Sinus congestion is one of the most common ailments that is mentioned during acupuncture appointments. It often comes up as a secondary complaint, but after applying needles to a few key points I hear about immediate benefits in ability to smell and breathe through the nose. Let’s explore how those needles work.
In Chinese Medicine, finding the right diagnosis is always important, so the first step is to really understand the full picture. Common questions in an intake include:
What color is the mucus? Is it thick, dry, runny?
Do you experience post-nasal drip?
Does the congestion come with other symptoms of a cold, like chills or runny nose?
Is it related to seasonal change?
Do you have a history of sinus infections or antibiotic use?
Are there any contributing factors such as pregnancy, asthma, or medications?
The answers to these questions help determine whether the presentation is acute or chronic, hot or cold, excess or deficient. Then the acupuncturist can come up with a diagnosis and choose the best point combination for you at that time.
There are some points that can be helpful for a variety of diagnoses such as Large Intestine 20, also known as ying xiang, which is translated as “Welcome Fragrance.” The point is located at the outer edge of the naso-labial groove, often falling in the “smile line” at the edge of the nostril.
Its location is part of what makes it so useful for treating conditions of the nose. Whether the acupuncturist’s aim is to decrease inflammation, open nasal passages, or reduce excess mucus, this point can be helpful. It is also a great spot to apply acupressure for relief of sinus pressure pain. Next time you feel a bit stuffed up, try putting firm pressure on this region and see if it provides some relief.
For more support, pop in for an appointment where an acupuncturist will find the right combination of points for your symptoms. Keep in mind that they can also provide lifestyle tips, like diet suggestions such as increasing radishes or garlic for congestion, or hot water steams with eucalyptus oil to help unblock your nasal passages.