Acupuncture for Sinus Relief

Physiotherapist doing acupuncture on a patient brow
An acupuncturist treating a patient. (Image: AGL_Photography/iStock/Getty Images)

Sinuses are air pockets located in the cheekbones, between the eyes and the forehead. Small channels connect the sinuses to the nasal passages, allowing mucus to drain into the nose from the sinuses and air to flow into the sinuses from the nose. Common sinus problems that can be treated with acupuncture include allergies, bacterial infections and common colds.

Origins

Acupuncture is an alternative treatment that dates back more than 5,000 years. Although thought to be a Chinese practice exclusively, this is not the case. Different methods of acupuncture have been practiced across the globe by many groups including South African Bantu tribesmen, Arabs and Eskimos. Around 200 B.C., an ancient Chinese medical text titled "Huangdi Neijing" was written. The text, which is now used worldwide, included the first information about acupuncture.

Traditional Philosophy

Acupuncture operates under the theory that all of our life energy, known in the acupuncture community as qi, must at all times flow uninterrupted through our bodies. Qi, body fluids and blood regulate our functions and make up the body. The circulation and health of body fluids and blood depend on the proper flow of life energy. When the natural flow is interrupted or blocked, certain ailments can occur. Acupuncture operates under the belief that inserting needles into certain points along the meridians will stimulate the body and cause it to heal itself.

Western View

In modern times, acupuncture's effectiveness can be explained as the release of biochemicals such as neurotransmitters and hormones by having needles inserted into various pressure points. This release of biochemicals is thought to stimulate the central nervous system, strengthen the immune system, regulate body functions and help to ease pain.

Acupuncture and Sinuses

According to traditional Chinese medicine, sinus problems can be caused by several factors, including lung heat and dampness. When you see an acupuncturist, he will diagnose the exact problem and then stimulate the proper acupoints to treat it. Over time, this should correct the underlying causes of your sinus issues.

Efficacy

There is much anecdotal evidence from both acupuncture patients and practitioners that suggests that acupuncture can significantly reduce or cure sinus problems. A September 2004 study published in Allergy magazine found that a combination of weekly acupuncture sessions and Chinese herbs showed major promise in relieving the symptoms of seasonal allergies. The study recommended that further research be performed to fully gauge the effectiveness of acupuncture as an allergy treatment. There have not been any scientific studies that have conclusively proven that acupuncture reduces or relieves pain in the sinuses. You should consult with your physician before deciding to undergo any type of acupuncture treatment.

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