Steam Therapy For Chest Congestion
Essential oils are often added to provide additional relief.
Ancient Egyptians recognized the good therapeutic effects of inhalation therapy through the use of public baths.
Steam inhalation has since become a simple and effective home remedy for various health issues.
Inhaling steam is a great treatment for respiratory complications and is recommended for dealing with common cold, flu, bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma, and allergies.
Dry air passages are moistened, and mucus is loosened/eliminated easier by coughing or blowing the nose. The moist air also alleviates difficulty breathing, throat irritation and inflammation.
An expectorant increases the amount of secretions, resulting in clearer secretions and as a result, lubricates the irritated respiratory tract.
The inhalation of steam significantly benefits the lungs and throat by acting like an effective natural expectorant.
This helps to relax muscles, thereby relieving coughing. Inhaling steam is also necessary for preventing excessive drying of the mucous membranes.
Many find that aromatherapy provides more relief than steam alone. To alleviate symptoms, essential oils may be added to the steaming water. These are generally used sparingly, with only two to three drops being used at a time.
- For upper respiratory and sinus congestion: Peppermint, and/or eucalyptus
- For headaches: Chamomile and/or lavender
- For relaxation: Chamomile, lavender and/or lemongrass
- For oily skin: Chamomile, lemongrass, lavender, rosemary, anise, and/or fennel
- For dry skin: Fennel, rosemary, sea buckthorn, peppermint and/or comfrey
Alternatively fresh herbs may be bruised and added to hot water.
Thankfully, steam inhalation does not have to be complicated or expensive. A common method of inhaling steam is to boil a few cups of filtered water and then pour the steaming water into a large bowl.
Essential oils can be added at this point if desired. Next, a towel can be placed over the head, while leaning over the bowl of water, breathing deeply through the nose for approximately 15 minutes.
Humidifiers also provide a gentle form of steam inhalation.
Since very hot water is used, there is a burn risk associated with inhaling steam. For this reason, it is typically not recommended as a treatment for young children.
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