Steam when you want to open and clear the pores. Or when your sinuses feel clogged or signs of a respiratory infection are showing. When you want to tend to your mucosa and thus your innate immunity. Steam when you need to warm up and stay well on a very cold day when a chill gets into your bones. To raise the spirit and hydrate the mind when feeling seasonal blues.
I'll get right down to it with the instructions:
Cleanse your face before steaming. Fill a large stock pot with a few inches of water. Although steaming can be done effectively without the addition of herbs, certain plants can enhance the experience. We’ll talk more about herb selection in the next paragraph. Bring water to a boil. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes if you are using herbs. As the water comes to a boil, set up a station for your steam. You'll want a table or station where you can place a pot and comfortably hover your face above the pot with minimal stress on the body. I recommend using something to hold back the hair and wearing loose fitting, light clothing and no jewelry. When the pot is ready, bring it over to the station with the lid still snugly on. When you are ready, remove the lid. The steam will be very hot. Allow it to rise for a minute. Test with your hand the heat of the steam and move your face over it when you are ready. Cloak a thick cloth or towel over your head and the pot, creating a mini sauna. The steam will be very hot at first, so be careful, and create vents in your cloak by raising your arms. Take care not to burn yourself! Take deep breaths and move your head from side to side. As the steam reduces, you can move closer to the water, eventually coming to about 5 inches from the water level. Steam for about 10 minutes. Post steam, rinse your face in cold water. Spritz with a hydrosol like Botanical Waters and apply a moisturizer such as The Healer balm.
A steam can be conducted with water alone, but herbs enhance the experience. Some of my favorites for steaming: lavender, fennel, yarrow, elderflower, calendula, licorice, rose, peppermint. When in doubt, look to aromatic mint family plants.
Do not steam daily but rather as a monthly or seasonal ritual.