How to Massage Your Sinuses to Relieve Congestion

Sinus MassageFacial sinus massage involves gentle pressure applied with the hands to the skin on the forehead, nose and cheeks. Sinusitis is the most common chronic illness in the United States with more than 35 million people suffering daily symptoms. Few people find significant relief from the medications prescribed by family care physicians. A few moments each day invested in gentle sinus massage has provided noticeable relief from nasal congestion, facial pain and headache pain. With some practice, the sinusitis sufferer will develop a personalized routine that addresses specific sinus areas and relieves symptoms.


Sinus massage combines gentle pressure and warmth from the hands to break up the mucous that backs up in the sinus cavities. The natural drainage mechanism is stimulated to clear the passageways. Blood circulation increases to sustain better sinus function throughout the day. Congestion and pressure decrease so that the headache and pain associated with sinusitis disappears. Many sinus pain sufferers are surprised to find that relief is possible following the first massage.


A picture of the sinuses reveals the extensive network of air-filled spaces that lie within the bone structures of the human face. When working properly, the sinuses protect the body from airborne germs, disease and pathogens that would bring infection into the lungs. Natural mucous is produced to protect the inner lining of each sinus cavity.

Common health problems exacerbate the sinus blockages:

  • Bacteria – Unhealthy levels of bacteria in the sinuses damage the lining of the noise and block the natural drainage channels.
  • Allergies – Particles in the air, such as pollen, pet dander and dust, irritate the nasal tissues and cause inflammation, which results in blockage in the drainage channels.
  • Nasal polyps – The presence of polyps in the nasal passages cause blockages that result in extensive sinus issues.

Problems in this delicate system lead to blocked sinuses that become painful without treatment. Traditional treatments have included drugs that dry out the sinuses instead of correcting the actual problem. Constant pain is the companion of people who succumb to daily battles to find the right combination of medications that will provide relief.

Facial sinus massage could provide relief without taking medications that cause drowsiness or other side effects. Techniques can be embraced to tailor the perfect massage routine for the individual. Hope inspires the sinusitis sufferer to embrace different approaches to massage that will become part of the daily routine.


Sinusitis sufferers learn to identify the location of the pain throughout the four main sinus cavities in the face. Effective massage includes focused attention that works through the four major sinus groups in succession.

  • Frontal Sinuses – This sinus group resides above the eyes. Massage pressure points will extend from a point between the eyebrows and extend into the middle of the brow.
  • Ethmoid sinuses – This group is found between the eyes and above the nose. The bridge of the nose is the massage pressure area for these sinuses. Eyeglass wearers recognize the importance of removing their glasses and relieving sinus pain when the glasses cause irritation of fatigue.
  • Maxillary sinuses – These sinuses rest in the front part of the cheekbones.
  • Sphenoid sinuses – This set of sinuses rest around the upper nasal bone and behind the eyes. Pressure points for massaging this sinus group are on the sides of the head in front of the ears and behind the earlobes.


Anyone can learn to apply pressure to the specific area of the face and head to relieve pressure in the sinuses. Using the thumb or index fingers, the massage technique includes rubbing in a circular motion in each of the sinus areas. Ten repetitions will provide relief.

  • Frontal sinuses – Place both index fingers in the center of the eyebrows and rub in a circular motion while moving away from the center, slightly upward and toward the temples. Repeat this process 10 times.
  • Ethmoid sinuses – Using the index fingers, apply gentle pressure against the sides of the bridge of the nose. Small circles should be made as the fingers work toward the top of the nose. Repeat this process 10 times.
  • Maxillary sinuses – Apply downward pressure on each cheek with the index fingers just outside the nostrils. Small circles should be made while moving the fingers along the cheek bones toward the ears. Repeat this process 10 times.
  • Sphenoid sinuses – Start behind the earlobes with the index fingers and apply gentle pressure in an up and down motion on each side of the head. Repeat this process 10 times.

This set of massage exercises can be tailored to address personal pain levels in various sinus groups. More attention in a particular area can provide additional relief.

Attention must be paid to areas that are particularly sensitive to pressure. Light application of gentle force in the initial movement will provide relief without inflaming the facial muscles. Significant congestion causes pain from behind the muscles and skin. Additional repetitions of certain massage exercises will provide more relief after the sensitive areas are addressed.


Throughout the day, a comprehensive massage can prevent the build-up of sinus pressure throughout the major sinus groups. Practice will allow the sinusitis sufferer to follow these steps in a couple of minutes.

  • Begin the massage on the forehead and cheeks with gentle circles using the index fingers on the forehead and thumbs on the cheeks. The motion continues as the hands work upward.
  • Locate the v-shaped notch between the eyebrows and use both thumbs to apply firm pressure for 10 full seconds. Release the pressure and repeat three times. Move the thumbs outward approximately 1 centimeter and reapply the pressure in this area in three repetitions.
  • Using the middle fingers, locate the bony indentation on each side of the nose. Apply gentle pressure here for ten seconds.
  • Use to fingers to apply gentle pressure to the top of the nose between the eyebrows. Immediately following this, move the same two fingers to the underside of the cheekbone for a count of ten.
  • Create small circles of movement along the jawbone from the ears to the center of the chin. Relax the facial muscles with deep stretches, or yawing. Repeat this 10 times.

Low-grade headaches are the initial indicators that the sinuses require some gentle massaging. Use of these exercises will become habit and fewer medications will be required. Each person will devise a personalized approach to relieving sinus pressure throughout the day.


Anyone who suffers from sinusitis notices that certain activities provide relief to the constant battle to breathe clearly.

