Tips on Steam Inhalation and Sinus Rinse
This is one of the fastest ways to decongest and clear your nose and some of your sinus cavities, and is natural. When I need to relieve congestion and acupressure is not working fast enough for me I do steam inhalations. This is, specifically, what I do:
- I put about a pint of distilled water in a medium size pan and heat it to a boiling point. Then lower the temperature to a medium level
- Very carefully I place my entire face above the pan at least 20 inches away. For two reasons:
- I do not want to burn my face
- I do not want to paralyze the cilia--the tiny hairs in the nasal and sinus cavity which move mucus in the right direction
- the cilia beats at 17 strokes per second and this rhythm should not be disturbed
- some authorities attribute most sinus problems to the cilia's being impeded from doing its function properly
- I hold a thermometer in front of my face and do not allow it to rise above 101 degrees Fahrenheit, by adjusting the distance between my face and the pan
- Sometimes I use an ultrasonic cool steam humidifier instead of warm steam, if the water is not too cold this should work fine
- I inhale deeply for about 10-15 minutes according to my need
- I avoid going out to a cold temperature immediately after the inhalation
An easier and comparable way to clear your sinuses and nasal cavities when they are congested is to rinse them using some OTC sinus rinse or neti pot. A saline nasal rinse not only decongests that cavity, but can also bring relief during a bout with allergies, soothing those inflamed areas. Basically, a nasal irrigation involves flushing the nasal passages with a saline solution. By washing away excess mucus--as well as allergens, bacteria and environmental pollutants--nasal irrigation can:
- reduce inflammation
- runny nose
- post-nasal drip
- reduce infection
- decrease the need for sinus medications
- pull fluid from swollen membranes of the nose
- improves air flow
- help open sinus passages
A saline sinus rinse can have these properties:
- hyper tonic
Neti pots have gained wide acceptance in recent years as a way to do the rinsing. Personally, I have found that a plastic, resilient bottle is a bit easier to use and more compact when traveling. OTC sinus rinses come with packets containing the right amount of salt.
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