When you’re not feeling well you may want a quick fix. But sometimes a quick fix has side effects and may not even ultimately help you to get well more quickly. The Holistic Perspective on healing looks to offer relief from uncomfortable symptoms but it aims larger to find and heal the original cause of the dis-ease so that it doesn’t keep coming back.
The holistic method:
aims to establish the practitioner as a support and educator of the client based on training, experience and intuition without claiming to be the all-mighty knowing source. The client needs to observe their own symptoms and notice if there is a healing response or not and be in a partnership with the practitioner.
considers first how to help the body do what it is already trying to do. For example, with a fever we might pile on the blankets and drink ginger tea to sweat the fever out! Sometimes the body needs us to step in with more dramatic action like when a fever gets too high and we need to cool the body down.
treats the whole person not just the “disease” or imbalance in isolation. This includes looking at emotional and spiritual aspects as well as lifestyle.
In thinking about how to prevent and heal sinus imbalances from this holistic perspective we start by looking at what the sinuses are already designed to do.
Very simply our sinuses are designed to help keep stuff out, especially allergens and bacteria. The clearer are sinuses are the better we can not only smell but hear, see, taste and, of course breathe and speak.
The first defense is the fine hairs in our nostrils and ears that act as screens - we cough, we spit, we sneeze to get stuff out! Mucus is a genius creation that acts like a river to help move things out if something has gotten past those first defenses.
Ayurveda suggest several sinus support tools:
Nasya oil - an herbalized sesame oil.
It is recommended to put a few drops in each nostril every morning to lubricate the nasal passages. You can drip directly from the bottle or put a few drops on a clean pinky finger and sniff it in.
Tongue scraping - a curved metal or copper gentle scraper to use each morning.
Scrape down your tongue several times. If you are getting sick you will see a thicker white gunk on your scraper. I do this before brushing my teeth.
Oil pulling - I use Daily Swish from Banyan Botanicals - we have it at Mandala. It’s a sesame oil with a hint of mint. Take a swig, about a tsp, of the oil into your mouth. Swish around for 2 - 10 minutes or longer. You may feel the impulse to spit or hack up some phlegm. All good! This pulls any toxins that were making their way up through the tongue, giving you bad “morning breath” a way to lift up and out. I swish after brushing my teeth.
Neti Pot - In small teapot shaped “neti pot” put warm water and 1/8 tsp of fine salt. Tilt your head to one side over the sink so that the top nostril is directly over the bottom one. Keep your mouth up for easier flow while you pour the salt water into the top nostril and it comes out the bottom. PLEASE NOTE: Only do neti pot when you have excess mucus flowing or your nose is full of boogies. If you have inflammation and it’s hard to breathe but there are no boogies the salt water will only create more inflammation and irritation.
Essential oils for sinuses - I mainly use essential oils from Floracopeia. I have a lot of respect and have studied with the founder, David Crowe, and I personally trust his intentions, business ethics and methods of harvesting, distilling, making and supporting those who make their essential oils. There are certainly many great companies as well.
Ways to use essential oils:
In a diffuser
If you have a sinus cold put a few drops of Eucalyptus radiata in your diffuser with some mandarin oil to help you sleep. If cold is in your chest use Eucalyptus globulus. Do not use Eucalyptus globulus around young children especially on their skin. If you feel you might have an infection add in 1 drop of thyme essential oil to every 5 drops of eucalyptus.
In your ears
Sometimes a head cold makes your ears feel all stuffed. Put the bottle of Nasya oil directly into a cup of warm/hot water. When bottle warms up put several drops of the oil on 1/2 a cotton ball with a drop or 2 of eucalyptus radiata and put into each ear before sleep. This is also soothing to a busy nervous system (vata calming)
On your temples
Take a drop or 2 of peppermint oil on your fingertips and deeply rub your temples and head. Then dip your fingers in just a little bit of a carrier oil - sesame, almond, sunflower - a walk your fingers around your cheeks, jaw, nose and eyebrows. Feels sooooo good on a congested feeling face.
On your toes
Rub a little thyme oil on the sinus points of your feet. These reflexology points are between and just below your toes. For infants and small children you can gently rub these points with just a little carrier oil on your fingers and no essential oil.
For a sore throat
Rub a couple drops each of lemon and rosemary essential oils on your throat. Follow by rubbing a carrier oil onto your throat as well.
At first sign of a cold or flu
I like to put 1 drop of a thieves essential oil blend into a tsp of honey and swallow. (This is the one place I use a blend from Young Living). I would only do this 1 -3 times a day for up to 3 days. Essential oils are so highly concentrated and, in my opinion, too strong to take orally too often. There are so many great foods, tinctures and teas that our body can process more easily.
In 1/2 cup hot water add 1/2 tsp of turmeric and 1 tsp of salt. Gargle and spit, gargle and spit.
In 4 cups of water add an inch of ginger, a clove of garlic and an inch of turmeric all grated. oil then simmer for at least 15 minutes. Add lots of lemon and local raw honey and sip all day.