How Facial Massage Can Relieve Sinus Congestion

How Facial Massage Can Relieve Sinus Congestion

Within your facial structure, there is a complex, asymmetrical network of open cavities that are known as sinuses.  The mucous lined sinus areas are connected to the nasal cavity and to each other through small passages called osteomeatal complex.  With the help of gravity, they drain into the nose through these connections.

Sinuses are located on either side of the nose and behind your cheekbones (maxillary); above your eyebrows in your forehead (frontal); between your eyes (ethmoidal); and behind your nasal cavity (sphenoidal).

Interesting Factoid:Just like fingerprints, each person’s sinus cavities are unique in size and structure, which makes them a source of personal identification too!

Function of Sinuses:

The actual purpose of the sinuses is not completely clear and has been challenged in scientific studies such as this one:

However, there are also many theories that suggest significant important functions of the sinuses such as:  reduced frontal skull weight, voice sound enhancer, cushion for facial blows, eye protection, as well as the provision of warmth and humidity for inhaled breath. A relatively new discovery found nitrous oxide present in sinus cavities, which is thought to sterilize inhaled pathogens thus boosting the immune system.

Sinus Infection Symptoms:

No matter the controversy over purpose, when sinus problems occur, they bring debilitating pain and other symptoms that can disconnect you from feeling clear-headed and engaged in life.

A sinus infection happens when the small passages between the sinus cavities become plugged and swollen. This can be due to colds, flu, allergies, bacteria overgrowth or polyps. The swelling constricts the free flow of air and fluids in and out of the sinuses leading to:

  • Headaches
  • Feeling of pressure in the front of the face
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of smell and taste
  • Blocked or painful ears
  • Dental pain
  • Fatigue
  • Continuous cough
  • Bulging or red eyes or
  • Facial swelling around sinus areas

Sometimes, the sinus dysfunction can become chronic (ie- lasts for more than 3 weeks or even years!) and can be worsened by smoking or overuse of decongestants.

Massage Therapy for Blocked Sinuses:

When massage is incorporated especially as a treatment for chronic sinus infections, it can support recovery and sinus clearing very effectively.

In general, massage therapy for sinus issues focuses successively on the use of gentle pressure with circular massage movements over the sinus areas of the face.

Other more specific techniques as: Acupressure (for release), Cranial Sacral Therapy (for circulation), and Lymphatic Drainage (for toxic drainage and congestion relief) also provide relief and healing of sinus infections.

How massage therapy helps:

Facial massage techniques help provide sinus pain relief by breaking up the mucous that collects in the sinuses, naturally clearing passageways and stimulating drainage and relieving congestion and pressure.  By increasing blood circulation, the therapy also helps maintain improved sinus function.


  • Massage therapy is contraindicated if sinus issues are in the acute stages
  • For your comfort, it is important to communicate with your massage therapist about any localized pain you may feel during treatment.
  • Be sure to drink plenty of water after your session to help flush the toxins that were moved during your massage.

Sinus problems that become chronic can alter your sense of well-being and connectedness with others.  Massage therapy can help reduce the symptoms effectively and help get you back in your life without the side effects of medications.

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