Spring and Your Sinuses

Spring is finally in the air.  Along with the sun and flowers come pollen and other allergens that can cause annoying and painful symptoms for the sufferer. Clogged sinuses and swollen glands can be indicators of serious health issues but more commonly they are the complaint of those suffering from seasonal allergies.  To understand what causes these issues, we need to understand what the sinuses and lymph nodes do.

Our sinuses are empty spaces within the bone structure of the face. They are lined with mucus which traps airborne debris and keeps it from getting into our lungs.  Lymph nodes are small glands located throughout the body. No doubt you have had swollen glands when you were fighting an infection. That’s because their job is to catch the junk that passes from your tissues and bloodstream into the lymphatic fluid and trap it, which causes them to swell.  

Both sinuses and lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system which is a major player in our overall health. This system circulates fluid and nutrients and also removes waste from the body. The lymphatic vessels are the major pathways for circulation of immune cells and signals. Important because this is how the body defends itself against disease.  When sinuses and lymph nodes get clogged it is because of fluid buildup. This can cause pain and tenderness but again, there's a massage for that!

Lymphatic vessels are close to the surface of the skin and don’t need much pressure to stimulate lymph movement. Through light massage strokes applied in a certain direction and sequence, the lymph flow speeds up to move stagnant debris and fluid.  Check out the videos below and learn to do it yourself!

As mentioned above, sinuses are lubricated with small amounts of mucus to help keep invaders like pollen, pet dander and dust from entering the lungs. Our immune system may cause inflammation and excess mucus as the body tries to protect itself from these invaders. Ear, nose and throat pain, not to mention throbbing headaches, usually follow. You feel stuffed up and then develop post nasal drip which makes you cough.  Medications can worsen the situation by drying everything up. What’s really needed is a good flushing with a saline spray or a neti pot.  If you don’t like the sensation of more liquid up your nose, then good old fashioned acupressure can give you the relief you are seeking.  

By first clearing the lymph vessels you are creating a path for the sinus fluids. Pressure points around the eyes, nose and ears along with the lymph nodes under the chin can be stimulated to unblock areas of congestion and get things flowing again.  See your massage therapist for an acupressure face massage combined with lymphatic drainage strokes or watch the following videos to learn the DIY routine and help make this spring a healthy one!

Lymphatic drainage technique

Acupressure technique