Breathe Deep Part 2: Chest Colds and Steam Inhalation

It’s fall. There’s a nip in the air. There’s frost on the ground. The leaves are changing colour and the geese are flying South. It’s back to school time for kids and young adults.

It’s a time of re-structuring and planning. It’s cold and flu season…?

It’s tough on the body to transition from one season to the next. In Traditional Chinese Medicine they even have a recipe called “change of season soup” to help the body adjust without getting sick.

You know, I don’t mind getting a cold or flu once in a while. It’s natural. But…this post is for those who get sick more than once or twice a year or who fight painful sinus congestion or who find that every cold they get goes straight to their chest. “Chest colds” linger for weeks or progress to pneumonia or bronchitis.

And so, on the topic of deep breathing for health and stress reduction, comes another remedy for a cold. Steam inhalation.

Steam inhalation is an old remedy but its usefulness has not diminished along with its faded popularity.

There are lots of cold and flu remedies. Some natural and others medical but the question remains, “what is the easiest way to get an anti-microbial substance directly to the source (ie. the lungs and throat)?” Through breathing of course!

Steam works perfectly to evaporate natural anti-microbial essential oils into the air. Air can make it’s way into the very furthest reaches of your lungs, throat, and sinuses. And thus, the theory behind steam inhalation for colds.

So next time you feel a cold approaching, try the following:

1) fill a large bowl with boiling water and add 2-4 drops of tea tree or oregano or eucalyptus essential oil (all naturally anti-microbial)

2) cover your head and the bowl with a large towel, close your eyes (the oils can aggravate your eyes), and breathe deeply for 10-15 minutes through your mouth and nose

3) repeat this procedure 1-3 times daily for duration of the cold symptoms

4) Be careful not to burn yourself. If it is too hot, lift the towel for a minute. For children, try adding the oils to a humidifier in their room overnight. And remember to seek medical advice if symptoms progress or you are not sure what to do next. I’m here to help and so are your medical doctors and nurses!

So if you want to bring back a little simplicity into your health routine this fall, breathe deep.