Tools of the Trade: Self Massage for Allergies

So many of our clients have been suffering this season from very bad allergies. The lack of a NYC winter, combined with all of the gorgeous sunny days, has made many plants and flowers bloom early this year. Massage therapy is a fantastic way to help alleviate the pain and pressure associated with sinus problems. Self-massage can actually affect your sinuses, the array of spaces that are contained inside your facial bones. Our sinuses help with keeping the skull lighter, as well as providing resonance for our voices. But when you're exposed to allergens, the histamine in our body releases and we wind up with that oh-so-familiar congestion and sinus pain. One way to cope? Facial massage is great for inducing sinus drainage! Here are a few pointers:

Sit upright. This is the best way to start a facial massage if you're looking for sinus relief. Lying on your back directs the drainage to your larynx, and lying face down may increase the sinus pressure.

Finger Circles Technique: Start at the forehead and run your fingertips outward to your temples. Then do circles with your fingers on your temples clockwise. Remember how sensitive the temple area can be—don't use too much force. Continue those 'finger circles' under your jawbone. Feel that space? It's the sinus cavity that connects with your ear. Work out that area, opening and closing your jaw to maximize your efforts!

Start at the nose and move down and out. Slide your thumbs across your cheekbones, then down either side of your nose. Finally tap your fingers on your maxilla—the bone directly behind your upper lip—to release blockage in the maxillary sinuses, and slide your fingers out from the center. Have some tissues nearby for any drainage.

Use Acupressure Points: Press Gently into the space just between your eye and your nose, with the pressure directed inwards and upwards. This should help release some of the pressure and pain that you may be experiencing.