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  • Mary Carolla

Massage and Your Sinuses


With allergy seasons growing longer and a big season of common cold infections, more of my clients are struggling with sinus headaches and stubborn congestion. Clients often wonder if massage can be helpful, or if a massage will just make them feel more stuffy.

First, please don’t come for a massage when you are actively sick. If you are feverish or sneezing or coughing a lot, now is not the best time for a massage. Once your main symptoms have resolved and you are just dealing with residual sinus pressure and congestion, that’s the time for massage.

Positioning Sometimes people get a little stuffy laying face down on the massage table. I’ve got a comfortable face rest to avoid putting pressure on your face and minimize congestion, but we can also do massage with you laying on your side to avoid that altogether. If you come in stuffy or are concerned about congestion during the massage, we can start you face down or on your side, just to massage your back.. Then we’ll reposition you face up and prop the upper part of your body with a wedge and/or pillow so you are gently reclined.

Face & Head Massage In addition to making gravity our friend, I’ve got some great techniques for head and face massage that will help your sinuses clear so you don’t leave the office feeling stuffy or uncomfortable. One technique my clients with sinus issues have found helpful is Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) for the head, face, and neck. I can incorporate MLD into any massage session, or you can schedule a stand-alone MLD session.

Essential Oils I can add a few drops of the right essential oil to the massage oil, or just scent a tissue to tuck into the face rest. Peppermint, Spearmint, and Eucalyptus all have powerful decongestant properties, just a few drops of any one will gently open the sinuses. Lemon is a natural antihistamine and the bright scent is energizing and cooling to overactive sinuses.


Beyond Your Massage There are lots of simple massage and pressure point techniques that you can do yourself between treatments. Start with your forehead at the frontal sinuses. Put the tips of your fingers on either side of the forehead, just above the eyebrows. Massage slowly in a circular outward motion, working your way outwards, towards the temples. Use just enough pressure to move the skin, but not so much that you’re feeling pain. Do this a few times to cover the whole forehead. You can find the little notch in your eyebrow, between the bridge of your nose and the inner side of your upper eyelid. Apply some gentle pressure upwards to relieve pressure there. Next, move to the cheeks, the site of the maxillary sinuses. Place your fingertips on the area between the cheekbones and the upper jaw, on either side of the nose. Massage this area in a circular motion, maybe gently press up into that cheekbone if it feels good. Let me help you reduce and relieve sinus congestion during and after your massage. You can schedule your next appointment here.

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