May 23rd, 2008 by Q
I have had chronic sinusitis for almost three years now. It’s not a big cause of suffering, just an annoyance I’d rather not have. (When I wake up in the morning and blow my nose, I always have some amount of yellow mucus, signifying an inflammation. I don’t get headaches, facial pain or swelling, or any other more severe symptoms.) When I first noticed my condition I tried a couple of hospitals, both of which put me on antibiotics. After a couple of months (!) on these, it was reduced but not completely gone. This is most likely because of the narrowness of my nasal passages at the top of my nose, which couldn’t be fixed by the septoplasty I had in 2003 for my deviated septum. It also doesn’t help that I have severe allergies to dust, dust mites, mold, pollen, feathers, and animal fur. (Though the daily house cleaning that I’ve been doing over the last couple years has kept my dust allergy from causing me any misery. I wish I would have learned to clean better years ago!)
So after having been basically told off by two major hospitals, I’ve mostly given in to living with chronic sinusitis and staying healthy and allergen free to make it as minor as possible. This basically works, and I’m not miserable though the condition remains.
But my wife recently found the Kuniya Clinic in Otsuka, one station from Ikebukuro in central Tokyo. It’s a clinic run by a medical doctor that has also studied traditional Chinese medicine and can prescribe full on Chinese herbs that are covered by the national health insurance. These aren’t pills or packaged powders like those you can buy in most pharmacies (at high prices) throughout Japan. He puts together a full prescription of herbs that you boil for 40 to 50 minutes with 600cc of water and drink in two doses daily. It’s the most potent type of Chinese herb, the nasty stuff my mother had me drinking when I was a kid for my asthma. (Yes, my mom was taking me to a acupuncturist from five years old for my asthma, and though I hated it, it seemed to work. I never carry an inhaler and rarely feel any asthmatic symptoms.)
I don’t think there are many clinics in Japan that are able to prescribe actual Chinese herbs and be covered by national health insurance, so the Kuniya Clinic is a real find. Anyone who has bought Chinese herbs over the counter in Japan will know that they are EXPENSIVE. But I just paid 1000 yen ($10) for a two week supply of herbs to treat my condition.
The doctor said that he has cured many patients of chronic sinusitis, but not all that have come to him. I’ll report the results later. (I have wanted to try acupuncture and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) for my condition for a while now, but going to see an acupuncturist is not covered by health insurance in Japan and costs about $70 a visit! Ouch!)