Sinusitis is an inflammation of the mucosa in the nasal cavity. It usually follows an upper respiratory infection and leads to symptoms such as persistent nasal obstruction, thick nasal discharge, and headache. When it is chronic, loss of smell, ear infections, poor appetite, fatigue, and pain in the teeth, forehead, and cheekbones may also occur. Other causes of sinusitis include allergies to dust, mould, certain foods, and pollution.
The Orthodox Approach
Antibiotics are generally prescribed to treat sinus infections, but they cause side effects in susceptible people. Repeated courses can be ineffective against sinusitis.
The IMI Approach
At IMI, acupuncture and Chinese medicine or homeopathy are recommended as safe and effective ways to treat sinusitis. They can dramatically reduce the need for antibiotics and lessen the potential for antibiotic resistance.
Acupuncture successfully treats sinusitis by clearing infection, unblocking nasal passages, and relieving pain. Tiny needles are inserted into certain points of the body to disperse fluids and restore lung function. In addition, Chinese herbs are sometimes used to improve clinical results. There are many different types of herbs and a formula can contain up to ten different herbs, depending on a person's individual symptoms. Some commonly used herbs include Angelica root for clearing the sinuses and relieving headache, Trichosanthis fruit for clearing heat and resolving phlegm, and Lonicera flower for fighting infection. If certain foods exacerbate sinusitis, it is prudent to strengthen the gastro-intestinal system as well.
When pregnant women suffer from sinusitis, but do not have a history of recent respiratory infections, the most likely cause is an increased consumption of damp-producing foods and an impaired digestion. Acupuncture clears sinusitis during pregnancy by balancing the internal organs, unblocking nasal passages, and relieving sinus pain.
Generally, three to five treatments are required to treat sinusitis. Thereafter, monthly appointments are recommended to boost the immune system to prevent recurrent sinus infections.
Chinese Medicine Theory
According to Chinese medicine, the lungs govern the nose, throat, and bronchial tubes. Their main function is to cleanse the respiratory tract and shield the body from external attack. When lung energy is weak, however, the respiratory tract becomes more susceptible to allergies or infection. Fluids stagnate in the nose and are unable to drain from the sinuses properly. This condition can lead to toxic phlegm, which in turn leads to sinus pain and headache.