We’re all thinking about our immune systems lately. Good news! Saunas and hot tubs both have immune system boosting effects.

Here are some ways how:

Stress reduction: Both hot tubs and saunas are great for reducing stress. The effects of stress on the immune system are well documented – stress can considerably weaken the immune system. According to Andrew Goliszek, Ph.D, in Psychology Today “Ongoing stress makes us susceptible to illness and disease because the brain sends defense signals to the endocrine system, which then releases an array of hormones that not only gets us ready for emergency situations but severely depresses our immunity at the same time.” (Read the article here). Taking in a sauna session or a soak in a hot tub are both great for relaxation and stress relief. Anxiety is often associated with muscle tension, and the warmth of your spa or sauna does wonders for relaxing muscles. To reduce stress, it often helps to just take a break and get away from the constant demands of every day life and the distractions of technology. Your hot tub or sauna can be a perfect escape.

Better sleep: Consistently getting a good night’s sleep is critical for a healthy immune system – and your overall health. Sleep is the body’s way of rejuvenating itself. Research has shown that a deeper, more relaxed sleep can result from both hot tub and sauna use. In addition to relaxing you overall, once you get out of your hot tub or sauna your body temperature decreases, which increases feelings of sleepiness.

Getting outdoors: Vitamin D from sunlight is good for the immune system. It can be hard to get some sunshine in the winter months. Taking a soak in your hot tub in the early morning hours is a good way to soak in some rays as well.

Saunas help fight illness: German sauna medical research has shown that saunas were able to significantly reduce the incidences of colds and flu amongst participants. As the body is exposed to the heat of a sauna and steam (in the case of traditional saunas), it produces white blood cells more rapidly. White blood cells help to fight illnesses and kill viruses. Check out more health benefits of saunas here!

Overall health: Using your sauna or hot tub can reduce everyday inflammation and tension, increase mobility and flexibility, improve cardiovascular performance, lower blood pressure, aid in recovery after exercise, loosen congestion, and help with chronic conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches, lower back or neck pain… the health benefits of both hot tubs and saunas are astounding.  Overall health is key to a strong immune system.

Other ways to improve your immune system include healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and even having a good laugh. Making time to jump into your spa or sauna as part of your daily routine – especially in conjunction with other healthy habits – can give your immune system a boost.