Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sinus Infections

Sinus infections affect millions of people every year. During this time, I start to see more and more patients with this complaint. For sinus infections, I, of course, highly recommend acupuncture, which is very effective for relieving acute sinusitis, an infection that can cause pain, headaches, congestion and obstructed breathing. Acupuncture lessens pain and promotes sinus drainage within minutes of placement of the needles.

The following are other methods of preventing and relieving sinus infections:

-Place a hot, wet compress over the whole sinus area to promote sinus drainage. Work up to as much heat as you can stand for 5-10 minutes at a time, a few times a day.

-Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to help moisten and thin the mucus in your sinuses.

-Inhale steam with a little eucalyptus oil in it to ease clogging.

-Take a hot shower to help clear your sinuses. While in the shower, if you are able, bend over and touch your toes, bring your head straight down as far you can and hold for a count of 30.

-Flush your nasal passages with a warm saline solution to relieve sinus congestion and to prevent sinus infections. For an active infection, do this two to four times a day.

-A Neti Pot is a traditional, Indian nasal-irrigation device shaped like Aladdin's lamp that lets you pour the water into one of your nostrils and out the other.

-If you do not have a neti pot, you can also dissolve a ¼ teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm distilled water and pour some of the solution into your cupped hand and inhale it through one nostril while closing the other with a finger.

-If you have chronic sinus problems, try eliminating milk and all milk products from your diet (including prepared foods that list milk as an ingredient). Basically, you should avoid foods which produce phlegm, such as cheese, ice cream, milk, butter, and fried foods (french fries, fried chicken, etc.). Give yourself about two months for results.

-Take a good probiotic daily, especially if you are taking an antibiotic.

-Keep your house at the right humidity. If your house is too dry, your sinuses will also dry up, setting up a prime environment for infections.

-Acupressure can help alleviate sinusitis: Locate these points and hold for about 3 minutes. Do this three times on each point daily)

-Bitong (Extra Point): Located on each side of the nose, at the bottom edge of the nasal bones.

-Yingxiang (LI 20): Located in the groove on each side of the nostrils, at the widest point of the nostrils.

-Hegu (LI-4): Located at the highest spot of the muscle between the thumb and index finger on the back of the hand when the thumb and index finger are close together.

-Finally, there are great Chinese herbals for sinus infections, come in to my office and we can talk about which formula is for you.

As always, I wish you a happy and healthy Holiday season!