Ahhh, the power of hot water! Using hydrotherapy to keep your family well this winter is one of the simplest and most enjoyable home remedies you can imagine. As long as you have a pot and running water, you’re set to go!
There is nothing worse than not being able to breathe well when you’re feeling lousy from a cold, flu or infection. Herbal steams are a fast and very effective way to ease respiratory symptoms, improve circulation and break up congestion. Whether you have a stuffy nose, a deep cough, an upper respiratory infection -- or just feel the need to clear out your nasal passages -- you won’t be disappointed with a facial steam!
A few years ago my family and I were traveling outside the country and my son came down with croup. In the middle of the night he woke up struggling to take a deep breath. Instead of panicking I wrapped him up in a warm towel, turned the shower on hot and closed the bathroom door. The small room quickly filled with warm steam and he inhaled it deeply. Within 10 minutes he was breathing normally and dropped off to sleep again. Grateful to have avoided a stressful late-night visit to the hospital, I tucked him back into bed and snuggled up to keep an eye on him. Just having hot water was enough to do the job, though adding aromatic herbs or essential oils would have been even better!
DIY Herbal Steam
1. Heat a large pot of water on the stove until it’s steaming hot.
2. Add a handful of herbs to the water or a few drops of essential oil. Rosemary, thyme, eucalyptus, or sages are all great choices. Aromatic herbs tend to have powerful antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Eucalyptus helps to stimulate mucous secretions and is an especially good choice for a steam if you’re feeling stuffed up and congested. Always be careful of your eyes -- don’t add too much essential oil or it could sting them.
3. Drape a large towel over your head and the pot to contain the steam, and breathe normally for 10 minutes. Lift up the towel and release some steam if it’s too hot. If the water cools down you can put it back on the stove for a few minutes and repeat.
Try to stay warm after your steam and enjoy the feeling of satisfaction that comes when you take care of yourself with simple home remedies.
Remember always check with your physician before beginning a new regimen (especially if you're on medication).