We covered steam inhalation with essential oils for a stuffy nose and blocked sinuses, but there’s an even simpler method for sinus relief. If your sinuses are swollen, painful or irritated, try hot and cold compresses one after the other. This is known as contrast therapy.
When you alternate between hot and cold, you stimulate the blood vessels. Heat makes them open up and more blood reaches the tissues whilst cold makes contract. Alternating between the two creates a pumping effect, bringing fresh oxygen and nutrients to the area and pushing more waste products out.
This procedure will only take about 10-15 minutes and is very comforting. Alternating hot and cold compresses are also a very good preparation for nasal lavage which helps to wash bacteria and viruses from the sinuses. See how to do nasal lavage here.
Alternating Hot and Cold Compress
What you need:
- 2 wash cloths
- One bowl hot water
- One bowl cold water
What you do:
- Put one cloth in the hot water and the other in the cold water
- Start with the hot cloth. Squeeze it out and gently press it against your face, covering your eyes, nose, cheeks and forehead. Do this for about three minutes.
- Put the cloth back in the hot water and take the cold cloth out. Squeeze it out and cover the same area as before but leave it on for only about half a minute.
- Repeat with the hot cloth for three minutes and the cold for 30 seconds twice more for a total of three each.
Do this twice a day if you are suffering from an acute allergy attack, cold or influenza, otherwise once a day for maintenance to keep your sinuses drained and comfortable.