If you have sinus congestion, acupressure may help you get some relief. You can get acupressure from an acupuncturist or massage therapist, but you can also try it yourself by applying gentle pressure to specific points on your face and other areas of your body.
Acupressure is one way to help relieve sinus pressure and other symptoms. This traditional treatment is based on the same methods as acupuncture — it even uses the same points.
But instead of needles, pressure is placed at certain points on your face and body using your hands and fingers.
Acupuncture is used to treat chronic sinus pressure and other symptoms.
Research from 2006 found that about 99 percent of acupuncturists in the United States treat sinus problems. Similarly, the Cleveland Clinic recommends using acupressure to relieve sinus pressure due to allergies.
While more research is needed on using acupressure to treat sinus symptoms, this practice may help improve blood flow, relax muscles, and help mucus drain from the sinuses.
You can do acupressure for sinus symptoms on yourself. It only takes a few minutes.
- Use a mirror to help you find the points on your face.
- Apply firm but gentle pressure on the points for at least 3 minutes each. You can use your fingers, thumbs, or a thin, blunt object, like the eraser tip of a pencil.
- Repeat throughout the day for several days.
You can press on the acupressure points or gently rub or rotate your fingers in a circular motion over the area.
You can also get professional acupressure treatment from a certified acupuncturist. Some massage therapists may also use acupressure points.
Here are the main acupressure points for sinus relief and how to find them:
The large intestine 20 (LI20) acupressure points are found on the face, on both sides of the base of your nose. To relieve sinus pressure:
- Find the area where your nose joins your cheeks.
- Place one finger on your face at either side of your nostrils and press.
The bladder 2 (BL2) pressure points are located between the bridge of your nose and the inner side of your upper eyelid. To relieve pressure in your sinuses and around your eyes, try this:
- Using both hands, place your index fingers above the bridge of your nose.
- Slide your fingers into the tiny hollows between your eyebrows and nose.
- Rest your fingers here. You should be able to feel the firmness of your brow bone.
The acupressure point GV24.5 is better known as Yintang. It’s often called the third eye point because it’s located between the eyebrows. This single acupressure point helps to relieve a stuffy or runny nose and sinus headache pain. To find it:
- Place one or two fingers between your eyebrows.
- Find the area just above the bridge of your nose, where your forehead connects to the nose.
- Apply pressure or rub the area for a few minutes.
The small intestine 18 (SI18) points are on both sides of your nose, just below the cheekbones. These points are used to help soothe swollen sinuses and a runny nose. To locate them:
- Place your index finger from both hands at the outer edge of each eye.
- Slide your fingers down until you can feel the bottom of your cheekbones.
- This area should be about level with the lower edge of your nose.
- Press on these points at the same time or one at a time.
The gallbladder 20 (GB20) points are on the back of your head. They’re located in the grooves at the back of your head, where your neck muscles attach to your head.
These acupressure points are used for sinus pressure symptoms, like headache and watery eyes, and cold and flu symptoms. Here’s how to find them:
- Clasp your hands together behind your head.
- Slide your thumbs up and down to find the grooves just behind your ears at the base of your skull.
- Apply pressure here using both of your thumbs.
The He Gu or large intestine 4 (LI4) points are on the back of your hands. They’re connected to the large intestine, and may help to soothe headaches and facial pain from sinus problems. Apply pressure to the LI4 points on each of your hands, one at a time.
The points are about a half inch from the crease between your thumb and hand. Here’s how to find them:
- Hold your hand up so that the thumb side is facing you.
- Find the area where your thumb connects to your hand.
- Keep your thumb close to your hand. Look for where the muscle between your thumb and index finger bulges out. One way to find it is to bring your thumb up against your index finger, which will cause a mound to form on the back of your hand. Place the opposite thumb or another finger on this mound.
- Relax your hand again, and apply pressure to this area using the finger of your opposite hand.
The lung meridian 5 (LU5) points are located on the inside of each elbow. These points help to relieve sinus congestion and pressure, which may help relieve pain and a runny nose. The LU5 points are also linked to your lungs and breathing. To find them:
- Hold your arm stretched out in front of you so that your palm is facing up.
- Find the crease on the thumb side of your inner elbow.
- This is where your forearm muscle dips slightly as it connects to your elbow.
- Press on the area.
- Repeat and switch arms.
The lung meridian 9 (LU9) points can be found on the inside of each wrist. They’re used to relieve throat symptoms from a sinus infection. Here’s how to find them:
- Hold your hand up in front of you so that your palm is facing you.
- Find the crease where your hand connects to the wrist.
- Place your finger on the crease just below your thumb.
- Repeat and switch hands.
The liver 3 (Liv3) or Tai Chong pressure points are on your feet, just back from your big toes. They’re linked to your liver and used to relieve headaches and pain around your eyes. To find them:
- Sit down with your knees bent and your feet in front of you.
- Place your finger in the area between your big toe and the next toe.
- Slide your finger up your foot about two finger widths. This is where the pressure point is located.
- Press at this spot. Apply pressure on both feet at the same time or one at a time.
If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, talk to your doctor before trying acupressure points. Some pressure points can lead to labor.
Using acupressure can sometimes help ease pain and other symptoms right away. You may feel the pressure lifting slightly as you apply pressure on the specific points.
You may need to continue the acupressure treatment for several days before you feel anything. Pressure shouldn’t be painful or bruise the area.
The sinuses are hollow spaces or cavities in the bones around the nose. Your sinuses make mucus or fluid. The mucus drains into your nasal cavity (nose) and down the back of your throat. This keeps your nose moist and gets rid of dust, allergens, and germs.
There are four pairs of sinuses connected to your nose:
- in the cheekbones on each side of your nose
- above your eyes near the forehead
- between the eyes and the bridge of your nose
- behind your eyes
Acupressure can help your sinus symptoms. It can’t cure a serious infection. You might still need antibiotic treatment if you have a bacterial sinus infection. A sinus infection can also be caused by a virus like the flu or a cold.
If your sinus symptoms are caused by allergies, it may help to avoid allergen triggers like pollen and dust. Ask your doctor about the best over-the-counter medications for allergy relief.
You may need to apply pressure on the points several times a day for several days before you find relief from sinus symptoms.