VERY early this morning my son crawled into bed with me.
He said he had a bad dream, and I suspected he didn’t sleep well since his breathing sounded like it was running through a snorkel.
You may have someone in your household like my son. He isn’t sick, he isn’t even really all that congested.
His nasal passages tend to get irritated and tickled when the weather shifts. Here in Ohio it has been just cold enough for a few nights that we have shut up the house and turned on our pellet stove. This type of heat is perfect for helping me dry the last bit of harvested herbs, it is economical, and offers the ability to keep the house warmer in the winter (without a fuel oil bill). However, this stove sucks up the moisture in the air.
For someone like my son that means lots of sneezing and snorkel breathing at night. For my husband this can mean occasional nosebleeds.
Dry mucous membranes in the nose can be addressed with a simple saline mixture in a neti pot. This therapy once a week, through allergy season (or during times of intense dry air) can help the nasal passages shed irritants. It also works for adults (when no active infection or congestion is present).
Neti pot for my son? Not so much. He’s a 5 year old with a healthy fear of water; it was years before bath-time didn’t require earplugs. And my desire to explain (at the top of my voice) why he should voluntarily tip his head forward over the sink (so water can wash up into his nose) waned a long time ago.
So in our house, the solution for small people is the use of therapeutic steams.
How to do a Basic Therapeutic Steam Sauna
Boil 2-3 cups of water per person.
Pour the hot, steamy water into a bowl.
Add herbs or essential oils. The choice is dependent on what you are trying to treat. For herbs add a small pinch of each variety. For essential oils, use one to two drops ONLY! (Find organic herbs here and 100% pure essential oils here.)
Immediately drape a towel over both the head of the person and the bowl. Have them hold their face as close to the surface of the water as they can stand.
Set the timer for 5-8 minutes and try to keep them under the towel as long as possible.
My son, even at his young, squirmy age will cooperate and sit under the towel. I think he secretly thinks it’s kind of fun to be in his own little fort. Be aware that anytime you use this treatment it is likely to loosen up anything hiding in the sinuses. Have a box of tissues close at hand.
Herbal Suggestions for Therapeutic Steams
Here are some great herbal combinations to use for a variety of therapeutic steams: