A woman sitting on a couch, pinching the top of her nose.

Best Ways to Drain Your Sinuses

Top Home Remedies for Relief

While we’re likely all thrilled that the days are getting longer, brighter and lighter, one of the side effects of this change in season is an increase in pollen and seasonal allergies. These allergies can lead to a buildup of nasal congestion and sinus pressure, which is never a comfortable experience. Luckily, there are many home remedies you can try to clear the sinuses and nasal passages. Below we’ll take a closer look at some of the best ways you can drain your sinuses to experience some relief this allergy season.

Best Ways to Drain Your Sinuses

Sinus Massage Techniques

One simple trick that can be tried before moving on to other remedies is a simple general sinus massage technique. The intention behind this technique is to help drain the mucus from the sinuses and nasal passages to relieve sinus pressure. Follow the steps below to give yourself a gentle sinus massage:

  1. Place four fingers on your right and left temples and start to gently massage in a circular motion. Make a few circles in one direction, then switch directions a couple of times. If you find any spots on the temples that feel tender or tense, feel free to press on the spot very gently while deep breathing, then continue making your circles.
  2. Start to move your circles away from the temples towards the forehead and along your hairline. Again, feel free to pause and gently press any areas of tension while breathing deeply.
  3. After you’ve massaged your temples and forehead for a minute or so, gently pinch the inside of your eyebrow closest to your nose between your index finger and thumb on both sides. Hold here for several seconds, then continue gently squeezing your way down the entire eyebrow.
  4. Next, using your four fingers again, you’ll gently press them on your cheekbone by the bottom of your nose and slowly drag your fingers outward towards your ears. Repeat this a few times.
  5. After repeating that dragging motion, locate your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It connects your jaw to your skull and can be found by opening your mouth. Gently massage the TMJ; again feel free to press and hold any areas of tension or tightness. Make circles in one direction and then the other for about a minute.
  6. Finally, massage either side of your ears by making a V-shape with your fingers. You’ll want to separate your pointer and middle fingers from your ring and pinky fingers to make the V-shape then massage either side of the ears in an up-and-down motion.

You can repeat this massage as often as you’d like throughout the day. Not only is it great for helping drain your sinuses, but it’s also a wonderful stress relief and can relieve the tension from the muscles in your face.

Steam Treatments

Another amazing home remedy to help relieve sinus pressure and clear the nasal passages is by using the power of steam from warm water! Steam helps to loosen mucus, which can relieve nasal congestion and help drain your sinuses. There are two options, the first of which is taking a long, hot steam shower.

If you don’t have a steam shower or want a more concentrated source of steam, you can try a steam treatment where you drape a towel over the head. It’s easy to do and can feel like you’re spending a day at the spa! Simply fill a large bowl with very hot, steaming water and drape a towel over your head so it covers the sides of the bowl as well. This step is important, as you want to trap the steam inside. Sit with the towel over your head until the steam dissipates. You can repeat it a couple of times a day.

You can boost the benefits of both steam treatments by adding essential oils such as eucalyptus, mint or camphor to your shower or your bowl of steaming water to inhale the volatile compounds for improved sinus health.

Nasal Irrigation

This common technique is a little more involved but can provide a lot of relief to nasal congestion and sinus pressure. Nasal irrigation involves flushing the sinuses with a saline solution to remove mucus. You can buy pre-made saline solutions or make your own by combining three teaspoons of non-iodized salt with one teaspoon of baking soda.

Stir one teaspoon of the dry mixture into one cup of filtered, sterilized or distilled water. Do not use tap water, as it can contain contaminants that may cause a sinus infection. If you don’t have a clean water source, buy the mixture pre-made for safety.

A neti pot can also be used to irrigate sinuses. It’s a little pot that looks a bit like a genie’s lamp or old-school gravy boat. Fill the pot with your saline solution, then stand over a sink or a bowl to catch the liquid that is going to come out of your nostrils.

It is advised that you pour half the liquid into one nostril while your head is tilted so that it runs out of the opposite nostril. Once you’ve done one side, switch to the opposite nostril and repeat. Ensure you sterilize your neti pot between each use to prevent bacterial growth.

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