Inhalation is the irrigation of the respiratory tract with thermal water. This absorption can be done inhaling the water suspended in the air of a room, such as the steam bath or hamam, or that of an aerosol or nebuliser. This equipment has a propellant that turns the water in the container into droplets, smaller in the case of the aerosol and larger in that of the nebuliser.
Inhalations must be done with medicinal mineral water, declared fit for public use. The most suitable are sulphuric and chlorinated. Depending on the problem to be treated, a specific product may be added to the water. It is beneficial for problems of both the upper tracts, such as sinusitis, otitis, rhinitis, pharyngitis and alterations of the voice, as well as those of the lower tracts, such as tracheitis, bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. It is also used for children with excessive mucous, for smokers and for treating the common cold.
The inhalation lasts a few seconds, but afterwards it is essential to rest for about ten minutes to allow the water molecules to act on the mucous membranes and for the body to adjust to the change in temperature. The treatment is recommended to be taken over two or three weeks. There are no age limits for doing inhalations.
Sprays are not the same as inhalations. They are external projections of thermal water onto the neck which are done to treat problems of the pharynx and of tonsils. They can also be applied on to the face to treat acne and boils.