Millions of Americans annually suffer from some form of nasal congestion. To put it in perspective, there are 31 million cases annually of one type known as Sinusitis, or inflammation of the paranasal sinuses. Numerous methods have been devised to treat nasal congestion, including costly solutions like surgery, oral decongestants, nasal sprays and nasal irrigation. However, a nasal massage on specific points on the face can also provide relief with far less difficulty.
Oral decongestants are products taken to shrink the blood vessels in the lining inside the nose. But like most medications they can cause side effects that may deter usage. These side effects may be irritability, increased blood pressure and sleeping difficulty. It is recommended that people with diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure avoid these products.
While moderate usage of nasal sprays (less than 3 days) can be effective, over-usage can cause one to become more congested when the spray is stopped, leading to addiction.
The natural practice of nasal irrigation – the act of flushing out mucus from the nose and sinuses – works. However, excessive use can rid the nose of its protective blanket of mucus and worsen symptoms.
In TCM, self-massage on specific sinus points also achieves symptomatic relief.
To clear the nasal passage from stuffiness and watery running, four points or areas located on the face are employed. [See chart below]
1. Yintang (Extra 1)
Press the middle finger on Yintang (Extra 1) located on the forehead, midway between the medial ends of the eyebrows. Press down firmly and make circular movements 20-30 times.
2. Yingxiang (LI 20)
Rest the whorled section of the middle or index fingers on Yingxiang (LI 20) on both sides of the nostrils. Press-knead 20-30 times firmly to get the sensation of soreness.
3. The side of the nose
Rub both sides of the nose with the side of the index fingers, moving upward and downward 20-30 times to get the sensation of heat.
4. Juliao (S 3) — The center of the cheek.
In the area located directly under the eyes and to the sides of the nostrils (between the cheekbone and the root of the upper teeth), press down firmly with the middle fingers and make circular movements 20-30 times.
Give the massage a try. It doesn’t cost you anything and you will immediately experience the result and the relief.
In Western medicine, aspirin is a ‘one-size-fits-all’ drug for pain and headaches. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) however, there are fine distinctions amongst frontal headache, occipital headache, sinus headache, allergy headache, and tension headache. In terms of TCM, different kinds of headaches correspond to different diagnosis and call for different treatment points and herbal formulas.
During his 2010 presentations, Dr Loh showed us six points that we can massage to ease headaches. Here are two pictures to show the location of these points (thanks to Shirley Fong for her graphic rendition).