This winter weather can certainly be challenging to the body on many counts. For those suffering with chronic sinusitis, it can be a very uncomfortable and exhausting time of year.
When the cold, dry winter air hits us, or when we breathe in the often dust filled furnace air of our work places or homes, it can irritate the sensitive lining of our nasal sinuses. This in turn can cause inflammation, blockage, dull persistent face pain, headaches and fatigue.
In the acute stage of sinusitis, while still infectious with a fever and yellow/green mucous, massage therapy should not be done. However, for those with symptoms that have persisted after the infection and fever have passed, a session with a registered massage therapist can often provide some much needed relief.
This type of treatment should be pleasant, pain free and very relaxing. Massage therapists have been trained to use many different techniques to help facilitate movement of the sinus blockages. These techniques to treat chronic sinusitis may include:
- Hydrotherapy, such as a facial steam, to loosen the mucous. This type of hydrotherapy may also include the use of essential oils such as lavender to enhance relaxation, and reduce pain.
- Specific positioning to facilitate drainage of the blocked sinus cavities.
- Soothing massage techniques, such as effleurage, gentle kneading and light compressions over the sinuses and muscles of the neck and face to reduce tension and pain.
A specialized type of massage known as Manual Lymph Drainage can also be used to increase lymphatic flow, helping to thin out blockages and improving overall drainage. These techniques focus on increasing flow through the superficial lymphatic capillaries and can significantly increase drainage of swollen tissues to the neck, face, and hard and soft palates. Manual lymphatic drainage is a technique developed by Dr. Emil Vodder requiring specialized training. It is comprised of four unique stroke techniques. The lymphatic vessels are a part of the circulatory system that carry lymph fluid from the body back to the heart. They are also a vital part of your immune system, clearing tissues of waste and bringing infection fighting white blood cells to areas where they are needed. Carolyn Cormier, Registered Massage Therapist at Best Health Physiotherapy, is a Vodder certified Manual Lymph Drainage therapist.