Ohh the Pressure! Naturally Help Your Sinuses Get through Winter…and Spring
Written and photos by:Geneva Damico
It’s been the same every fall and winter…except it’s been worse since we’ve been living in Ventura. Sean gets seasonal sinus pressure, sometimes with the lovely goopy drainage but mostly it’s just stuck in his head. He’ll wake up in the morning feeling ok. Then by early afternoon his eyes are watering, he gets quiet and begins to have a hard time focusing. Well, I would too if my head pounded from pressure with every change of position or slight movement.
Last time this was happening I was so caught up in hospital life that I treated him on autopilot- Tylenol, Motrin, decongestant of any type, etc. Most of the time he would feel a little relief, briefly, but it would come back with full force.
This year I’m approaching it different. I don’t want to just feed him those, usually pretty beneficial, over-the-counter medications because taking them forever isn’t good either. I did some research and found a lot on home remedies for sinus pressure and infections that I’m excited to share with you. I encourage you to do some research yourself before diving in, there is so much to know about herbal treatments and sometimes they come with serious warnings. This is just a brief summary of some interesting facts and a general overview what we’ve found to be very helpful.
I first looked up ‘sinus pressure, home remedies’ and found a ton of info. Some of it= awesome! Some of it= uhhhh, maybe try if you’re super desperate or really motivated. And some of it, YIKES…methods not to be used….errr possibly ever= use discretion when trying things you find online. I tend to be on the lazier side…but to be nice I’ll say, I like to keep things simple so I just went with the basic steam breathing of essential oils and massaging the sinus areas with a salve (a product I found at The Refill Shoppe in Ventura called “Headache Rescue Balm”, more on this below.)
I went to The Refill Shoppe, a super eco-friendly local retailer that sells essential oils with bottles that can be refilled (awesome concept and store!), there I chose two essential oils for Sean to inhale with steam- Tea Tree and Eucalyptus (I’m kinda gathering, from the research, that we have the Aussies to thank for both).
Tea Tree essential oil:
*Do not take orally (it can cause all kinds of crazy stuff to happen, basically you might end up in the hospital)
*Be sure you’re not allergic before use (see article)
*Irritation can occur (dilute the oil well/do not place directly on to skin, this sh*t is strong!)
Found to have anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, tea tree oil has many uses! Here is a great article describing what it is, its history, benefits, uses and some more specific warnings: http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/tea-tree-oil.aspx
One of the coolest aspects of tea tree oil is its ability to fight fungal infections. If you know anything about this battle then you know what a tough one it can be…usually the medications prescribed for toe fungus can do a number on you poor liver.
It is also a great disinfectant for around the house, your yoga mat and apparently your toothbrush!
Eucalyptus essential oil:
*Do not use if pregnant or nursing
From pain relief to repelling insects this stuff has quite a wide rang of uses! There are too many awesome properties to list so you should definitely do some extra nighttime reading and visit: http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/eucalyptus-oil.aspx
What’s so interesting to me is that this too has antibacterial and antiviral properties! And according to mercola.com, this oil was used as an antiseptic during operations as early as the 1880s.
WebMD.com states “Eucalyptus oil contains chemicals that might help pain and inflammation. It might also block chemicals that cause asthma.” What a great oil to have on hand for a wide variety of reasons.
As for Sean and his poor sinuses, tea tree and/or eucalyptus oil is great for inhalation via steam:
- Heat up a pot of water
- When it is safe, pour into a bowl (I used glass, just be careful with the potential of it breaking)
- Put 2-3 drops of the essential oil into the water…you can use more or less, depending on how strong you want it, keeping in mind this stuff is potent and can easily turn into an irritant! If you made it too strong add more hot water.
- Hold your head over the bowl and to trap the steam place a towel over your head and the bowl. *Don’t give yourself a steam burn (obviously), be careful not to hold your face too close to the hot water/steam.
- There are a few different ideas about how long to do this (1-20min). From my experience with Sean, I’d say as long as you can handle it and give yourself breaks, this should be a feel-good/somewhat-enjoyable experience.
- Now take long deep breaths through your nose and enjoy the sensations. I can see this time as a good opportunity to concentrate on clear sinuses and easy breathing by adding a little meditation, if you want to go there.
- Do this a few times a day or as needed.
*You can do this without adding any oil too…just plain old steam and notice affects!
On to this very helpful topical headache balm, “Headache Rescue Balm” made by Naturally Wild in Ventura, CA. It’s ingredients include the essential oils of peppermint, rosemary, lavender and spearmint. These are all oils I’ve discovered, through articles, that are recommended for some type of headache relief wether it be decreasing inflammation or clearing the sinus passages. Either way this stuff is great. It smells nice, it feels nice and by massaging it into Sean’s forehead, temples, cheeks, etc it has helped relieve the pressure between his face steam baths.
You can purchase it online at http://www.getnaturallywild.com/Oils.html
The headaches and mild fevers started on a Saturday. Sean began taking the usual OTC meds but wasn’t getting any better..literally no improvement. By Wednesday (4 days later) he started on the above regimen. Anytime he began to complain of a headache I’d ask him to hold off on taking the easy route (OTC meds) to see if the steam and balm would help. The junk in his sinuses began to finally break loose, his headaches began to decrease as well as his fevers, he hasn’t had to take any decongestant, pain or allergy medication since Wednesday. Today he woke up for the first time with a clear head and pain free (total of 6 days). I’d usually say this was just the natural progression of a sinus infection but Sean is a special case (haha) when it comes to his very sensitive sinuses. Last year, since we’ve been living in Ventura, he had daily sinus headaches most of the season. It’s still very early in the season…I see many more steam baths and face rubs in his future! At least we now have an alternative route to helping him feel better.
Do you have seasonal sinus troubles or get sinus infections? What do you do to get relief? Share with us in the comments below!
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