Common colds are a nuisance during the chilly season. Tired and sneezing we tend to function at half speed, privately as well as professionally. At the moment there is no actual treatment for common cold viruses. Once the cold is a fact, all we can do is try to alleviate the annoying symptoms while waiting to recover. But there is hope. Researchers in Austria have found that regular sauna bathing seems to have a prophylactic effect.
Currently there is no effective medical prophylaxis available for common colds. That is why we wanted to scientifically test the hypothesis that sauna bathing would help prevent colds, the researchers stated in their article ”Regular sauna bathing and the incidence of common colds”.
The study was carried out with volunteer participants divided into two groups. One group was instructed to completely refrain from sauna bathing, while the other group was asked to bathe frequently and with long bathing sessions. The groups were monitored for six months by the researchers who concluded that the group taking frequent sauna baths suffered only half as often from colds compared to the control group.
The number of colds in the sauna group was significantly lower than among the other participants, especially during the last three months of the study period, says the research team.
Exactly why sauna bathing seems to prevent colds is still not fully clarified.
Additional studies are needed to clarify the causality, but one theory is that sauna bathing affects the body in the same way a fever does, and thus seems both healing and preventive when the cold virus is trying to establish itself in the body, states the team.