your bronchitis symptoms have improved.

How to use the infrared sauna for bronchitis and dry cough

Infrared saunas are another beneficial tool when attempting to speed up a respiratory infection recovery process.

Follow these practices to use an infrared sauna for bronchitis and dry cough:

  1. Always consult your doctor first (especially if you’re on medication).
  2. Avoid sauna use during the height of your illness.
  3. Visit the sauna 3 times/week.
  4. Spend 10 minutes inside.
  5. Avoid alcohol and hydrate before and after your sessions.

The dry heat from an infrared sauna can be overwhelming for some. Because of this type of sauna’s mechanism, only 10 minutes is required to loosen your muscles and achieve the best results.

A steam sauna is a great way to battle the winter cold and alleviate bronchitis symptoms. Be sure to follow the precautions above to achieve the most lung muscle relief.

Always consult with your physician first if you are unsure if a sauna is good for your bronchitis and dry coughing. This is especially important if you are on prescription medication!