I have been feeling a little run down and congested this past little while (it has been a long winter and it’s not over yet!) One of my favourite things to do when I am feeling like this is a steam inhalation. It is really relaxing, helps to open up the sinuses and just feels great – especially on a cold February day!
Across many different cultures and for many years, people have used stream to enhance their health. Hippocrates (the father of modern medicine) claimed that steaming could cure any illness. Romans used steam to cleanse and relax and Native Americans believed that humid sweat lodges could cure both physical and spiritual ailments. Eastern medicine has used steaming for centuries, for example, Ayurveda’s swedana therapy and Turkish baths are said to detoxify and heal.
Steps for Steaming
- Boil water and let it sit for a minute
- Add a drop or two of essential oil to a bowl (peppermint is great for clearing sinuses)
- Pour steaming water into the bowl, about a cup will do
- Lean over the bowl (not too close) with a large towel over your head
- Breathe in the steam (in through your nose, out through your mouth)
- Stay under for about 5-10 minutes (you might need to lift the towel up once in awhile)
An added bonus: You get a facial at the same time!
Tip: You only need a drop of essential oil. I seem to have an affinity for peppermint these days. I swore I smelled it in a friend’s hair the other day, which was very nice because I love the smell … But when I made this video, I wasn’t paying very close attention and the drop became more of a large dash, a little overzealous. It was a bit too minty and definitely cleared my sinuses… So, just saying, less is usually more when it comes to essential oils!
If you are interested in aromatherapy, I really like the book, Aromatherapy, An A-Z by Patricia Davis. She presents the information in an alphabetical listing by both essential oil and condition. It’s full of interesting information and is a great resource to have on hand.