Acupuncture for Sinusitis

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For chronic sufferers sinusitis can be a nightmare to live with – feeling like somebody replaced your head with a brick – a pain-filled brick at that – and filled your nose with the slime made from that little green guy in Ghostbusters*. Happily, there’s no need to call in Bill Murray and the gang just yet. Instead, try acupuncture for sinusitis.

Sinusitis is the inflammation or infection of the sinuses. These are small air-filled spaces in the facial bones, particularly around the cheeks and eyes. The sinuses are lined by tissues that produce phlegm to catch any pollutants breathed in, and drain the phlegm out to the nose and throat via small passageways. If the sinus tissues become swollen or produce too much phlegm then the passageways become blocked, the phlegm is unable to drain out and bacteria can cause infection.

Inflammation of the sinus can be caused by allergies – like hayfever – or irritation – like inhaling smoke or swimming in chlorinated water. Some people are more susceptible than others.

Western medical treatments include nasal flushing, antibiotics in cases of infection; and for severe chronic cases, surgery.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the nasal passages are the orifice associated with the Lung. One of the Lung’s functions is to disperse and descend fluids and qi (energy, pronounced “chee”). If there is an attack from external wind-type pathogens (think along the lines of cold and ‘flu type stuff) then the Lung is the first place to get hit (that’s when you get sore throat, cough, runny nose). The Lung is unable to disperse and descend, the fluids accumulate and congeal into Damp or Phlegm, both of which are nasty (now we’ve got the abundance of mucus). Sometimes it’s further complicated with signs of Heat (the phlegm is thick, green or yellow; there’s fever and infection), or Cold (now it’s really runny nasal discharge).

Now, who ya gonna call? That’s right, acupuncture for sinusitis!

By stimulating the correct acupuncture points, the Lung qi is restored to help disperse the fluids and stop cough, the phlegm is drained out of the sinus and the pain-inducing blockage is moved and regulated.

Common points used to treat sinusitis are Large Intestine 4 (located on the hand), Large Intestine 20 (next to the nose) and Governor Vessel 23 (on the forehead). Other points may be used according to individual cases.

Sometimes Chinese Herbal Medicines can be combined with acupuncture to alleviate sinusitis. Common formulas include Cang Er Zi San (Xanthium Powder), or Bi Min Gan Wan (Magnolia and Scute Formula).

Additionally, I would usually also recommend Tui Na (Chinese Massage). Massaging the affected area can help to resolve the stasis and help get all that goopy stuff moving again.

As always, only take herbal medication or receive acupuncture from a registered practitioner.

*The original ghostbusters, I’m talking about, here. ‘Cause that’s how old I am.

For further reading, here’s a study that showed acupuncture performed as well as conventional care in the treatment of chronic sinusitis:

Knut Stavem, Edna Røssberg, Pål G Larsson, 2008, Health-related quality of life in a trial of acupuncture, sham acupuncture and conventional treatment for chronic sinusitis, BMC Research Notes, Volume 1, Number 1, Page 1

Acupuncture for Sinusitis

Acupuncture for Sinusitis

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