Sauna and Fever: Can this Traditional Practice Help You Feel Better?

Sauna is a traditional practice and a cultural heritage for many nations, including Finns, Koreans, and Russians. They have been using the sauna as a way to relax, detoxify the body, and heal for centuries. The sauna is believed to have numerous benefits for health and well-being, and one of its most advertised advantages is helping with fever or cold symptoms.

The idea behind using the sauna for fever is that increasing body temperature may boost the immune system and help fight off infections. It is also thought to enhance circulation and induce sweating, which helps remove harmful toxins from the body. However, is sauna therapy a reliable and effective way to alleviate fever and cold symptoms?

There is a growing body of research on the benefits of sauna therapy for various health issues, including pain relief, heart health, and skin rejuvenation. However, the evidence on the effects of sauna on fever and infections is limited and conflicting. In this article, we will explore what science says about the relationship between sauna and fever and whether this traditional practice can indeed make you feel better.

What is sauna?

A sauna is a traditional Finnish practice that involves sitting in a heated room or cabin to induce sweating. The temperature inside the sauna typically ranges between 70°C and 100°C. Saunas can be dry or humid, and they usually have wooden benches for seating.

Sauna bathing has been practiced for thousands of years, and it is believed to have originated in Finland. Over time, the practice spread to other parts of the world, and today, saunas can be found in many countries. Saunas are often associated with relaxation, wellness, and various health benefits.

In addition to inducing sweating, saunas are thought to improve circulation, detoxify the body, reduce stress, and promote relaxation. Sauna bathing may also help alleviate symptoms of certain conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, and chronic fatigue syndrome. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of sauna bathing.

The history of sauna

Sauna is a traditional practice that has been around for centuries. While its origins are debated, many historians believe that sauna originated in Finland around 2,000 years ago. At that time, saunas were made by digging a hole in the ground and building a fire to heat up rocks. Once the rocks were hot, people poured water over them to create steam.

Over time, saunas evolved and became more sophisticated. In the 12th century, saunas began to be built above ground using wood. Russian bathhouses, called banyas, also became popular during this time. These bathhouses were similar to saunas, but they also included a pool of cold water for users to jump into.

Today, saunas are popular all over the world and come in many different forms. Some are heated using wood, while others use electricity or gas. Infrared saunas, which uses light to heat the body instead of air, have also become popular in recent years.

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Saunas have been used for many different reasons over the years. In Finland, they are a central part of everyday life and are believed to have many health benefits. However, saunas are also used for relaxation and socialising in many other parts of the world.

How Does Sauna Work?

Sauna is a traditional practice that has been used for centuries to promote relaxation and wellness. It involves sitting in a small room or space that is heated to high temperatures, typically between 160 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Saunas may be dry or wet, depending on whether or not water is added to the space to create steam.

The high temperatures in the sauna cause the body to sweat profusely, which helps to rid the body of toxins and impurities. The sweating also promotes circulation and improves the function of the body’s immune system. The heat also helps to relax muscles and relieve tension, which can promote feelings of well-being and reduce stress.

One of the key mechanisms behind the health benefits of sauna is the activation of the body’s natural fever response. When the body is exposed to high temperatures, it responds as if it has a fever. This prompts the immune system to produce more white blood cells, which can help to fight off infections and illnesses.

Key Benefits of Sauna
Benefit Description
Relaxation Heat and steam can help to relieve tension and promote relaxation.
Pain Relief Sauna can help to reduce muscle and joint pain, including symptoms of arthritis.
Improved Circulation The heat in sauna can help to improve blood flow and oxygen delivery to the body’s tissues.
Immune System Support Sauna can help to activate the body’s natural fever response, promoting the production of white blood cells to fight infections and illnesses.

Overall, sauna is a safe and effective way to promote wellness and relaxation. Whether you are looking for pain relief, immune system support or just some time to unwind, sauna may be the perfect thing for you.

The Benefits of Sauna

Sauna has been a part of many cultures for centuries, and it is believed to offer a variety of health benefits. Some of the most significant benefits of sauna include:

  • Relaxation: Sauna can help you relax and reduce stress. The heat and humidity of sauna create a calm and peaceful environment that can help you disconnect from the outside world.
  • Pain relief: Sauna can also be used to treat chronic pain. The heat can help reduce inflammation in the body, which can alleviate pain in the joints and muscles.
  • Cleanse the skin: Sauna helps to cleanse the skin by removing dead skin cells and unclogging pores. Sauna can also stimulate blood flow to the skin, which can help with acne and other skin conditions.
  • Improve cardiovascular health: Sauna can also be beneficial for your cardiovascular system. The heat in sauna can increase your heart rate, which can help improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.
  • Boost immune system: Sauna can also help boost your immune system. The high temperatures in sauna can stimulate the production of white blood cells, which can help fight off infections and viruses.
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Overall, sauna is a relaxing and therapeutic practice that has been enjoyed for generations. By taking advantage of the many benefits of sauna, you can improve your physical and mental health and feel better overall.

