Understanding Sinus Infections and the Soothing Effects of Salt Therapy and Steam Baths

Sinuses are a connected system of hollow cavities that are anatomically located behind the cheekbones and forehead. Normally, sinuses are sterile or free from germs. However, what happens when excess mucus gets clogged in the sinus? The result is sinusitis.

Sinusitis or sinus infection is the inflammation of the sinus lining.

There are four kinds of sinuses situated in our facial bones. These are:

  1.    Frontal sinuses – positioned above the eyes in between the eyebrows
  2.    Maxillary sinuses – positioned within the cheekbones that is behind the nose bridge
  3.    Ethmoid sinuses – positioned between the eyes located behind the nose bridge
  4.    Sphenoid sinuses – positioned behind the ethmoid sinuses

Properly functioning sinuses are responsible for making inhaled air warmer, and it is one of the reasons why we have the ability to make different sounds with our voices. The mentioned functions, however, are limited during a sinus infection.

There are two types of sinusitis experienced by those who are affected. The first one is called acute sinusitis. In acute sinusitis, the sinuses become inflamed and infected for not more than a period of four weeks.

If not treated immediately, acute sinusitis may persist and progress into what we call as chronic sinusitis. Having chronic sinusitis is a serious condition that may consequently require surgical operation if left untreated. Furthermore, individuals who smoke and have allergic rhinitis (hay fever), nasal polyps, congenital nasal abnormalities, cystic fibrosis, asthma, or compromised immune systems are prime candidates for a sinus infection.

Sinusitis is characterized by the following symptoms:

–    Stuffy nose or nasal congestion

–    A headache that gets worse in the morning and gets better later in the day

–    Green, yellow, or blood-tinged thick nasal discharge

Treatments for sinusitis such as prescription drugs come in the form of decongestants or antibiotics. These substances can bring temporary relief for those who suffer from sinusitis. However, long-term use can bring about unwanted side effects. To avoid this, salt therapy and steam bath (wet sauna) may be used as an alternative treatment for sinusitis that are known to be safer because they are all-natural.

Salt therapy reduces the risk of sinusitis due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. By regularly undergoing salt therapy, the nasal passages are cleared off of mucus and other foreign contaminants and thus, returning the sinus to its normal state. Furthermore, salt therapy reduces the levels of IgE – the antibody responsible for allergic reactions – in the bloodstream. This lowers the risk of allergy and therefore, lowering the risk of having sinusitis.

Aside from salt therapy, a steam bath can also be used to treat or prevent the onset of sinusitis. In a steam bath or wet sauna, wet heat is used to decongest the sinus and the nasal passages to help make breathing seem effortless.

Other natural therapeutic remedies for sinusitis in addition to salt therapy and steam bath are offered at The Rock Spa.