A recent pilot study suggests that lifestyle alterations, acupressure, and acupuncture are extremely helpful complementary forms of treatment to Western therapies to aid in the relief of the symptoms of chronic sinusitis.

The study’s implementers state that the study is the first one to observe the outcomes of combining Eastern forms of treatment with Western medicine among people suffering from impaired breathing, headaches, facial pain, and inflamed and swollen sinuses.

The head of the study, Dr. Jefrrey Suh who works at the University of California, Los Angeles commented that the study involved a small number of patients all suffering from chronic sinusitis who weren’t responding well to conventional treatment. Dr. Suh commented that a majority of chronic sinusitis patients find Western medicine to be effective for the relief of their symptoms. But for those who don’t respond well a holistic Eastern type of treatment that includes self-administered acupressure, acupuncture, healthy diet, adequate sleep, and exercise provide a form of treatment that significantly reduces their symptoms.

The results of the study were published in the Archives of Otolaryngology in March.

The study’s organizers as well as the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention )said that in the United States chronic rhinosinusitis is an all too common condition with almost 30 million of the US population, mostly adults, diagnosed with this illness in 2010 alone.

In the case of acute sinusitis, experts state that this disease is mainly caused by infection. The chronic form (sinusitis that has lasted three months, at least), however, is believed to be the result of a number of anatomical (such as a deviated nasal septum or the presence of polyps) and environmental causes, which makes treating it a little more complicated than when treating acute sinusitis.

Treatment of chronic sinusitis often involves the use of nasal irrigation and nasal corticosteroid sprays; in severe cases, surgical intervention may be required. But unfortunately surgery is not a guaranteed cure or treatment as the condition has been, in many cases, reported to return.

Dr. Suh and his assistant targeted 11 patients (three women and eight men) whose ages ranged from 32 to 70. Most of them had been suffering from sinusitis symptoms for years and none of them had undergone any kind of surgery for at least three months prior to the start of the research. All of them also were not treated with any kind of acupressure or acupuncture treatment for at least two months beforehand.

All previous treatment resumed when the study began. Licensed acupuncturists in Cleveland administered 20-minute treatments of acupressure massage and acupuncture on all the patients once a week for eight weeks. The patients were also taught how to administer acupressure on their self while they’re at home.
A dietary study was implemented and the patients were furnished with nutritional guidance that showed traditional Chinese approaches towards food consumption. They also were taught how to manage their stress and how exercising regularly can help with the relief of stress.

At the end of the study, the organizers discovered that when used in combination with Western medicine, the treatment modes of Eastern medicine seemed to be both effective and safe.

All the patients experienced a substantial improvement in their quality of life after two months. They had a significant improvement in their ability to concentrate and marked decrease in restlessness and feelings of frustration.

In addition, the patients experienced a decrease in the severity and frequency of their symptoms. They had less runny noses and less sneezing fits which meant fewer need to blow their noses. Also reduced were the uncomfortable pressure and pain in their face.

Dr. Suh however, observed that not all the symptoms of the patients’ conditions were addressed. And for those who did not keep up the lifestyle changes such as self-administered acupressure, these patients returned to their previous state months after the study ended. But for the patients who continued with the acupressure, they still experienced relief of most of their symptoms. All in all, the organizers concluded that chronic sinusitis is somewhat a complicated condition for which no simple solution exists.

Experts believe that the study proved that when used along with conventional medicine, Eastern treatments can help improve the condition of the sinus sufferer and although they are not considered a cure for chronic sinusitis, a comprehensive plan of treatment involving pharmaceutical drugs, irrigation with drugs and saline, lifestyle modifications, acupuncture, allergy treatment, nasal sprays, anti-fungals, antibiotics, and diet can help a lot in the patient’s ability to control the symptoms of chronic sinusitis.