Breathing in the sauna

The hot sauna air we inhale stimulates blood circulation in the nose and throat. But where does the feeling come from that you breathe in heavier in the sauna. And can the hot sauna air be harmful to the respiratory tract? We investigate this question and clarify.
Deep breathing prevents colds

How to breathe properly in the sauna?

Breathing in the sauna. As a sauna magazine, we often receive letters from readers who fear that the hot air in the sauna makes it harder to breathe. From a physical point of view, the idea is not all that wrong. The warmer the air, the thinner it is – and the thinner it is, the less oxygen it contains.

But our bodies don’t mind, quite the opposite. When you breathe through your nose, the air is cooled at the nasal mucosa. To cool it down, the body produces more moisture. That’s why many people feel that their nose runs when they sweat. The same principle applies when breathing through the mouth.

Take a deep breath – but do it right!

To breathe properly while in the sauna, always take a deep breath through your nose. If you feel that it is too hot for this, sit one floor lower. The body already knows what is good for it. By the way, the breathing rate increases only minimally in the sauna, even if many people perceive it differently. A normal, healthy person takes an average of 16 breaths per minute.

In the sauna, that’s maybe 18 breaths per minute – not much more. And we have to dispel another myth at this point: the depth of the breaths does not change either. Sure, the air smells good – and so it would be logical to breathe in more deeply. The oxygen content of the air is also lower. But all these are no arguments for our body to take a really deep breath. After all, it doesn’t need that much oxygen – it’s just relaxing in the pleasant warmth.

Training for the lungs

A visit to the sauna is good for the lungs, or rather for their volume. If you breathe properly, your lungs will be exercised in the hot air. You can breathe deeply in the heat. In addition, there are no pollutants in the air. It’s almost like a “fresh cell” cure for your battered respiratory tract. And something else is perfect for the respiratory tract.

We have already said that the body moistens them in order to cool the air. The effect is not only short-lived. The additional moisture forms a protective layer on the mucous membranes – and they can defend themselves better against bacteria and viruses, for example. Especially hay fever patients can take care of their nasal mucosa in the heat.

Sauna air is warm and humid

The air in the sauna huts is not only warmer, it is also more humid. Especially shortly after an infusion. This also benefits the respiratory tract – especially the bronchial tubes. This is where pathogens often settle – and can trigger bronchitis, for example. Breathing in the moist, warm air literally flushes them away. Moreover, if the bronchial tubes are sufficiently moist, no other pathogens can take hold. So it’s worth taking regular saunas, especially during the cold season.

Breathing exercises are also easy to implement outside the sauna and help after just a few minutes:
  • Reduce stress and feel deep relaxation
  • Eliminate anxiety and get rid of worries
  • Eliminate tension and loosen your muscles
  • Relieve the stomach and strengthen the intestinal flora
  • Reduce headaches and increase concentration
  • Gain more vital energy and performance

Tip for sauna beginners

So you see, breathing in the hot air has many benefits for your body. You should remember this the next time you feel like you are having a hard time breathing again. Especially if you are still a sauna beginner, you will see: It will come with time.


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