Many people are currently experiencing the aggravation of seasonal allergies. As irritating as the symptoms are, the body is responding in a perfectly natural way by releasing antibodies into the system, causing the release of histamine into the bloodstream. This is what causes watery eyes and runny or stuffy noses.
Studies show that antihistamines and intranasal corticosteroids are the most effective and frequently utilized medications, and an improved quality of life has been demonstrated in patients with allergic rhinitis. Many people, however, are hesitant to use drugs with potential long-term side effects, and most have a hard time coping with the short-term effects such as dry mouth and drowsiness. Facial massage is a wonderful tool to help alleviate some of the symptoms of allergy discomfort.
Stress lowers the level of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), a neurotransmitter that keeps air passageways open, and anything that lowers stress may also help lessen allergic reactions. A facial massage focusing on pressure points on the face and neck can not only offer relief from sinus pressure, but can also help produce a state of deep relaxation.
Here are a few things to try for an at-home facial massage. These are easy to do alone, but having a partner to work with is even better.
1. Sometimes heat feels good, and sometimes cold works better to relieve sinus pressure. For a warm experience, wet a washcloth and place it in the microwave for few moments. Place it across the eyes and bridge of the nose, being careful to monitor the temperature. For a cool compress, dip the washcloth in a bowl of ice water. Leave the warm or cool washcloth in place on the sinus area for a few moments.
2. With both middle fingertips, start at the bridge of the nose and make light but firm circles around the eyes. Go across the brow, over the upper cheekbone, then back to the nose. Do this several times.
3. Put the middle fingers of each hand above the corners of the mouth. Move them slowly with light, firm pressure up the sides of the nose. Pull them back down and trace the cheekbones from the inner corner to the outer edge all the way to the ear. Repeat this several times.
4. Squeeze the eyebrows gently but firmly between the thumb and index finger. Start at the inner corner of the eye and roll and squeeze to the outer corner, then back in.
5. Loosen the anterior or front neck muscles to allow sinuses to drain by gently pulling down from the bottom of the chin to the top of the collarbone with the index and middle fingers. Start with both middle fingers together then move them apart gradually while continuing to make sweeping motions from the chin to the bottom of the neck.
A relaxing facial massage can help make allergy season more tolerable by reducing sinus pressure and relieving nasal congestion.