Time To Breathe Again: Clear Your Congestion
Updated: Feb 25, 2018
Want to be able to breathe again? At the end of a cold, or a day full of allergies, it would feel better if there were just less stuff in your head.
Here’s a way to do that yourself:
Take about 4-5 minutes and give yourself a Lymphatic Drainage Massage (LDM).
What is lymphatic massage? It’s a method of gentle self-massage that’s seen an increase in popularity for the treatment of conditions like lymphedema, and, as the Mayo Clinic explains, encourages the “flow of lymph fluid.” Since our sinuses are part of the lymphatic system, and since problems with them are usually the result of fluid build-up, this self-massage can be a big relief.
All it takes is just a few moments of gently massaging and applying pressure to the right parts of our heads. Easy enough, right? Any of you out there suffering from sinus issues can do it! And thankfully, we have licensed massage therapist Heather Wibbles, LMT, to walk us through the process in the video below.
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You’ll be focusing on four areas to clear your sinuses, and all four are where fluids settle close to the skin: your head, your neck, around your ears, and the back of your neck.
The two most important keys to keep in mind are to go very, very slow and use very, very light pressure. Also, while it doesn’t feel invasive or deep, LDM can have a profound effect on the body because of its function within the immune system and its use of the circulatory system. So, it is important to be careful and if you have any of these conditions or problems below, consult your physician before performing this on yourself:
Contraindications for Lymphatic Drainage Massage (LDM)
· Fever, acute infection, early onset inflammatory disease. You need to wait until the acute phase is over and the fever is broken.
· Circulatory system problems, especially thrombosis. If there is any risk of embolism of phlebitis, do not use LDM and see your physician immediately
· Cardiac issues such as heart disease, acute angina pectoris or coronary thrombosis (heart attack). Using LDM increases the fluid load on the heart, and compromised cardiac systems should not be subjected to LDM.
· Active bleeding, internal or external.
· Active malignant cancers, undiagnosed lumps, or tumors whose origins have not been determined by your physician.
· High risk pregnancy or late term pregnancy with complications
What to Expect:
While you may start feeling the fluid move relatively quickly, this may not remove all the congestion and it may take several sessions to get things moving.
Some signs that it’s moving the fluid:
· Feeling a change in pressure in your head
· Ears draining
· Nose starting to run
· Tickle in the back of your throat
· Needing to swallow as drainage starts to flow
· Ears popping or sound changes volume.
This method won’t help everyone as we are all different but roughly 75% of people with congestion from allergies or colds get some relief from this, so why not give it a shot.
This excellent video post came from Louisville, KY massage therapist Heather Wibbels, LMT at Massage by Heather gives a good foundation for understanding more about the lymph system and Lymphatic Drainage Massage. Thanks Heather.
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