Ayurvedic Sinus Treatments – How To Prevent Sinusitis & Respiratory Infections With Ayurveda
Autumn marks a major seasonal shift in many parts of the world. As the hot and humid days of Pitta give way to the cool, dry winds of Vata – it can throw the doshas out of balance. This, in turn, can throw our immune systems out of whack. Sinus crud, constant throat clearing, and persistent sniffles can feel like an inevitable part of life this time of year – but they don’t have to be. This blog takes a closer look at how Ayurvedic sinus treatments can put an end to seasonal suffering.
Why are My Sinuses Worse in the Fall?
The transition from summer to fall is a particularly dynamic time of year. Ragweed and other allergens circulate more easily in Vata’s winds. As we return to school – and spend more time indoors in general – our environments become a petri-dish for bacteria and viruses. Autumn is also a vulnerable season for the doshas in general. Shifting from fiery Pitta to cool, dry Vata energy can throw the doshas out of balance. When this happens, our immune systems become comprised – right at the onset of cold and flu season!
The best Ayurvedic sinus treatment is, simply, prevention. When we develop practices and habits that help us feel our best, we’re better equipped to stay healthy all year long.
The 3 Doshas & Seasonal Sinus Issues
Every person is comprised of a unique mix of the three Ayurvedic doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These doshas are the energetic building blocks of the universe and are present in everything around us. We’re all affected differently by seasonal shifts, depending on the balance of each dosha in our bodies and environments. Here’s how doshic imbalances manifest in our sinuses and respiratory systems:
- Aggravated Vata can lead to dry and weepy nasal tissues and sinus irritation.
- Inflamed Pitta can trigger stuffiness and irritation without the mucus or nasal drip.
- Kapha, which rules the sinuses and chest, can cause wet, damp coughs and winter chest colds when out of balance.
In Ayurveda, it’s important to treat the whole person. But what’s best for one person may not be best for someone else. An Ayurvedic practitioner can help assess what’s happening in your body – and how to regain balance.
6 Seasonal Sinus Treatments in Ayurveda
While personalized treatment is essential, it’s helpful to understand the most common Ayurvedic sinus treatments. Read on to learn Ayurveda can help prepare your body and immune system for seasonal shifts in the world around you.
1. Nasya Oil Treatment
Nasya oil is an herb-infused oil used in Ayurveda to cleanse and nourish the nasal passageways. Regular Nasya oil treatment can help relieve mucus and congestion, pacify doshic imbalances, and improve breathing to support the flow of prana. Nasya oil therapy is simple, and it only takes a few minutes. An Ayurvedic practitioner can help ensure you’re using the proper herbal blend, and that daily application is right for you.
Learn More: Nasya Oil Benefits & How to Use Nasya Oil
2. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic treatment that alleviates excess doshas in the head and mind. It helps cleanse oral ama – or toxins – to ease congestion and support healthy sinuses. An Ayurvedic practitioner can asses your prakruti (constitution) and vikruti (nature) to determine which type of oil is optimal for your doshic balance. After this, the process is simple:
- Place one tablespoon of oil in your mouth (usually coconut or sesame oil).
- Swish the oil through your teeth and gums for 15-20 minutes.
- Spit the oil in the trash or toilet when you’re finished. Don’t swallow it or spit it in the sink.
When you’re just getting started, start with five minutes and work your way up to 15 or 20. The oil may quickly change consistency and color at first, which means it’s full of oral gunk. If this happens, spit it out and continue the following day.
3. Herbal Steaming
Herbal steam baths are an Ayurvedic sinus treatment that balance the doshas in the head and respiratory system. Steaming involves mixing Ayurvedic herbs into boiling water, leaning over the bowl and placing a towel over your head to trap the steam, and breathing it in for 10 to 15 minutes. Eucalyptus, basil, and rosemary are all great for herbal steaming – but the best combination of herbs depends on your specific symptoms and Ayurvedic constitution.
4. Herbal Therapy
Ayurvedic herbs aren’t just good for steam baths. Ingesting certain anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial herbs can help prevent and relieve sinus and respiratory issues.
- Ginger and Honey: A spoonful of honey and ginger every morning helps boost the immune system and alleviate allergies.
- Cinnamon: Adding a little cinnamon to your diet can help reduce inflammation, a key trigger for sinus and respiratory issues.
- Salt & Turmeric: Gargle warm salt and turmeric water, which have anti-microbial properties.
- Herbal Water: Add basil leaves, mint leaves, cloves, and ginger to boiling water and sip throughout the day for sinus relief and immune support.
Yog-asana (the physical part of a yoga practice) benefits our physical and mental health in many ways. The following poses, in particular, support the sinuses and respiratory system:
- Adho Muka Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog): This foundational pose helps improve circulation and open blocked channels to decongest the nasal cavities.
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): This pose stretches your chest and lungs to enhance the breath and flow of prana. It also invigorates the heart and reduces stress to boost immunity.
6. Vata-Grounding Diet
When Vata is out of balance, we become more vulnerable to respiratory infections. To ground and soothe Vata, consume foods that counter-balance its cool, dry properties. Favor meals that are warm (energetically and in temperature) rather than cold or cooling. Oily foods like avocado, coconut oil, olives, and eggs can help increase moisture. In general, it’s wise to shift your diet from light and fresh to grounding, dense, and nourishing this time of year.
Ayurvedic Spaghetti squash, carrot ginger soup, and Kitchari porridge are a few of our favorite recipes to calm Vata during this seasonal transition.
7. Ayurvedic Detox
Ayurvedic detox diets help flush contaminants, correct doshic imbalances, and give your body a clean slate to combat respiratory issues. They’re one of the best Ayurvedic sinus treatments – but it’s essential to take the unique needs of your body into account.
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