We all know how it starts: a runny nose and some sneezing. These are the first signs that for the next couple of days you’re more than likely going to be dealing with a cold. After this, it all goes downhill. Fatigue, body aches, headaches and a cough are common symptoms that can affect your day to day life and productivity. The most annoying part of having a cold is waiting for recovery. Treatment for colds is merely symptomatic (treating the symptoms as they happen) and hasn't changed in decades. However, as technology advances, promising therapeutic options arise. One that shows a lot of promise is infrared saunas, an invention that is an upgrade from traditional saunas. Many people vouch for this practice and have incorporated it into their daily life with great results.

What Causes The Common Cold?

The common cold is an acute infection of the upper respiratory tract. This means that it affects your nose and throat, but not the lungs. It’s mostly caused by a virus called rhino virus, which is transmitted by inhalation or hand contact. It’s more frequent during the winter because people tend to spend more time indoors, which increases the risk of transmission between individuals. Also, the increase in environmental humidity in contrast with the low indoor moisture favors the survival of the viruses.

Because of its viral nature, this disease is very contagious, which is why it’s important to take measures to avoid getting sick. The risk of getting a cold can be reduced by washing your hands often with soap and water, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and generally staying away from people who are sick. Unfortunately, these measures do not guarantee anything, so it’s important to know how this infection is treated.

Available Treatments For The Common Cold

Since the common cold is a viral infection, antibiotics aren't useful in its treatment. Thus, all the efforts are put towards relieving the symptoms and limiting the duration of the infection. The cornerstone of this treatment is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). This type of drug works by regulating inflammatory responses in your body. Thus, they help relieve some symptoms such as headaches, fever and malaise. However, they don't affect the duration of the disease, so there’s always room for new therapeutic options and one that’s been in everyone's mouths lately is infrared saunas.

Infrared Saunas And The Common Cold

Normally, when you have an infection your body goes into fight mode. One of its most effective weapons is fever. Raising your body's temperature helps get rid of the viruses or bacteria that cause infection. So, what if you can externally induce that temperature raise? That’s exactly what you can do with an infrared sauna. This therapy uses light that is invisible to the human eye to heat your body. It doesn't just heat your skin since this type of radiation can reach deeper into your body. You should know that you won't reach a temperature high enough to be considered a “fever”, so you won't feel the negative side-effects that come with an actual fever. However, this slight modification in body temperature can be beneficial for fighting the virus and could complement traditional cold treatments for a decrease in symptoms and duration.

Another way in which infrared saunas help treat the common cold is by stimulating energy production in your cells. This is particularly important in your white blood cells and all the cells of your immune system. Having more energy means that they will work more efficiently and will promote the release of antibodies. Lastly, it’s also been proven that infrared therapy stimulates a particular type of cell (CD8 T cells), which are the ones responsible for fighting viral infections. With all these different ways in which infrared saunas can help treat an infection, it’s not a surprise that it’s become such a relevant therapeutic option in the last couple of years.

Never Forget About Prevention

It’s important to know how we can get rid of the symptoms of a common cold, but it’s also essential to know how to avoid getting sick altogether. Infrared saunas have been proven to help strengthen your immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells, improving blood circulation and increasing cellular regeneration. They can also help you relax and improve your sleep. After all, remember that stress can have a huge influence on your overall health.

As you can see, infrared saunas have plenty of benefits that most people aren’t even aware of. They can help treat and prevent viral infections such as the common cold in a multitude of ways, which is why they’re slowly starting to become a popular form of alternative medicine. Try combining infrared therapy with traditional cold treatments and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results!




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Garth Reynolds, MSTCM, L.Ac.
Licensed Acupuncturist and Clinical Herbalist | Schedule Your Appointment
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