Sinus problems are one of the most common chronic conditions in the United States. Usually, sinus problems (also known as sinusitis) begin with a simple cold or allergy episode that causes a swelling of the mucus membranes and an increase in the production of watery mucus. When this mucus changes color (from clear to green or yellow), a bacterial infection may be present. The mucus builds up, blocks the nasal passages, and leads to sinus headaches. Other common symptoms include fever, sore throat, stuffy nose, olfactory difficulties, and facial pressure.
Typical medical treatments include antibiotics and, in some cases, sinus surgery. Antibiotics are not an ideal solution because of unpleasant side effects (nausea or diarrhea, for example) and because they destroy both bad and good bacteria. This may cause a disruption in the natural flora in the body, leading to yeast infections and other conditions.
It is a common practice in China to treat sinus problems with acupuncture. Acupuncture helps patients reduce the need for antibiotics or other medications. This is especially helpful for people with chronic or recurrent sinus problems who are seeking ways to avoid the constant necessity for drugs and their harmful side effects. It is also beneficial for patients who are looking to prevent invasive sinus surgery.
A major benefit of acupuncture for sinus problems is that symptoms are often relieved very quickly. It works by addressing the nasal mucus membranes. Acupuncture stimulates the Qi (the 'life force' or 'breath') in the body to give the immune system a boost and reduce inflammation. In the process, it stimulates the mucus membranes and helps clear the airways for less congestion and better breathing.