How to relieve sinus pressure

Updated February 21, 2017

Sinus pressure is painful and can cause severe headaches that interfere with daily routines. Sinus pressure is caused by changes in temperature and air pressure, allergens such as dust or pet dander and from illnesses such as sinus infection or colds and flu. There are natural ways to relieve the pain and pressure while also treating causes of this sinus problem.

Pour boiled water into a large bowl and add a cut, raw onion. Place a towel over your head and the bowl, creating a tent. Breathe in the steam deeply for 15 minutes. The vapours help open sinus passageways, relieving pressure.

Use the hot water and tent method above, but add three to four drops of eucalyptus oil instead of the onion. Eucalyptus has been used for centuries to open respiratory passageways.

Add three drops of tea tree oil to the hot water if sinus pressure is from a bacterial or viral infection. According to the Mayo Clinic, tea tree oil has been used in many cultures for centuries and is believed to have antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. While there is evidence to support these theories, the Mayo Clinic advises that more conclusive studies are needed.

Add spicy peppers or cayenne to your foods. Cayenne contains capsaicin, which relieves the inflammation that can cause sinus pressure and improves circulation to painful areas. Sprinkle cayenne pepper on chilli or burgers, or add some fresh hot peppers to a salad.

Press the index fingers above the middle of your eyebrows and massage the area in small, circular motions for 15 seconds. Move the fingers to the area between the eyebrows next and massage. Repeat as often as necessary. This is a technique of acupressure, which is a popular alternative to medicinal treatments.


Vacuum and dust regularly to help control dust mite and pet dander allergens that can trigger sinus pain and pressure.


Sinus pressure accompanied by a fever can indicate infection. Consult your physician as soon as possible to determine whether you need antibiotic therapy.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowl of hot, steaming water
  • Raw onion
  • Towel
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Spicy foods or cayenne pepper
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About the Author

A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."