Is Sauna Good for Vertigo and BPPV? (How Heat & Humidity Could Help)

The sauna has a positive impact on health and helps get rid of and reduce the risk of certain diseases when used correctly. Vertigo is the most common type of dizziness, and over the years, there has been an increasing number of people with vertigo. This article tells you all you need to know about vertigo and its relationship with the sauna.

While there are no studies that show sauna is able to treat or cure vertigo directly, there is evidence that they can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression which have all been shown to trigger episodes of vertigo. So, by reducing stress, sauna users could potentially lower their chances of experiencing an episode of vertigo.

Read on to find out the causes of vertigo, how different types of sauna can help get rid of vertigo, and so much more. 

Does the sauna help get rid of Vertigo?

Although stress does not directly cause vertigo, it can dramatically impact our mental and physical health, thereby triggering different types of symptoms and making medical conditions worse.

Hormone fluctuations can affect your nervous system during high-stress periods. Stress increases your blood pressure, boosts your adrenaline, and sets off your instincts. A 2018 study suggests that there is a strong correlation between vertigo and stress for individuals with anxiety, mood, and personality disorders.

You can experience symptoms of vertigo if you are feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed. These emotions can lead to the trigger of an underlying health condition. Stress can trigger and contribute to some dysfunction of the inner ear’s vestibular system, which controls balance.  

The best way to prevent and manage stress-induced vertigo is by minimizing stress in your life. The sauna can help relieve stress, reduce anxiety and provide relaxation. Practicing mindful meditation in a sauna can help to reduce mental stress and treat vertigo.

Vertigo and anxiety can also have the opposite relationship too. Worrying about experiencing vertigo and stimulation of the vestibular system can cause anxiety.

Can the sauna cause vertigo?

Due to increased temperatures, the sauna can cause dizziness and nausea and, in very extreme cases, can lead to vertigo. People with a weak immune system have to ensure that the sauna has strict cleaning procedures and protocols in place that meet health and industrial standards. 

It is not healthy for users who are susceptible to heat stress to stay in the sauna for long periods as it might cause the body to become overheated, thereby leading to dizziness. An extended stay can lead to a heatstroke which can create some severe damage to the body. 

The sauna is a place for temporary therapy and should be used that way. Even if your body can withstand high temperatures, staying there for too long will surely stress you out, dehydrate you, and might lead to a severe health condition like vertigo.

What causes vertigo?

One of the effects of vertigo is of feeling off-balanced or the feeling that you or the world around you is spinning. It is often caused by an inner ear problem.

Some of its common causes are: 

Traveling and motion sickness

Some people have car-sickness or sea-sickness when in motion. Vertigo can also arise as a person travels from one place to another. Changing the movement mode from walking to standing or vice versa on the static ground may cause dizziness and upset balance.

This type of vertigo may ease quickly because the body can adapt to its surroundings. It can persist for a few days or weeks. People who suffer from migraine headaches are more likely to encounter persistent symptoms.

Meniere’s disease

Vertigo can arise due to hereditary conditions. Meniere’s disease is a disorder that occurs in the inner ear. It causes a buildup of fluids in the inner ear and can lead to vertigo coupled with tinnitus and hearing loss. This disease tends to affect more people between the ages of 40 and 60 years. 

Meniere’s disease has a genetic component that can run in some families and can also affect people without a history of it in their families. The exact cause is unknown, but it may stem from an autoimmune reaction, a viral infection, or blood vessel constriction.

Ear surgery

It is unlikely for vertigo to arise due to ear surgery, but some patients experience symptoms as side effects. In most cases, it corrects itself after a short period, although sometimes further treatments may be necessary.

Lying down for too long

After lying down for a very long period, vertigo might arise. People experience vertigo after being bedridden due to illness.

This type of vertigo may not persist for too long as the body can adapt to its orientation and position quickly.

Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo (BPPV)

It is a condition that occurs when certain head movements trigger vertigo. Its symptoms are episodes of dizziness as well as a sensation of spinning. You can learn more about BBPV down below.

What is BBPV (Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo)?

Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo is the most common cause of vertigo in the United States. It has been estimated that at least 20 percent of patients who claim to the doctor they have vertigo have BBPV. 

BPPV is an inner ear disorder that mainly arises from changes in the position of the head, such as tipping to a certain position, bending the head forward to look down, and rolling over or sitting up in a bed. 

The inner ear is made up of the otolith organs, which contain particles and fluids of crystals of calcium carbonate. When BBPV occurs, the crystals of calcium carbonate are dislodged and fall inside the canals. Each fallen crystal of calcium carbonate makes contact with the sensory hair cells in the scapula on the canals. This then causes spinning dizziness. This dizziness can last for just a few minutes but can lead to other symptoms like nausea. 

Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo does not pose any dangers other than the risk of losing balance and falling. With advances in medicine and health, Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo can easily be diagnosed and treated appropriately. 

Using a traditional sauna to help with vertigo

A key difference between a traditional sauna and an infrared sauna is that a traditional sauna heats the air first. A traditional sauna is heated between 158°F and 230°F with humidity of between 5 and 15%. A traditional sauna depends mainly on the heat of the room, which causes sweating and an increase in the heart rate. 

If you’re suffering vertigo, follow these practices in a traditional sauna:

  1. Use an infrared sauna.
  2. Turn the temperature up to at least 125 ˚F.
  3. Spend at least 15 minutes inside.
  4. Hydrate.
  5. Incorporate breathwork, meditation, and stretching.
  6. Play calming music.

The short-term exposure to high temperatures in a traditional sauna provides enhanced stress tolerance and relief to your body. With regular use, your body becomes better at tolerating high-stress levels, thereby reducing the occurrence of stress-induced vertigo. 

Using a steam room to help with vertigo

Steam rooms are more humid and not as hot as saunas. Steam rooms have nearly 100 percent humidity and are usually heated between 100°F and 120°F. They are not as hot as saunas, but due to the humidity, you are likely to feel more heat in a steam room than in a sauna. 

A steam room gives the same health benefits as a sauna since the heat has the same effects whether it is moist or dry. Many experts believe you should use a steam room for about 20 minutes to get the best experience.

A steam room can help relax your body and regulate the amount of stress you feel. A steam room may be an effective treatment option if you experience vertigo symptoms due to stress and anxiety.

Using an infrared sauna to help with vertigo

Infrared saunas are more modern than traditional saunas and are much more limited in size. A session in an infrared sauna is meant to take about 45 minutes due to the much lower temperature in it. This lower temperature also means CD players, radios, and so on can be installed to have a better session without any risks of damage. 

Infrared saunas make use of infrared lamps instead of conventional heat to penetrate your tissues and heat your body before heating the air. An infrared sauna typically operates between 120°F and 140°F and has zero or a very negligible amount of humidity. 

An infrared sauna can help with relaxation and muscle relief. It enables you to experience a more intense sweat at a lower temperature. An infrared sauna contributes massively to your mental health by helping you relax in a sauna for a more extended period.

Reducing the stress levels of hormones like cortisol can positively impact the transmission of neural information to your brain. When you have this under control, it can help with vertigo.