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There are four pairs of sinuses and the ones which are most prone to infection and inflammation are located between the eyes and either side of the nose.

The condition of sinusitis broadly corresponds to an old Chinese medical category called 'Bi Yuan' which literally means 'nose pool'.

The main symptoms of sinusitis are a purulent, yellow nasal discharge from the front and back of the nose (into the throat), a stuffed nose, a frontal headache, facial pain and a feeling of muzziness and heaviness of the head. The sinuses may be tender to touch.

Long term sinusitis is often caused by repeated infections by the common cold or influenza viruses. Part of the problem with this condition is anatomical. The openings into the nasal cavity are narrow and so if there is already inflammation, then further infection and inflammation makes the cavities prone to blockage. This results in stagnation of fluids in the nose and sinuses.

Within Chinese medicine, repeated invasions of common cold & influenza viruses occur because the Lung energy is weakened. In addition, these infections interfere with the movement of Lung energy which in turn causes the fluids in the nose and sinuses to collect.

Diet can also play an important factor in the development of chronic sinusitis. Food items which are difficult to digest and are consumed on a regular basis will lead to the development and retention of Phlegm which will predispose one to sinusitis.

Acupuncture treatment for sinusitis is based on the presenting symptoms. When the symptoms are acute then treatment is aimed at clearing the phlegm from the nasal cavities and regulating the flow of Lung energy. If the Phlegm is Yellow in colour then this indicates heat and points are selected to help the body clear this heat.

During symptom-free periods, or when the symptoms are mild, acupuncture treatment is aimed at strengthening the Lung energy to prevent invasion of pathogens (viruses). Other points will also be selecting according to the imbalance in the body. It is also important to strengthen the digestive system and avoid food which is difficult to digest. This is because there is a very important saying in Chinese medicine, Phlegm is produced by the Spleen and stored in the 'Lungs'. The Spleen refers to the digestive system.

Chronic sinusitis can be difficult to treat and require a lot of treatment. Sometimes it does respond quickly as well. The difficulty in treating chronic sinusitis is because Phlegm is a thick, sticky substance which is difficult to shift. There is also an underlying weakness in the body's energy which results in repeated invasions of viruses. To treat this condition it is important to help the body eliminate the pathogen (Phlegm), and to strengthen the body's Lung energy (and Spleen) to prevent future infections. Due to it stubborn nature, the combination of acupuncture and herbal medicine is often best for the treatment of sinusitis. Treatment would be on a weekly basis initially.


My name is Sarah G. and I've learned a lot about myself in the past 15 months. One of the most interesting things was that my body is very good at surviving almost anything - it took a lot before it told me it could not take anymore. I didn't even know I'd been so hard on it - I'd tried to do all the right things. Eat right, exercise, be nice to people, work hard at least, as best I could.

Fifteen months ago, I was drowning in mucus and slowly suffocating with constant asthma attacks. I'd been very sick for the previous 5 years and no matter what I tried my health just kept declining. I ate maybe once a day, and it was bit of vegetables or apple sauce or yoghurt at that. If I tried to eat anything else, it came back up the way it went down. I was very pale and tired all the time, my memory was like a sieve, and I was gaining weight steadily. How? Why? I didn't know. I just knew it was getting worse and no one could figure it out. I began to dread the words: more tests. In January 2008, I was 32 years old, weighed 287.5 pounds and I wasn't sure I'd see my next birthday.

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