Sinusitis is one of the most common chronic illnesses in North America. This ailment is characterized by symptoms such as facial pain, facial pressure, ear ache and nasal congestion - and can be triggered by an allergy, cold or environmental factors. Sinusitis may be accompanied by headaches (referred to as sinus headaches), primarily due to pressure around the eyes and cheeks as a result of swollen or inflamed mucous membranes. Patients with sinusitis and sinus headaches may turn to massage therapy as an effective alternative to pharmaceutical treatments. Comprehensive massage therapy education prepares graduates to treat patients with sinusitis. Techniques used to treat sinusitis include cranial sacral therapy, lymphatic drainage and Swedish massage.
Cranial sacral massage therapy focuses on releasing the soft tissue surrounding the central nervous system to relieve tension around the brain and spinal cord. A registered massage therapist may apply this approach to help align cranial bones and improve the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid, which in turn can relieve sinus pressure affecting the head and nasal passages. Regular treatments can help sufferers of chronic sinusitis and sinus headache better manage symptoms that often impede every-day activities.
The lymphatic system runs throughout the entire body, with the primary responsibility of transporting lymph (a fluid containing white blood cells) and removing cell waste, viruses, and bacteria. Poor lymphatic circulation can compromise the immune system and make recovery from recurring conditions particularly challenging. Facial lymphatic drainage –which concentrates on strokes along the neck and jaw line – can be particularly effective in restoring sinus health. When used on sinusitis patients, this technique can help flush out exacerbating bacteria, calm inflammation and relieve congestion.
Swedish massage includes the application of pressure to specific points in the body in order to encourage the function of related organs and body systems. This technique is often used to treat stress and tension, while improving blood circulation and promoting increased energy levels. When targeting sinus problems in particular, MTs stimulate local pressure points in affected areas of the face and head to alleviate congestion and inflammation. In the treatment of sinusitis, massage therapists typically focus on pressure points located at the back of the neck, the edges of the nostrils and the upper bridge of the nose near the eyebrow.
Comprehensive massage therapy training prepares MTs to thoroughly assess patients with sinusitis or sinus headache, adapting treatment to best suit their needs. Depending on the circumstances, it may be appropriate to use just one technique – or a combined approach. Massage therapy is only used in the treatment of chronic sinusitis, not a sinus infection, which may require antibiotic intervention.
Do you know of other massage therapy techniques that can help relieve sinusitis symptoms?