Many people use saunas for a wide variety of supposed health benefits. Some sauna manufacturers would like to have you believe, however unfounded the claim, that they are a cure-all for just about any ailment. However, there are some conditions that saunas are actually very effective at treating, and the common cold is one of them.
Use the sauna before the cold even starts. If you have regular access to a sauna in your gym or home, try to use it a few times a week. According to the New York Times, Austrian researchers recently discovered that regular use of a sauna can decrease the occurrence of colds. In fact, the study found that the incidence of colds was cut almost in half over a six-month period. So don't shy away from the sauna, even if you're not sick yet.
Increase sauna usage when you begin to notice cold symptoms.Some scientists speculate that saunas can work much the way a fever does; the high temperature will help the body rid itself of germs and infection. A rise in body temperature can even result in greater production of white blood cells and antibodies, which can in turn fight off a cold. Saunas can also help treat a cold's most annoying symptoms. The high heat can help fight congestion that occurs in the chest and sinus system.
Drink plenty of fluids. Much like with a fever, saunas can cause you to become dehydrated. Dehydration can make your cold symptoms even worse. Be sure to drink an 236ml glass of water before you enter the sauna and another one when you leave.
Follow all regular sauna procedures if you're using it to rid yourself of a cold. Don't stay in longer than 15 minutes, because the high temperatures can make you weak or ill with prolonged exposure. Take a cool shower afterward to bring your body temperature back to normal. If it's a public sauna, remember to bring a towel to sit on because there may be some germs lurking there.