Breathe in, breathe out, relax: How the sauna supports COPD patients

Inhale, exhale and relax: This article is about how the sauna can support COPD patients. We take a look at the benefits tips, and risks of sauna use for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Use the power of relaxation and be inspired by the healing power of the sauna.
COPD: A chronic disease with breathing problems
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COPD: A chronic disease with breathing problems

COPD is a chronic disease characterized by breathing problems. It is a progressive disease that worsens over time and affects breathing. Symptoms include coughing, sputum, shortness of breath and chest tightness. COPD patients often have difficulty with physical activities and can become exhausted quickly.

Going to the sauna can be a valuable support for these patients, as it can improve lung function and make breathing easier. Inhaling the hot air stimulates the body to cough up mucus and open the airways. In addition, sweating in the sauna can help reduce inflammation in the body. However, COPD patients should consult their doctor before using the sauna to make sure they are not taking any health risks.

How the sauna can help COPD patients

In the sauna, we can expect an atmosphere that could not be more soothing. The warm and humid air that surrounds us can have an extremely positive effect on our breathing. For COPD patients in particular, breathing in this air can be a real blessing. This is because it moistens and cleans the airways, which makes breathing easier and promotes good health.

However, COPD patients should be sure to consult their doctor before visiting the sauna and start sauna sessions slowly to avoid overexertion. Also, the humidity in the sauna should not be too high to avoid irritation of the respiratory tract. Overall, however, sauna can be a useful addition to medical therapy for COPD patients, helping them to improve their respiratory function and relax.

What should be considered? Risks & Precautions!

When it comes to COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), there are some important points to consider, especially with regard to risks and precautions when using the sauna.

  • Keep an eye on the temperature in the sauna: too high a temperature can lead to breathing problems. It is advisable to use the sauna at moderate temperatures and not overexpose yourself to heat.
  • Limit sauna time: excessive sweating can lead to dehydration, which in turn causes breathing problems. Limit time in the sauna and take regular breaks to cool down and hydrate.
  • Cool down slowly: Abruptly cooling down after a sauna session can cause breathing problems. You should cool down slowly, for example, by gradually alternating between warm and cool environments.
  • Avoid crowded or smoky saunas (smoke saunas): Overcrowded saunas can lead to increased concentrations of respiratory irritants, while smoky environments can further stress the respiratory system. Therefore, it is better to choose well-ventilated and smoke-free saunas.
  • Perform breathing exercises: Before and after sauna use, breathing exercises can help strengthen the airways and improve breathing. The attending physician or a respiratory therapist can recommend specific exercises.

Increase cautiously and avoid extremes

COPD patients should increase their sauna visits carefully and avoid extremes. That is, they should not go straight to the hottest sauna, but start slowly and get used to the heat. Extreme temperatures such as ice baths or cold showers should also be avoided so as not to overtax the body. Start with a sauna temperature of 114,8 to 140 °F. In the beginning, 3–5 minutes are sufficient. If the sauna is well tolerated, you can slowly increase the duration and heat level.

Instead of resorting to energy-sapping methods, COPD patients can stimulate their circulation in a gentle way. For example, by taking a gentle, lukewarm shower or a soothing foot bath after a sauna session. It should be emphasized that everyone reacts differently and should therefore decide individually which temperature is best for them. As a rule of thumb, if you feel comfortable and do not experience any discomfort – be it shortness of breath or dizziness – you can assume that your body is coping well.

Salt inhalation clears the airways

For people with respiratory conditions, salt inhalation can be a real boon. Breathing in salty air loosens mucus buildup and dilates the bronchial tubes, making breathing much easier. But that’s not all: the salt particles also have an anti-inflammatory effect and can thus help to improve well-being in the long term.

This form of inhalation is particularly effective in the sauna, where the increased temperature additionally promotes the healing process. It is of great importance for COPD patients to regularly relieve and strengthen their airways. Salt inhalation in the sauna can be a useful complement to medical treatment and thus contribute to a better attitude towards life.

Conclusion: The sauna as a supportive measure for COPD

Overall, the sauna can be a valuable support for COPD patients. By increasing the frequency and depth of breathing and relaxing the respiratory muscles, symptoms can be alleviated. The immune system is also strengthened, which can protect against infections. However, patients should consult their physician before using the sauna and follow some precautions to avoid overexertion or irritation. In sum, sauna can be useful as a complementary measure to drug therapy for COPD and can help improve patients’ well-being and quality of life.


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