Image from Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014
Within a year, more than 37 million Americans are affected by chronic sinusitis. This disease is the prolonged inflammation or infection (lasting approximately three months) of the sinuses. Sinuses are cavities within the bone structures. Four pairs of sinuses connect to the nasal cavity. When working correctly, it accommodates airflow and the drainage of mucus into the nose. It is considered one of the most common chronic diseases affecting people within the United States. No doctor likes to claim to cure diseases, but Acupuncture can effectively alleviate symptoms.
Symptoms related to chronic sinusitis are often not acute in nature but drag on for a prolonged period and this can result in the decreased function of your immune system, fatigue, and if left untreated, can cause facial pain, sinus blockage, and serious infection (requiring antibiotics for treatment).
Treatment plans for chronic sinusitis often include a combination of nutritional advice, sinus rinses, and steam. Acupuncture in combination with this treatment regimen can offer immediate relief from several symptoms associated with chronic sinusitis as well as the possible underlying cause of the disease.
Common causes of sinusitis include hay fever, allergies, bacterial infections (as a result of a cold or flu), and general environmental conditions (e.g. inhalation of harsh chemical fumes). Sinusitis, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is treated based on the symptoms presented. Most treatment options focus on acupuncture points along the lungs and spleen. Avoiding the production of phlegm is key when infected with sinusitis as this can irritate the sinuses further, causing increased pain. Using acupuncture which targets specifically the lungs, spleen and pressure points along the face, arms, and lower legs could possibly alleviate symptoms of chronic sinusitis. With acupuncture treatment, it is possible to clear the patient’s sinuses, improve their general sense of smell, alleviate the congested feeling in the patient’s head, combat fatigue, reduce swelling of the throat, and relieve the pain.
Acupuncture can be useful in combating symptoms in the earlier stages of sinusitis. Acupuncture keeps the body healthy. It increases blood flow and possibly stimulates the production of leukocytes (white blood cells), which strengthen the body’s immune system. It is easier to prevent your body from getting sick when it is completely healthy and therefore easier to treat current infections of the chronic sinusitis that the patient might be experiencing. Sinuses can become infected if the pathways are not cleared properly of mucus. It is possible to clear sinus pathways using acupuncture and to avoid further painful infections and other symptoms linked to it.
Even in the later stages of sinusitis, it is still possible to strengthen the immune system with acupuncture. In chronic sinusitis, this is of specific importance, as prolonged symptoms often cause patients to feel fatigue that will also cause a decrease in their immune system. This, in turn, creates an environment where it will take even longer for the sinusitis to heal. Acupuncture targeting the arms and legs can stimulate the adrenal glands whose function is to regulate blood pressure, react to stressors such as illness, and control sugar blood and pressure. This will have positive effects on the body’s immune system, as does the increased production of leukocytes.
To combat the symptoms and underlying cause of chronic sinusitis, patients are encouraged to take a minimum of 8 acupuncture sessions. It is during this period that the body has a chance to build up its immune system and in combination with other treatment, resolve the current sinus infection which the patient is experiencing.