With an alarming rise in pollution these days, respiratory tract allergies and are a common way of life. it is in these circumstances that a natural and easily available healer like steam inhalation comes in handy.
Steam inhalation is introducing warm and moist air into the nasal n throat passage. It can be done through a simple steamer available with the chemist or can be done by boiling half a liter of water in a container, wrapping a towel around the head and leaning over the container, taking in steam off and on for 15-20 minutes.
Oft forgotten and underestimated, steam works wonders for numerous respiratory tract allergies and ailments like, throat irritation, inflammation, blocked nasal passage, difficult breathing, dry mucous membrane, choked throat or sinuses and tough mucus. Apart from moistening the respiratory tract, it loosens mucus and lets one breathe with ease, also aiding to moisten and lubricate the dry membranes.
Rise in temperature due to steam inhalation leads to an increased immunity due to heightened movement of white blood cells, the part of blood which fights with germs. It also helps to improve blood circulation, in general, which is a great relief in conditions like headaches and migraines.
While it may be a little tricky to give steam to kids below 5 years, you can try to fill a corner up with a bit of steam, and take the child in and out of it a couple of times. Be mindful of the fact that when the nasal passages are choked up, it is not an easy and pleasant process but the relief it brings, makes it worth it!
For mothers, steam also helps in getting that much-aspired glow on the skin! It helps to unplug the pores of the facial skin causing sebum and dirt to release, thus removing impurities and preventing acne breakout. A regular cycle of steam inhalation also loosens the dead skin cells, helping the skin to grow new cells, resulting in a rejuvenated and glowing skin.
Steam, coupled with essential oils is magical!
For enhanced effect, essential oils can be added to water, with different oils serving different purposes. For example, eucalyptus oil relieves one of nasal and sinus congestion, chamomile, lavender and lemon grass relax mind and body. Alternatively, they are also useful for treating oily skin. Oils like peppermint, rosemary and fennel help to doll up dry skin. If nothing else, the aroma itself lifts your spirits!
CAUTION: Just a little precaution and you are good to go. With hot water involved, children should always be accompanied by adults and it is always good to keep a safe distance from the steamer or the container to avoid any undesirable burns. Those with high blood pressure should also take care not to overdo it.
In many cases, medicines can be avoided, if steam is administered at the right time and at frequent intervals. Even if medicine is a necessity, steam is sure to speeden up the recovery!
So next time if you see even mild signs of cold and cough in you or your child, start steaming before you run to the doctor or pop pills.