Hey there Guys. Today I saw a news report that Delta Goodrem, cancer survivor and Australian vocalist, sustained a significant burn while using a steamer while warming up for her show. This news reminded me that while steam can be a very useful tool for clearing the chest, sinuses and nose it needs to be used with caution. Today I wanted to cover the health benefits of steam and how you can use it safely without risk of burns.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Steam?
Steam can be a very useful tool for helping clear the chest, sinuses and nose of mucous. Regular steaming can soften this mucous and aids the body to clear it away. While the health benefits of steam are well documented it’s important to be very careful in how to use it.
One of the largest causes of genital burns in Australia is from people who have been scalded using buckets, bowls and towels while steaming. Having treated more then a handful of children and adults with these severe, painful burns I often caution my patients on safer ways to get the health benefits of steam without the risks.
Safe Ways To Use Steam
One of the safest ways to use steam is to jump into the shower and turn up the heat to a comfortable temperature, but not too hot to burn your skin. The hot moist air will certainly help soften any mucus in your airways and many people report feeling much better after a nice hot shower. Plenty of deep breathing both through the mouth and nose will help hit all the areas where mucus can collect and harden.
While a shower is a great option at home it’s not ideal for at work. One simple way to safely steam is to grab a coffee cup and put a few inches of boiling water in the bottom. Place the cup on a non slip surface on a table and you can breath in the steam over the cup. If need to target the nose more then the mouth you can place a paper bag over the cup and tear off the corner. This makes a perfect hole for breathing in the steam. I sometimes add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to help add some additional clearing.
If your gym or health clube has a steam room this is another great option. Just remember no longer then 20 minutes and be sure to drink plenty of water. Steam rooms are not recommended if you have heart conditions, epilepsy, low or high blood pressure. Always be sure to drink plenty of water and the sweating can lead to dehydration.
If you or a friend are every scalded or burnt with steam place the area into cold water immediately and seek medical attention straight away.
With the change in season there are quite a few coughs and colds going around. I hope these simple tips can enable you to harness the health benefits of steam without the potential risks of burns and scalds.
Yours in good health.