Chulalongkorn Medical Journal


Backgrounds : Nowadays, the role of thermotherapy has been increase for therapeuticpurposes. Sauna is known as a heat modality for relaxation, skincirculation, flexibility and pain reduction. It should be useful to altermuscle activity and reduce stress in people with allergic rhinitis.The advantage of sauna is muscle relaxation and increase of bloodflow. It would be useful to know the effects of sauna in altering muscleand cortisol level in people with allergic rhinitis in order to determinesuitable alternative treatment. However, none of studies has reportedthe effect of sauna on flexibility, muscle strength and cortisol level inpeople with allergic rhinitis. Therefore, sauna was the one type ofalternative treatment for patients in the future.Objective : The aim of this study was to investigate effects of sauna on flexibility,strength and cortisol level in people with allergic rhinitis.Setting : Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Khon Kaen University,Khon Kaen, ThailandDesign : Randomized-controlled trialMethodology : Twenty-six allergic rhinitis volunteers aged 18 - 30 years old werediagnosed based on history, physical examination and positive reactionfrom skin prick test. Subjects were randomly assigned either intoexperimental sauna group or control group. Control group (n = 13;7 women, 6 men) received education about self-care and avoidance ofallergen. Sauna group (n = 13; 7 women, 6 men) had sauna for a sixweekperiod, 3 days per week, with 6 sets of 5 minutes per set per day,totaling 30 minutes. Each 5 minute set was alternated with a 5-minperiod of rest. Cortisol level, strength and flexibility were measured atthe beginning, then at three and six weeks.Results : There was a statistically significant increase in flexibility (p = 0.042) andstrength (p = 0.048) after 6 weeks of sauna compared with the controlgroup. On the contrary, there was a statistically significant decrease incortisol level (p = 0.004) after 3 weeks of sauna compared with thecontrol group, with a rise to baseline after 6 weeks.Conclusion : Sauna can reduce stress hormone in short term, and increase in trunkflexibility and back strength in people with allergic rhinitis.


Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University

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