Regular sauna bathing as training for a weakened immune system

In recent years, we have endeavoured to protect ourselves from coronavirus infection by wearing masks or keeping our distance. However, external protection is now revealing a surprising effect: it has put our immune system into a kind of inertia. Neglecting the inherent training of our body's defences has left our immune system more vulnerable. Once steeled by regular challenges, it is now no longer trained to the usual extent to protect itself from viral attackers. Prof Dr Karl-Ludwig Resch from the German Institute of Health Research has now confirmed once again that the immune system can be strengthened again with sauna bathing and regain its former strength - even more sustainably than with vitamins.

Weakened defences after corona winters

Over the last two winters, which have been impacted by the corona virus, we have actively tried to minimise the spread of pathogens by wearing masks and keeping our distance. However, this has deprived our immune system of a crucial task: fending off intruders on its own. Instead of relying on our immune system, we have taken over protection ourselves through external measures. Although this gave us a break from infections, it also deprived the immune system of its natural training basis, as the body's own defences had no chance to work.

"The consequence is an immune system that is dormant and untrained," explains Prof Dr Karl-Ludwig Resch from the German Institute of Health Research in Hof/Saale. "This can also be seen in the statistics: the figures from the Robert Koch Institute show that there are significantly more respiratory illnesses this winter compared to the pre-corona period - from mild respiratory infections to severe flu or rhinovirus infections." Fortunately, there is a beneficial antidote: "Similar to endurance or strength training in sports, we can also train our immune system and make it strong again against viral attackers: namely by taking a sauna," says the expert. "But as with any type of training, regularity is the key to success."


Sauna against free radicals

Saunas not only promote blood circulation, reduce stress hormones and support the cardiovascular system - they also play a key role in strengthening the immune system. The high temperatures in the sauna cause the temperature inside the body to rise, which is similar to a brief fever-like state. This state activates the immune system, which then mobilises its defence mechanisms. If you do this regularly, the immune system learns to react quickly and precisely and to neutralise the troublemakers effectively. This is much more effective than leaving the job to vitamins, for example.

"There is still a common misconception that antioxidant vitamins are the best way to prevent illness, as they protect the body from free radicals, which are at the root of many health problems. However, it has now emerged that these are much less reliable than people think," says Resch. Instead of blocking free radicals with vitamins, it is more advisable to consciously expose the body to them. And you can do this by taking a sauna: "Because when you take a sauna, the number of free radicals in your body increases for a short time. With every training session, the body becomes more resistant to these attackers so that it can fight them off much more reliably - around the clock and not just as long as there are enough vitamins in the body."


Study shows: Sauna quickly strengthens the immune system

However, as with sport, "once a week is not enough, twice is the minimum and three times is even better," says Resch. A study with students at the University of Munich showed that susceptibility to colds can be reduced by 50% after just three months of regular sauna use. "And that's the beauty of the message: it shows that the body's resistance and the immune system's ability to react can be increased again quite quickly. Again, you don't have to do the same exercises every day. Between two sauna baths a week as a 'booster' stimulus, you can just as easily incorporate alternating showers, knee baths or walks in the cold."


Improved absorption of nutrients by the body

Nevertheless, the body naturally needs a supply of fresh vitamins. Saunas are also helpful in ensuring that these can be optimally absorbed by the body: the heat provocation in the sauna strongly stimulates blood circulation and opens the capillaries. This increases the blood flow, especially through organs and tissue. This means: "Taking a sauna is therefore also a good way of ensuring that the vitamins that are supposed to protect us can get to where they need to go in the first place," says Resch.


Preventive against viruses

However, taking a sauna is also a wonderful preventative measure that can be effective shortly after exposure: "When we inhale virus particles, it takes a while for them to infect the cells. They first have to overcome the protective mucus layer on the mucous membranes before they can reach the cell surface and penetrate via the receptor." In other words: After travelling by train or attending a conference where you have been in contact with people who are suspected to be infected, go straight to the sauna! Breathing in the hot air kills a large proportion of the extremely heat-sensitive viruses.


Health and wellness - sauna for all occasions

With this in mind, having your own sauna at home is of course the ideal way for many people to strengthen their immune system and prevent illness with regular sauna sessions. As a leading supplier on the market, KLAFS is constantly striving to offer new solutions that seamlessly combine relaxation and health in the most effective way and has created wellness oases for every location: With the S1 SAUNA MANUELL, for example, KLAFS offers a sauna that requires minimal space and therefore fits into any room. In XS format, it measures just 1.12 metres wide. Thanks to the unique zoom principle, the sauna requires just 60 cm of space in depth when not in use and can be extended up to 1.60 m for extensive sauna sessions. It can also be easily connected to all 230 V household sockets.

Salt mist as an additional immune booster

KLAFS provides additional relief with the patented Microsalt SaltProX. It distributes a particularly fine dry salt mist in the cabin, which has a decongestant effect when inhaled, thus promoting circulation and reducing inflammation, and promotes the clearing of stuck secretions in the airways. "The dry brine loosens the mucus and helps to remove it more easily. It also dries the mucous membranes slightly and removes water from them, so that they can decongest and you can breathe better again," explains Prof Dr Resch.


Infusion with the KLAFS Vitality Boost for even more effective sauna training

Another option for more effective sauna training is the infusion with targeted air wafting. The hot air makes the bather feel the heat even more intensely and the immune system is trained with greater intensity. It is as if a metaphorical "weight has been added" and the training turbo is activated. For this purpose, KLAFS has developed an innovative solution to make an infusion as effective as possible and to enable highly precise wafting: the Vitality Boost function. It transforms the sauna heater into a personal infusion master and enables an automatic infusion with a targeted wafting function without the sauna user having to stand up. The infusion is activated by presetting, pressing a button or using the voice function, and the wafting louvres integrated in the sauna heater direct the rising hot air precisely onto the person bathing in the sauna.


"Similar to endurance or strength training in sport, we can also train our immune system and make it strong again against viral attackers: namely by taking a sauna."

Prof Dr Karl-Ludwig Resch, MD


About KLAFS:

KLAFS has been creating places of relaxation for body and soul since 1928. Time and again, the company manages to surprise with groundbreaking innovations – such as the space-saving sauna KLAFS S1, which transforms from the size of a wall cabinet to a fully functional sauna within 20 seconds at the push of a button. Thanks to this innovative strength, KLAFS advanced from what was once a small family business to a global industry leader. Today, more than 800 employees work to meet - and exceed - the ever-increasing demands of customers. From small private sauna rooms to luxurious hotel spas. And they do this all over the world, with expert advice from carefully trained technical consultants and on-site service from experienced teams. As a trendsetter in the sauna, pool and spa industry, KLAFS continuously invests in research and development, for example to further increase the energy efficiency of its products.