My sinuses changed as I learnt to relax my face and forehead. They switched from being constantly stuffy/closed to being open and ‘easy’. This change has given me much to think about.
From a medical viewpoint, there are about six or seven different functions hypothesised for the sinuses: that they form cavities in the skull which lighten the weight of the head while providing shape to our heads. Related is a second function to provide space for protecting the brain in the event of a percussive crash to the head. The third function is to warm and moisten air before it passes into the lungs, while the fourth is to provide a filtering function. The fifth offers an immunising function. The sixth function is to contribute to a sense of smell. The seventh function is to provide chambers for sound, voice and intonation.
I not convinced that these functions provide the whole story. When I started to unfrown – my sinuses (or more accurately my nasal breathing) became freer, less sniffly and more ‘easy-breathing’. I blew my nose less frequently and generally felt less stuffy. And this happened quite quickly and at the same time as unfrowning. This leads me to think that frowning (and forehead/eye muscle-clenching) stimulates the nasal passages and sinuses.
I think the sinuses, if in a healthy condition, have a number of vitality, respiratory and social functions which I explain in the book. I think sinuses flex, change and react. By doing this sinuses communicate to ourselves and others whether we are feeling well or unwell, stressed or unstressed. The problem in a busy, stressed ‘hunter’ type life is that our sinuses don’t flex and change in a healthy and communicative way as they are often ‘switched on’. This ‘always on’ results in them feeling stuffy and swollen. The trick is to find out how to calm and open the sinuses, and how to inhabit them.