Ever walked into the brisk cold air and felt your throat constrict? Or lay in a relaxing bath, taking deep breaths? Both are examples of how atmosphere, temperature, and humidity in particular, can affect our lungs and breathing.
Steam therapy has been used for thousands of years - from Roman bath-houses to the modern vaporisers of today.
Steam therapy is a natural, gentle and effective method to help keep airways clear and alleviate the symptoms of colds and flu.
Importance of Humidity
The body is comprised of 50-60% water, and it assists all vital body processes from circulation and digestion, to metabolism and temperature regulation. Water also
helps in the maintenance of protective mucus membranes.
This glue-like blanket of mucus membranes, which lines our respiratory tract, effectively traps allergens, bacteria and viruses which enter our body. It then expels them using
tiny moving 'fingers' called cilia, thus protecting us from illness. Even a slight reduction in humidity levels can compromise respiratory function. The cilia slow down their activity at 70% humidity and stop working entirely if it drops below 30%.
Low humidity can also dry the throat and may contribute to other symptoms such as dry skin, and itchy, inflamed eyes. During periods of low humidity – such as in winter – it may be helpful to run a vaporiser indoors to help combat dryness, and keep the respiratory system healthy. 1
How does Steam Therapy work?
When moist, warm air enters the lungs it helps to 'liquefy' mucus secretions and phlegm, making them easier to expel. This in turn helps keep the lungs and airways clear, making it easier to breathe. The soothing steam also helps lubricate and hydrate a sore throat caused by coughing.
There are many ways to receive the benefits from steam therapy:
Add a capful of Bosisto's Eucalyptus Oil to a bowl of warm water and with
the face 15 to 20cm away, inhale the vapours. Eucalyptus oil is a powerful natural decongestant, expectorant and antibacterial which has been used for centuries
to help ease the symptoms of respiratory conditions.
Perfect for the office or for a more portable, convenient method of steam inhalation. Personal vapour inhalers such as Bosisto's EucoSteam Inhaler can be used with eucalyptus oil or an inhalant which is soluble in water.
The best way to treat symptoms whilst sick in bed, or overnight. Using a water-soluble inhalant in the vaporiser creates soothing, medicated steam which is beneficial for the throat and airways. Steam vaporisers are a perfect alternative for treating children with croup (a viral form of laryngitis), and are suitable for the entire family including children under two years.
Adding an inhalant can increase the effectiveness of steam therapy. Ingredients such as eucalyptus and menthol act as natural expectorants, helping clear the nose, lungs and chest. Whilst using a vaporiser it is preferable to use a specially designed water soluble inhalant rather than adding 100% pure essential oils. Inhalants are formulated to effectively disperse in water, creating strong, long-lasting vapours for all night relief.
1. US Pharmacist Oct 1999
This material is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. If symptoms persist, please contact your healthcare professional.