Sinus relief in the desert

February 23, 2012

Allergies, Myofascial release, Pain, Sinus

Fascia envelops everything in the body, from muscle to bone to organs, even attaching to pain-sensitive structures such as nerves and blood vessels.

by Maria G. Troia — 

Living in the dry heat of the Arizona desert can be a serious challenge for your sinuses. While most people are apt to seek over-the-counter medications or supplements for their sinus pain and pressure, addressing the connective tissue surrounding the sinuses is an important consideration for those suffering from sinusitis.

Fascia is a continuous three-dimensional web of connective tissue, which most people probably think is only related to muscle pain and joint range of motion. But fascia envelops everything in the body, from muscle to bone to organs, even attaching to pain-sensitive structures such as nerves and blood vessels.

When our sinuses become dry and inflamed, this connective tissue loses its fluidity and elastic capabilities. When this happens, the fascia in and around the sinuses becomes dense and “glued,” so fluids in the sinus cavities cannot easily drain, thus causing pressure, pain and discomfort.

The John Barnes Approach to Myofascial Release™ can lend relief to those who experience chronic discomfort. This unique and effective form of bodywork applies light and sustained pressure to an area for 90 to 120 seconds. This engages the piezoelectric effect, which returns the dense and stuck connective tissue to a softer and more fluid-like state.

Not all forms of myofascial release follow this important principle of light, sustained pressure to one area until the release is achieved without force. The older and more painful form of myofascial release puts deep pressure on an area, forcing the restricted tissue to break apart. This is often quite painful and most often yields only temporary results. It would also be virtually impossible to use this old style of myofascial release on the sinuses, as the structures of the face are so fragile.

The John Barnes Approach to Myofascial Release, however, gently melts the dense areas of restrictions, getting to the deeper levels of fascia. In so doing, the benefits are longer lasting. The gentle nature of the work makes it perfect for use on the fragile structures of the face. The overall experience is also quite calming and relaxing. Many people fall asleep during a session.

In order to treat the sinuses with myofascial release, we consider and examine various structures in the head and neck to find the origin of the restriction. Craniosacral work is one component of myofascial release that is used to treat sinus pressure and pain. Intraoral work (working inside the mouth with gloved hands) might be done as well to open the deeper structures. This often helps release pressure felt in the eyes and teeth from sinus pain.

Finally, the most relaxing part of the sinus treatment is what we call the “fascial facial,” where the therapist’s hands gently hold the face, softly molding to the structure. After 90 to 120 seconds, there is a release in the tissue that melts the tension held in the face, helping the sinuses to drain. No force is involved. Many clients report that they look years younger as the pain and tension held in their face just fades away.

Once the deeper layers of connective tissue are addressed, AMMA Therapy®, an ancient form of Korean bodywork, can help keep the sinus passages open and encourage drainage. With AMMA Therapy, the trained therapist uses a very specific protocol of massage strokes on the head, face and neck to promote drainage from the sinuses. Special acupressure points are incorporated into this treatment to alleviate pressure and pain. The therapist also topically applies various herbal liniments that help increase circulation and decrease inflammation.

While adjunct therapies such as supplements and even the neti pot are important for good sinus health, too many people overlook the importance of cranial structure in maintaining sinus health. A 30-minute session of AMMA Therapy or myofascial release can provide immediate and often lasting relief from sinus pain.


Maria Troia, MSEd, LMT, NCTMB, CH is trained in the John F. Barnes’ Myofascial Release Approach and AMMA Therapy and is certified by the Bach Foundation. She is a NCBTMB continuing education provider and owner of East-West Holistic Healing Arts in Scottsdale, Ariz. 480-313-6260 or

Reprinted from AZNetNews, Volume Number 30, Number 5, Oct/Nov 2011.

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