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Seattle Community Acupuncture: Humming Can Relieve Sinus Congestion

Did you know that the simple act of humming a familiar tune can reduce sinus congestion and sinus pressure? It’s all explained in this article by Nick Meyer at

Many people suffer from sinus issues and buy various types of over-the-counter and prescription medications to combat them, but there may be a simpler method for relieving sinus blockage.

The simple act of humming is free and has shown promise in providing relief for the problem according to Swedish scientists. According to their study, humming is an effective way to increase ventilation in your sinuses while can help prevent infections.

During the study, 10 healthy males ages 34 to 48 with no history of allergies or diseases with links to sinus issues were tested by Jon Lundberg,  M.D., Ph.D., of the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and an associate. They exhaled for five seconds at a fixed rate either quietly or while using a tightly-fitted mask covering the nose and a mouthpiece that was specifically designed for exhaling.

Those who hummed boosted their nitric oxide levels 15-fold compared with those who merely practiced quiet exhalations. Testing for nitric oxide concentrations is one way to determine whether sinuses are healthy or not, and humming is one of the best ways to increase such concentrations according to the Swedish study.

The increased ventilation and sinus infection prevention results were also found by American researchers.
A December 2010 article in the New York Times stated that more than 37 million Americans suffer from some sort of sinus infection every year, but moving air through the sinuses and naval cavity via humming is an excellent way to prevent them from occurring according to these two studies. The humming also led to a large increase of overall gas exchange between the nose and sinus cavities.

Some people also work humming into their meditation routines, using it to help dissolve stressful thoughts and to soothe their neck and head while calming their nervous system. It is even reported to reduce blood pressure along with its calming effects.

To hum, simply create a rhythm or “tune” without opening your mouth or using your lips to annunciate the sound any further.

Sinusitis affects about 14 percent of U.S. residents; candida overgrowth is also a potential cause.

But if you suspect that poor airflow is one of the main reasons for your sinus issues, give humming a try in the car on your way to work or any other time you have a few extra minutes, or try adding it to your next meditation routine for an extra bonus. It just might save you a few bucks and protect your health from synthetic over-the-counter drugs.

Photo: Aurora Healthcare

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