A Chinese Medicine Approach to Treating Sinus Infections – Part II

In my last post, I introduced the underlying patho-dynamics of sinus infections from a Chinese Medicine perspective. In this post, I will share a few self-help tips for addressing this often stubborn condition.

If you suffer from sinus infections, you know that they often don’t go away on their own. Receiving treatment with western medicine usually includes antibiotics, decongestant sprays or even steroids which could prove ineffective or have harmful side effects. If you haven’t had much success in managing your symptoms with those types of treatments, you may want to try some of these home remedies:

  • Use the Neti Pot (a sinus irrigation system) with saline in it. The saline breaks up the congestion, has no side effects and can be used up to twice a day.  Neti Pots are a $10-13 dollar one time purchase, making them an affordable option.
  • Use a steaming method:  Boil a pot of water, remove from heat and add essential oils of eucalyptus, thyme or orange peel in the water. Lean over the steaming pot (careful that you don’t burn yourself with the steam!), while covering your head with a towel and practice alternative nostril breathing, blocking one nostril with a finger while inhaling and exhaling in the other nostril.  Be sure to switch nostrils regularly.
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While these types of treatments can give you some symptom relief, they will not address the underlying deficiency in the lungs and spleen that give rise to the problem in the first place. Further, the reason that sinus infections often linger is the presence of damp phlegm, which in Chinese medicine is thought to be a ‘sticky’ and difficult to resolve pathogen. Adding Chinese herbal formulas will support you between acupuncture visits. Herbs are an effective treatment to deal with both the excess manifestation of damp phlegm, as well as the root cause of deficiency in the lung and spleen, and your acupuncturist will choose the formula which best matches your particular imbalance.

It is always recommended that you consult your healthcare professional if you are treating a sinus infection. Remember that the sooner you address an acute sinus infection, the quicker results you will get. Using a combination of self-help techniques, acupuncture and herbal medicine is a great way to alleviate acute or chronic sinus infections and support optimal health of your lungs. Call me today to get you and your sinuses on a path to better health. :-)