Ara Walline, Doctor of Naturopathy at Unravel Therapeutics

Ara Walline, ND

Ara Walline, ND

Sauna therapy can benefit the heart, the nervous system, the immune system and even improve allergies, according to preliminary research studies. Whether in a Roman steam bath, a Native American sweat lodge, or a local spa, the benefit of sauna and heat therapy has long been employed for healing by cultures around the world. A 2013 study is helping to expand the science of sauna therapy by demonstrating that after just 6 weeks of treatment individuals suffering from chronic allergies were able to experience less congestion and greater lung capacity as well!

Unravel Therapeutics SaunaWhy does sauna help reduce allergy symptoms? This study suggests that the changes in blood flow and in the nervous system’s response to heat may explain it. Study participants followed a targeted 30 minute sauna experience consisting of repeated 5 minute heat and 5 minute rest periods. Measurements of lung and nervous system function were taken at the beginning and end of the study period, as well as half way through. Building on previous research that linked chronic allergies to a poorly regulated nervous system, this study sought to exploit the fact that exposing the body to heat in the form of sauna can also build nervous system resilience. Investigators believe that symptoms were improved not only as a result of strengthening the nervous system, but also as a result of the congestion-clearing local effects of heat in the nasal cavity.

In naturopathic medicine, we are taught to use and respect the tools of heat and cold, water, and herbs to strengthen and nourish the organs and tissues of the body. This study demonstrates how seemingly simple treatments like heat and sauna can have profound effects on the body, and ultimately, contribute to greater overall health and vitality.


Kunbootsri N, Janyacharoen T, Arrayawichanon P, Chainansamit S, Kanpittaya J, Auvichayapat P, Sawanyawisuth K. The effect of six-weeks of sauna on treatment of the autonomic nervous system, peak nasal inspiratory flow and lung functions of allergic rhinitis Thai patients. Asian Pac J Allergy Immunol. 2013 Jun;31(2):142-7.





* During the month of March, enjoy a trip to the Eucalyptus sauna at Unravel Therapeutics at the beginning or end or your naturopathic health consultation to benefit from the health promoting effects of heat as we endure the last few months of winter’s chill!