  • Drink water – Sinuses require significant amounts of water to maintain healthy motion in the sinus tissues. Throughout the day, drink clear water instead of other beverages.
  • Inhale steam – A hot washcloth held over the mouth and nose provides a source of steam that loosens congestion in the sinuses. Another method is to use a bowl of hot water. A towel that is large enough to cover the bowl and the head creates a tent that fills with steam. Breathe deeply for two full minutes.
  • Consult a physician – Sinusitis can develop into more serious health issues if the individual encounters colds or flu. Careful health maintenance techniques can require additional intervention during illnesses.

Dad, writer and photographer. Living the dream with my son Jake. I travel the world making friends and experiences while building my network or properties and friends.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in How-To
17 comments on “How to Massage Your Sinuses to Relieve Congestion
  1. dave says:

    my chiropractor used to do this for me with outstanding results. I just went thru the massage routine and it did help. I have no luck with any nasal medications. Word of caution to all, the preservative in some saline sprays causes the same problem as taking afrin et al for too many days.

  2. LarryLoeb says:

    Do you know what the name of that preservative is? I find myself allergic to a lot of preservatives.

    • Joshua Becker says:

      Benzalkonium Chloride (in many saline sprays) alone causes more congestion over 30 day period than placebo. Not as much as oxymetazoline, of course.

      Graf, P., & Hallen, H. (1996). Effect on the Nasal Mucosa of Long‐Term Treatment With Oxymetazoline, Benzalkonium Chloride, and Placebo Nasal Sprays. The Laryngoscope, 106(5), 605-609.

  3. katier72 says:

    Is this something that you can do to yourself or does someone else have to do it while you are lying down?

  4. CarrieM says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this information, and the detailed steps for doing the massage.

    I tried this massage routine just now and I found it extremely relaxing. I was feeling some slight tension in my face and neck, mainly from having spent the last several hours at the computer. I found it was also very energizing getting blood flow into those regions.

    I don’t have congestion at the moment, but I do get it on occasion, especially if I am exposed to excessive dust or some airborne chemical that is irritating. I will definitely try it the next time I get any degree of congestion.

  5. yellowbird says:

    I didn’t know there were different “realms” of the sinuses, so to speak. I’m going to try this though!

  6. Once I was getting a massage and without telling me, the masseuse put a strong pressure on the areas you mention between my eyebrows. He must have noticed I was stuffed up. Well, this went on for a while, and the pressure was pretty strong. Just as I was beginning to wonder what was going on, my sinuses suddenly cleared out! I was amazed, and have never forgotten that trick. I’ve tried to do it myself, but without success. I’ll try your technique sometime.

  7. The massage should be done with nicely cleaned hands.
    Next arrives the body scrub down working with
    mild massage-like strokes. Having the needed massage is the most excellent way
    to reward ourselves for being such a workaholic and to relieve
    us with all the stress we get from our work.

  8. VIP cheap Leafs jerseys china

  9. Thank you! I have had sinusitis for five days and awoke with a completely blocked right nostril this morning. Have found this technique so helpful because I can identify the blocked areas by feeling pain. Surprisingly, rubbing in front of the ears has been most effective! My nostril is starting to clear and I’m going to keep going with the massage until I feel even clearer. I feel like my brain is clearing too, thank you for sharing these simple yet effective techniques!

    • Suburbanbanshee says:

      Krissy Todd – When you get a massage of neck and shoulders, it usually involves not just your muscles but also your lymph nodes, or parts of the lymphatic system that are close by.

      If you have an infection or you’re taking antibiotics for an infection, your lymph nodes are hard at work fighting with your infection. It’s not a good idea for the massage person to fiddle around your lymph nodes and lymphatic system when they’re busy; you could get sicker or take longer to get over what you have.

      I hope you kicked that sinus infection!

  10. Krissy Todd says:

    I have a sinus infection. I went to massage therapist and told her I wanted her to concentrate on my neck and shoulders which are very tight. she asked if I was on an antibiotic, I said yes, I just started yesterday. She immediately said that she could NOT do the massage while I’m on a antibiotic. she didn’t take 1 minute to talk to me about the concerns and treatment that can work around sinus areas… I have since researched and found nothing that says you can’t get a massage, unless it’s a severe illness, and there is a fever, etc.. that was not my case.. it is a simple sinus infection. I feel she should have give me the massage I came for. thoughts/

  11. It’s very simple to find out any topic on web as compared to books, as
    I found this post at this site.

  12. Chris says:

    My chiropractor said adjustments help the nerves that lead to the sinuses. At first i was sceptical but after a year of treatment i went from 5-6 sinus infections a year to maybe only 1 over the past three years.

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "How to Massage Your Sinuses to Relieve Congestion"
  1. […] This time of year many people struggle with sinus issues.  If you don’t have time to get in and get an adjustment there are a couple of things you can do at home to get some relief.  Peppermint essential oil can work great to get those sinuses to drain.  Put a drop on each temple and under your nose as you need it throughout the day.  Another way to use it is to heat up some water until it steams.  Put a drop of peppermint into the water.  Throw a towel over your head and lean over the steam and breathe it in.  Make sure the steam isn’t so hot that it could burn you.  Massage techniques can also help with drainage.  Here is a link that teaches you how to do it on yourself or a loved one.  I use these same techniques in the office.  Enjoy.  Sinus Massage Techniques. […]

  2. […] technique to drain your (or your child’s sinus’). I found a site that explains this here. After you drain the sinuses either blow your nose or use a nasal aspirator on your child to remove […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>