Is a Steam Room or Sauna Better for Asthma? (Benefits and Triggers)

Depending on the severity of their condition, many asthmatics find themselves completely avoiding situations where the air around them varies from their “normal.” Is it the same for steam rooms or saunas, or can the wet heat actually be good for your asthma?

A steam room or sauna is good for asthma because the steam can open airways, reduce phlegm, and regulate inflammation. For most people, these effects can make breathing easier. However, it is possible for extreme heat to trigger an asthma attack. It is important to know your personal triggers to find out if sauna bathing will work for you.

Read on to learn about the benefits of using a steam room or sauna for asthma and what precautions are needed if you have medical concerns.

Is a sauna or steam room good for someone with asthma?

Saunas and steam rooms may look fun but, as someone with asthma, are they a good choice for relaxation? Or is it possible they’ll trigger an attack?

A sauna or steam room can be good for someone with asthma because the steam can help reduce inflammation, loosen and soften phlegm, and open airways. All of this can make breathing easier if you have asthma. However, the heat from a sauna can also trigger an asthma attack in some people. Whether or not a steam room or sauna is good for you will depend on your personal triggers.

Overall, a sauna or steam room is good for someone with asthma and can provide some relief. It is best to know what is beneficial for your asthma. Know your personal triggers and consider any medical concerns before using a sauna or steam room.

The heat can lower blood pressure, improve air circulation and relax the body. However, it is recommended not to overdo it, and to visit the sauna or steam room at most once a day. It is also advisable to reduce the temperature so as not to create unwanted triggers for your asthma.

Saunas and steam rooms can be a great way to relieve some stressful symptoms of asthma but the health hazards of intense heat and steam should not be underestimated.

Benefits of sauna for asthma

Saunas have a number of benefits for typical users, but they can actually be even more beneficial for those with asthma.

Some of the key benefits of sauna bathing for asthmatics include:

  • Improved breathing
  • Pain relief
  • Blood flow

Let’s look at each of these benefits in detail.

Improved breathing

The heat of the sauna reduces inflammation in the lungs and can improve the airways of the lungs.

Since the lungs become swollen from asthma, using a sauna is a great way to reduce the swelling.

However, infrared saunas use dry heat and this may make asthma symptoms worse, depending on the type of asthma you have.

Pain relief

Sauna sessions are good for relieving sore muscles.

If you have chest pain from coughing and wheezing, this might be a good option for you. The heat can also relieve sinus pressure by loosening mucus and improving circulation.

Blood flow

As the body is stimulated by heat, it lowers blood pressure and increases the heart rate.

Asthma constricts the blood vessels, making it difficult for the blood to circulate evenly. Sauna sessions help regulate heart health, resulting in improved blood flow and overall circulation. 

Benefits of steam room for asthma

The benefits of a steam room are similar to those of a sauna, with a couple of key differences.

Here are the key benefits of a steam room for asthma:

  • Helps congestion
  • Reduces stress
  • Therapeutic

Let’s take a look at these in more detail.

Helps congestion

The use of steam is a popular method to combat phlegm and reduce mucus.

Steam rooms are excellent for clearing congestion. The vapors help loosen the mucus in your sinuses and lungs so you can breathe more freely.

Reduces stress

Spending time in a steam room is a treat for the body, and a great way to melt away the anxiety from your asthma.

Relaxation is one way to combat anxiety, which also contributes to whether or not you have an asthma attack.

When your body is relaxed, it cultivates a stable emotional state.


Aromatherapy in steam rooms is a great way to promote relaxation and emotional well-being.

Essential oils such as the calming attributes of lavender have the potential to ease one’s mind, thereby reducing the mental stress of asthma.

However, constant exposure to airborne stimulates may cause irritation in the lungs.

Can I use sauna and steam room same day when I have asthma?

It is recommended not to use a heated room multiple times a day. Heat stress may prove to be too aggressive on the lungs and increases risks such as dehydration and overexposure. 

Using a sauna and steam room on the same day is ill-advised for asthma sufferers. Trying to compensate for your asthma symptoms by using saunas and steam rooms can be dangerous. 

Using public spaces and inhaling air that is susceptible to bacteria may be problematic. 

Using either a sauna or steam room for asthma has its benefits but using both on the same day is not recommended. 

Is it okay to use the steam room every day for asthma?

Athletes often use steam rooms to recover after training. But even people with excellent health are advised to use a steam room for only 30 minutes at a time.

Using a steam room every day for asthma is not suggested. In fact, overusing a steam room can potentially do more harm than good for those who have medical conditions. 

The heat from steam rooms causes a lot of stress on the body and can lead to health complications if used excessively. 

Some things to watch out for are dehydration, heat exhaustion, and lightheadedness.

Also, as mentioned earlier, you should familiarize yourself with the types of triggers you have with your asthma. If steam triggers your asthma and increases the risk of an asthma attack, you should avoid using steam rooms. 

If you wish to use a steam room every day, reduce the heat in the room and only partake for 10-15 minutes. And always consult your doctor first to see whether using a steam room every day is safe and beneficial. 

Does sauna or steam room make asthma worse?

Using a steam room for asthma has many benefits. But can a sauna or steam room do more harm than good?

Saunas and steam rooms will not make asthma worse if used properly and precautions are taken. That being said, there are many different types of asthma and different triggers for each kind.

For example, if you have non-allergic asthma, it is best to avoid steam rooms and saunas because this type of asthma gets triggered by extreme temperatures.  

Occupational asthma can also be problematic in a sauna or steam room because of the unknown airborne bacteria. Assuming all saunas and steam rooms are clean and free of mold, there is still a chance there could be some irritants in the air that may cause a flare-up in your asthma. 

So in most cases, a sauna or steam room will not make asthma worse, but choosing high-quality spas or at-home installments may be worth investing in. 

What things make asthma worse?

Asthma is triggered by several things, and it can potentially become fatal if left unchecked. 

Here are some of the prominent things that make asthma worse:

To wrap up, saunas and steam rooms can help provide temporary relief for asthma. However, there is no direct cure for asthma and, as a serious medical condition, it should not be taken lightly.

Always consult your doctor to determine if a sauna or steam room is safe for your type of asthma and to avoid pushing yourself to take advantage of it.