We breathe every single minute of every day, and without breathing we cannot live.
But as is the case with all parts of the body, often people experience difficulty breathing fully, due to impaired sinuses. Also known as the paranasal sinuses, our sinuses are connected to our nasal cavities, and include the maxillary, frontal, ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses. When we have a cold or allergies, the sinuses become inflamed, the sinus tissues swell and breathing becomes congested. Virtually everybody has experienced this. Additionally, accidents involving head trauma can occlude the sinuses, and cause long-lasting or even permanent obstruction.
For relief, many people turn to over-the-counter decongestant nasal sprays.
However, over-the-counter decongestants are not for everyone, and there can be some health risks involved with taking certain OTC drugs – especially nasal sprays and decongestants.
While injury-related sinus obstruction may require surgery to relieve, sinus congestion due to colds, flu, allergies or the consumption of some foods can be relieved by natural remedies.
Often, sinus irrigation with a light salt water solution is sufficient to clear up sinus congestion. This is where “neti pots” come in. These are small pots that look like miniature teapots. You usually find them at natural food stores. You simply fill the neti pot with warm salt water, stand over a sink, and pour the little pot of water up your nose. The experience isn’t that pleasant, but the results may be excellent.
Another way to go is to breathe the vapors of certain aromatic substances including menthol or eucalyptus. The Swiss company Olbas makes a couple of terrific products in this category. One, the Olbas inhaler, contains menthol, oils of peppermint, Cajeput and eucalyptol, one of the components of eucalyptus. You just apply the inhaler to your nose, take a nice breath, and the vapors open up the sinuses.
Another Olbas product, Olbas Oil, contains the same ingredients. If you are congested, fill a tub with hot water, drop 4 - 5 drops of Olbas oil in the bath, get in, and breathe the vapors. I have done this many times, and have always gotten relief.