Your Sinus Health

Well, it’s that time of year—cold and flu season.  So, today’s post will be about your sinus health.

Anatomy lesson of the day: you have way more sinus space than you think you do.   Most people just think that the sinuses are the space inside your nose.  That is true, but the bones also have air-filled spaces that are part of the sinus complex as well.   Basically, you have sinuses in all of the bones that make up the front of your face and even some deeper bones.  The frontal (forehead), maxilla (cheeks by the nose), ethmoid (upper portion of the nose), and the sphenoid (central bone of the skull) bones ALL have sinuses in them–on both sides of your face.   All of these sinuses drain into the nasal cavity at some point.  That congestion you feel could be coming from any of those points.

Rolfing also deals with sinuses a fair amount.  Because of the fascial connection, your sinuses are affected by the fascia and muscles in your nose, face, jaw, cranium, and neck.  Tightness in any of those places can end up causing some congestion.  As part of the 10-Series, those areas definitely get addressed.  However, work can also be done in the nasal cavity itself to help open up those passages and get things flowing again.

One self-care tip is to use a neti pot for some sinus irrigation.  If you haven’t heard of them, basically, it’s a little pot you put some lukewarm salt water in and pour it into one nostril….until it runs out of the other nostril.  Yep, you read that right.  It derives out of Ayurvedic medicine.  Basically, it helps to flush nasal irritants out and clean out those sinuses.

Tips for the wise–if you use a neti pot, make sure you use the recommended salt level.  Too much or too little salt can cause a burning sensation.  Also, you want to use lukewarm water.  If it is too hot, you can scald yourself and your sinus linings (not fun, I’m sure), and if it is too cold, it won’t be comfortable.

I just recently starting using a neti pot to work on some deep congestion issues I’ve been having.  It sort of feels like I’m drowning a bit, and feels a bit uncomfortable.  This is mainly because I hate breathing through my mouth.  But, I can definitely tell that it helps to clean out a lot of mucus from the nooks and crannies up there.

The process of Rolfing

One thing new clients often don’t understand initially is that Rolfing is a process.  Traditional massage therapy does yield cumulative effects, but it is usually done as single sessions.  There isn’t any sort of flow between the sessions.

Rolfing is most definitely done as a process.  That is why there is such power in the 10-Series.  You could basically think of it as a one super long session.  Time does play a factor in this setup: working through the whole body from the surface to the core just physically takes a long time–that’s a lot of territory to cover.  Also, it is a learning time about your body.  You won’t understand everything the first time–just like any new activity.  It takes time to build up your skill level.  You are essentially relearning the language of body sensation, and specifically your body’s unique dialect.

As I’ve mentioned before Rolfing is also about empowering you to be able to take over some of your care.  You go to the Rolfer to get some external guidance and assistance, but the “heavy lifting” is still for you to do.  It is like school in this regard–your teacher leads you through exercises and examples, but you have to do your own homework OUTSIDE OF CLASS.  We all learn by doing, not by being told how to do something.

I recently thought of a new analogy for the Rolfing process (I do like analogies).  It is like using a swing.  Sure, you can do it entirely yourself–get those legs pumping and timings right and off you go.  However, swing your leg not on sync or shift a rhythm, and it can be hard.  The Rolfer acts like the friend helping the swinger out.  You are still learning the timing and speed, but your helper gives the push at the right time, with the right power, and right angle to keep you going.  At some point, you are fully able to take over the process yourself.

That is how Rolfing ideally works.  The Rolfer is there to help push and guide you with the correct timing and pressure, but not do the work of swinging.  Then you can later use that knowledge and guidance to keep evolving your own structure outside of and after your sessions.