Can sauna help with fever?

While a sauna can be an enjoyable and beneficial experience for many, it is important to be cautious when using a sauna while experiencing a fever. Saunas can cause an increase in body temperature which can worsen your fever and potentially be dangerous if you already have a high fever.

However, some people may find relief from mild fevers by using a sauna with caution. The heat from the sauna can cause the body to sweat, which can help to release toxins and potentially reduce the severity of a fever.

It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using a sauna while experiencing a fever, and to monitor your body temperature closely during and after sauna use.

Precautions and Safety Measures

Avoid alcohol and drugs

Drinking alcohol or using drugs before entering the sauna can put extra stress on your body and negatively impact your health. It’s important to stay hydrated with water or natural juices before and during the sauna session.

Limit your sauna time

Don’t spend too much time in the sauna – no more than 20 minutes at a time. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can cause dehydration, dizziness, and fainting.

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water during and after the sauna to avoid dehydration. It’s also recommended to bring a bottle of water with you into the sauna.

Be aware of heat stroke

If you experience symptoms such as dizziness, a rapid pulse, headache, or difficulty breathing during the sauna, it’s important to leave immediately and seek medical attention. These symptoms may be a sign of heat stroke.

Avoid saunas if pregnant or with certain medical conditions

People with certain medical conditions, such as heart disease or high blood pressure, should avoid saunas or consult their doctor before entering one. Pregnant women should also avoid saunas.

Bring a buddy

It’s always a good idea to bring a friend or family member with you into the sauna in case of an emergency or if you feel unwell. Don’t go into the sauna alone.

Types of Sauna

Traditional Finnish Sauna

The traditional Finnish sauna is the most well-known type of sauna. It consists of a small, wooden room filled with hot rocks over which water is poured to create steam. The temperature in a Finnish sauna typically ranges between 170°F and 190°F. The sauna can be dry or have a small amount of humidity present. The most common materials used for the walls, ceiling and benches of a Finnish sauna are cedar, spruce, and pine.

Infrared Sauna

The infrared sauna is a relatively new type of sauna that uses infrared heating panels to heat the body directly, rather than heating the air like in a traditional sauna. The temperature in an infrared sauna is lower than in a Finnish sauna, usually around 120°F to 140°F. The heat is produced by infrared waves, which penetrate the skin and warm the body directly. Infrared saunas are believed to provide many of the same health benefits as traditional saunas, including detoxification, relaxation, and improved circulation.

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Steam Room

Although technically not a sauna, the steam room is another type of heated space that has many similarities to a traditional sauna. The steam room is typically made of tile and has a higher humidity level than a traditional sauna. The temperature in a steam room is often around 110°F to 120°F, which is lower than the heat in a traditional sauna. The steam in the room is created by adding water to a heated surface, which creates a wet heat that is believed to be beneficial for respiratory problems and skin health.

Wood-Burning Sauna

The wood-burning sauna is another type of traditional sauna that uses a wood stove to heat the room. The process of heating and cooling down the sauna can take several hours and requires more preparation than a typical sauna. The temperature in a wood-burning sauna is similar to that of a traditional Finnish sauna, reaching up to 190°F. Because the heat is usually drier than that in a steam room, people often alternate between the sauna and a cold plunge or shower to cool down, which is believed to provide additional health benefits.

Using sauna as part of a healthy lifestyle

Sauna bathing has been a part of cultural and social life for centuries. It is a great way to relax, unwind, and improve overall health. Sauna bathing may help relieve stress, promote relaxation, and improve sleep quality.

In addition to promoting relaxation, saunas may help reduce the risk of certain diseases. Regular sauna sessions may help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and improve lung function.

Adding sauna bathing to your healthy lifestyle routine may also help improve athletic performance. Sauna use may increase endurance and improve recovery time after exercise.

It is important to approach sauna use with caution and consult with a healthcare provider if you have any medical conditions. Staying hydrated, limiting sauna sessions to 20-30 minutes, and avoiding alcohol during use are important safety considerations.

Incorporating sauna use into a healthy lifestyle routine may help promote overall health and well-being. Whether it’s after exercise or just to relax, sauna bathing may be worth a try.


In conclusion, there are many benefits to using saunas as a traditional practice for various ailments. It has been shown to help reduce fever symptoms and promote relaxation, among other things. However, it is important to use caution when using a sauna, especially if you are new to this practice. It is also important to consult with your healthcare provider before using a sauna if you have any underlying health conditions.

If you are considering using a sauna to help with fever symptoms, it may be helpful to start slowly and gradually increase the duration and temperature over time. It is also important to stay hydrated and listen to your body. If you start to feel lightheaded or dizzy, it is important to leave the sauna immediately and cool down.

Overall, while saunas may not be a cure-all for all ailments, they can certainly offer a variety of benefits when used safely and responsibly. Consider incorporating sauna therapy into your self-care routine and see how it can help you feel better.

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