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The Art of a Steam (Part 1)


Sinus trouble? Chest tightness? Runny nose? These are just a few of the irritating things about season discomforts. Want a quick, effective and easy way to reduce some of these symptoms? Look no further than hot water and essential oils.

A steam is great for so many reasons. It’s relaxing, it’s easy, it’s fast and it’s drug-free. Depending on your symptoms there are a variety of oils that are great for use in a steam blend. Which oils should we choose? Typically you want something that can reduce any uncomfortable feeling and with properties to help improve airflow through the nasal passages. Another property we’re probably looking for is something to help break up mucus. Learning how and why oils work for you is so empowering.

Let’s take a closer look at the oils that will be used in the stock blends.

  • Tea Tree and Lemon are two of my favorite for any kind of concern involving airways. These two oils work well together.
  • Lemon is also helpful to improve comfort.
  • German Chamomile is my favorite for common uncomfortable situations and mild soreness.
  • Palmarosa is another favorite of mine. is also a wonderful oil to consider pulling out of the oil box when seasonal illness strikes The other really nice thing about Palmarosa, it has moisturizing properties, which make it very nice for a dry, tight chest.
  • Cedarwood (all types) has excellent properties in supporting and maintaining a healthy respiratory system, especially during those (seemingly) never-ending winter months!
  • Pine Scots is particularly known for its ability to help support a healthy respiratory tract.
  • Spearmint is very helpful to break up chest congestion and improve any queasiness that may accompany times of seasonal illness.

Choosing from any of the above oils for colds and coughs is a great start to feeling better faster! Below are some recipes to get you started. Before we look at those, let’s look at how to effectively do a steam.

1. Grab a medium glass bowl, bath towel, and your chosen essential oils.
2. In a pot or kettle, bring water to just before the boiling point. If you reach the boiling point, remove from heat and allow to cool a few minutes before proceeding.
3. Place your bowl on a sturdy table or countertop. Pour your hot water into the bowl then drop 1-2 drops of essential oil into the water.
4. Keeping your eyes closed, move your head over the bowl and cover with a towel. Don’t open your eyes during the steam process, you don’t want the vapors in them!
5. Breathe deeply for a minute or two, it doesn’t take long.

Once you’re finished with your steam, simply pour out your water and put away your towel. Now take a deep breath – isn’t that better?

Now onto the good stuff: recipe ideas!

Sinus blend
20 drops each Tea Tree and Lemon, 5 drops German Chamomile
Use 2 drops of blend per bowl of hot water. Repeat 2-3 times per day as needed.

Chest Tightness
30 drops Palmarosa, 15 drops Cedarwood.
Use 2 drops per bowl of hot water. Repeat 2-3 times per day as needed.

Congested breathing
35 drops Pine Scotts, 10 Spearmint
Use 2 drops per bowl of hot water. Repeat 2-3 times per day as needed.

Keep these blends on hand for when you are not feeling you’re best and let us know if they work for you! Look for Part 2 of this series next Wednesday when we look at how you can use a steam as a facial! In the meantime, please reach out to us via email if you have any other questions or concerns. We can be reached at