Maryann Bucknum Brinley

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Upper Montclair, NJ 07043-1810

973-202-5909 (cell)

Extraordinary at Ordinary

Searching for extraordinary science and understanding in the everyday ordinary of life

The Sinus - Toe Connection

Maryann Bucknum Brinley - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ive had several sinus infections off and on all winter and was still post-nasal dripping when the spring pollen count in New Jersey reached its highest. Even a visit to the doctor and a regimen of Mucinex and Sudafed didn’t clear my head completely. Antibiotics were not on my healthcare provider’s to-do list and for that, I was happy. Way too many antibiotics in our lives…unless we really really need them!

Then, a strange symptom arrived. The big and middle toes on my left foot were tender. Yoga positions -- upward dog, cat-cow stretches -- were impossible without pain. An internal spring had sprung and was being pulled from the toes, across the top of the arch. How weird is that? Thinking about the anatomy of the foot sent me to a reflexology site and the map showed me that toes are linked to my sinuses. Amazing. Who would have thought? Even someone like me -- I firmly believe in the preventive power of yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture, Jin Shin Jyutsu, (a wonderful, gentile therapeutic touch technique similar to Reiki) -- was surprised by this apparent physical connection. Forget traditional medical-scientific logic here for a second. I feel it. I know it is there. I’ve also had two reflexology sessions in conjunction with massage therapy and my sinuses have almost cleared completely.

The only clinical trial I could find about reflexology and sinusitis (Healey et al. 2002) pitted nasal irrigation (the neti pot I know so well and did at least two times a day all winter) against reflexology. It was a randomized, controlled study of 150 subjects hoping to alleviate chronic sinusitis. Both approaches helped congestion equally. The neti pot wasn’t the answer to my misery, however. Reflexology worked much better. The well-known alternative medicine guru Andrew Weil, MD, commented, “The unexpected results for this technique (reflexology massage) may prompt further research.” I hope so.

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