Sinuses refer to the four connected spaces in our skull that can be behind your cheeks, nose, eyes, and forehead. Sinuses produce mucus, which drains into your nose, thereby helping keep irritants, dirt, and bacteria out.
However, a cold or allergies can block them up. Also, certain pollutants such as smoke or dust, as well as nasal growths known as polyps can lead to blockages.
In case the sinuses get blocked, an individual may feel pressure in the face followed with symptoms of headache and congestion. For those who prefer alternative treatments or have recurrent sinus complaints, acupuncture may help.
Did You Know!
What Is Sinusitis and What Are Its Symptoms?
Sinusitis refers to the inflammation of the sinus cavities. Sinus inflammations can be caused by chemical irritants, allergies, or due to excessive use of over-the-counter (OTC) nasal sprays. However, some sinus inflammations can also be caused by bacteria, viruses, or the common cold.
Sinusitis symptoms tend to vary from person to person, and the intensity also varies from day to day. Some of the common symptoms associated with sinusitis(1) include nasal congestion, sinus pressure, sinus headaches, difficulty breathing and sinus pain, watery or thick mucus that may be green or yellow.
Sinus infection may also be accompanied by fever. Other symptoms of sinusitis may include difficulty sleeping and decreased energy levels.
[Read: Acupuncture for Migraine]
Is Acupuncture Effective in Curing Sinus?
Acupuncture is capable of treating all forms of sinusitis: allergic, infectious, acute, or chronic. It relieves congestion along with boosting your immunity to avoid recurrence of the condition.
Acupuncture for sinus is so effective that the patient can quickly notice a decrease in congestion during the treatment. Acupuncture has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects on your body; hence, it reduces sinus inflammation and reduces the pain levels.
Pressure Points For Sinus
There are scores of acupuncture points throughout your body. In case you try acupuncture(2) for sinus, the acupuncturist will need a detailed note of your symptoms to figure out which acupuncture points he ought to target.
Remember that specific acupuncture points are associated with multiple uses. Not all acupuncturists use the same locations.
Here’s a list of the most common acupuncture points for treating allergic rhinitis or sinus issues:
- Hegu (LI4)
- Bitong (EM7)
- Yingxiang (LI20)
- Yangbai (GB14)
- Quchi (LI11)
- Juliao (ST3)
- Sibai (ST2)
- Fenglong (ST40)
- Shangxing (GV23)
- Zanzhu (BI2)
How Does Acupuncture Work on the Human Body?
As per traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), our health is based upon the flow of energy (qi) in the body. The qi energy runs along numerous invisible pathways called meridians found throughout our body.
This energy comes handy in keeping our body in the right balance along with promoting its natural capacity to heal itself. Typically, a disrupted or blocked flow of energy can hurt our emotional as well as physical well-being.
When the flow of qi is interrupted, certain disorders can occur. Acupuncture works under the faith that inserting tiny needles into specific points along the pathways leads to the stimulation of the body, hence promoting the self-healing powers of the body.
When you undergo an acupuncture session, the acupuncturist inserts thin needles into your skin for stimulating specific points associated with the symptoms you’re experiencing. As per TCM, this stimulation helps clear out blockages along the meridians to restore the flow of energy through your body.
As per modern concepts, the effectiveness of acupuncture can be due to the release of biochemicals such as hormones and neurotransmitters by having tiny needles inserted into specific pressure points.
The release of biochemicals also leads to the stimulation of the central nervous system. Also, it comes handy in strengthening the immune system, regulating vital body functions, along with easing out the pain.
[Read: Acupuncture for Allergies]
Research on Acupuncture for Sinus Infection
While there are not many studies regarding the benefits of acupuncture for resolving sinus problems, the majority of established and published studies relate to the benefits of acupuncture for treating allergic rhinitis.
Allergic rhinitis is a condition characterized by the inflammation of your nasal mucous membranes, which can lead to an array of sinus-related issues such as:
- Runny nose
- Pressure in your face
- Postnasal drip
As per a 2014 review of randomized controlled trials, acupuncture has the potential to provide symptomatic relief from allergy, though more evidence is required. Another 2014 study revealed similar findings.
In 2015, a review found that acupuncture has some benefits over antihistamines; however, more evidence and research are required to support their conclusions.
Is Acupuncture Safe for Sinus?
When performed by an experienced and trained acupuncturist, the treatment of sinus with acupuncture is widely regarded as safe, as per the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).
However, it is worth considering that in case the acupuncture is not performed correctly or the needles are not sterile, and there can be potential risks of some severe complications and adverse effects.
Registered acupuncturists in the US ensure the use of disposable needles and therefore, it is recommended that you receive acupuncture from a registered acupuncturist only to keep the risk of complications at bay.
Some individuals do experience moderate side effects following an acupuncture session, such as:
- Tenderness or pain around the target areas
Also, it is advised that you avoid acupuncture for sinus in case you:
- Have a pacemaker that could be impacted by the moderate electric pulse used at times with acupuncture needles.
- Are pregnant since performing acupuncture on certain points in the body may induce labor
- Have a bleeding disorder or take blood thinners
Treatment of sinusitis includes the use of over the counter decongestants and vaporizers to get rid of the congestion and associated pain. Though decongestants can relieve congestion to provide symptomatic relief from sinus, they generally tend to dry out your mouth too much and can, therefore, lead to more pain and complications.
In case you experience recurring sinus complains or are in quest of alternative treatments, it makes sense for you to give acupuncture a shot. Just ensure you consult a licensed and experienced acupuncturist and discuss your sinus treatment options along with keeping up with the prescribed medications.