Our nose is very important, as it is the medium through which we breathe. It is responsible for the filtration of air that we inhale before it passes to the lungs. The air we breathe often has dust particles and other impurities. The nose collects these impurities and makes sure clean air enters our body.
Our nose also serves a secondary purpose as a smelling organ. It is directly connected to the brain, eyes and ears, which makes it more important.
Thus, any congestion, breathing problem, allergies and sinusitis in the nasal cavity should be treated soon. Nasya therapy is great for use in any kind of such nasal problems. In addition to these problems, it is also beneficial in diseases of brain, eyes, ears and upper parts of the body.
What is Nasya therapy?
In ayurvedic medicine system, nasya is a kind of panchakarma treatment for cleansing and rejuvenating the body. The word ‘nasya’ means- “related to the nose”.
Nasya is a procedure specially designed for people suffering from nasal congestions, sinuses, respiratory diseases and other allergic conditions. In this therapy, herbal medications are given through nasal cavity due to which it is named nasya.
The therapy aims at purifying the body, giving nourishment to the nose and other connected organs and providing strength to the brain, eyes, nose, ears and respiratory system.
Indications of Nasaya treatment
Conditions in which Nasya therapy is used:
Common Nasal Problems
- Blocked nose
- Excessive sneezing
- Loss of sense of smell
- Frequent runny nose
- Cough etc.
These may occur due to change in weather, allergies, infections and other reasons. For all these minor problems, nasaya therapy works wonders. Nasya is a medicated oil therapy and is effective in removing any blockage in the nasal area. These oils also provide nourishment the internal organs.
There is other many health conditions as well (listed below), in which Nasya treatment is very useful.
- Swollen Adenoids
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Respiratory conditions
- Neurological problems
- Hormonal imbalance
- Under eyes dark circles
- High blood pressure
- Hearing problems
Lets discuss few of such health conditions more in details:
Pain and Stiffness in the Shoulder & Neck
The therapy includes light head, neck and shoulder massages, which relax the muscles and help in maintaining muscle health. The medicated oils used for the therapy provide nourishment and are anti-inflammatory and hence counter pain and internal swelling.
Nasya treatment is helpful in respiratory diseases like sinusitis, bronchitis and difficulty in breathing. Both these problems are related to the excessive formation of mucus and low immunity. Warm herbal oil therapies help in purification and elimination of wastes from the body. The herbs reach directly into the nerves and help in removing mucus, which is responsible for blockages. This helps in boosting the immune system by increasing the supply of oxygen to the brain and other parts of the body.
Insomnia and Stress
Nasya is very effective in rejuvenating and giving relaxes to the body. The nose is directly connected to the brain and thus the medication enters different parts of the brain through its absorption through the mucosa membrane and nerve ending. It relaxes the brain and lowers the stress levels and other sleep-related problems. Herbal medication through nasya procedure ensures brain health and maintains a balance between emotions giving you mental stability.
In some cases, like anxiety, depression and paralysis this therapy has proved to be very effective. The medications are directly passed to the brain through the microchannels and bloodstream. This helps in clearing blockages from the nerves and ensures better blood and oxygen supply to the brain. The herbal oils used in the therapy often help in increasing immunity and can be used for the treatment of pain and paralysis.
Types of Nasya therapy
This type is mainly used for cleansing purposes and is efficient for problems like nasal congestion, headaches, sinusitis, some skin diseases and common cold. The herbal oil is replaced by medicated dry herbal powder, which is blown using a tube in the nose.
This type is mostly used for vata dosha, which includes problems like migraines, loss of sense of smell, stiffness in the neck, anxiety, stress, dizziness and headaches. This type of nasya may use different types of ghee, salt, oil and mediated milk to cure vata related problems.
This type is mainly for pitta related problems, which are not directly related to the nose. These may include problems like hair loss, eyes infections, blocked ears, etc. In this type, medication includes oils, various types of decoction and other powdered herbs.
This therapy includes the use of fresh herbal juices, medicated oils and other herbal medications in a fixed proportion to treat excessive doshas. This treatment is generally used when the patient is suffering from more than one dosha.
Ghee or oil is used in this type. This is also used for cleaning out the toxins from the head and neck region.
This type is for daily usage. In this only small amount of oil is taken and gently massaged on the inner nasal walls. This helps in providing lubrication and deeply nourishes the internal skin of the nose.
Complete procedure of Nasya thearpy
Stage-1 (prior to the treatment)
The first step of the therapy involves determining the type of nasya therapy to be given to the client. This involves deciding the herbal medications and the time of the therapy. Ayurvedic consultation with a qualified ayurvedic practitioner can help in this.
Eating heavy food should be avoided just before going in for the therapy. A light massage to head, forehead, face and shoulders is given to relieve stressed muscles.
Many times, nasya is often accompanied by other therapies like Swedana and Shirodhara. But this totally depends upon the requirements of the patient.
Stage-2 (during the treatment)
Client is made to lie on a treatment table with his neck bending a little backward so that his nose is raised in an upward direction. If the nose is not raised properly, oil may not flow to the desired place. The medicated oil is taken in a container and poured into the nostrils using a dropper. Then unique marma (energy point) massage is done around nose, ears, lips and eyes. This is followed by gentle steaming of the face with face towel, soaked in warm water. Client is requested to sit after this to get ayurvedic head massage. Finally specific herbal fumes (Dhoomapana) are inhaled through the nostrils.
During the procedure, client is not allowed to talk much as the medicine may not reach the targeted area due to this. Taking cold baths or even head baths during the therapy should be strictly avoided.
Client should also avoid excessive exposure to dust and pollution, excessive cold temperatures and even exercising or drinking cold water up-to 2 hours after getting this therapy.
Health benefits of Nasya
- Promotes healthy growth of hair by reducing hair fall and avoids premature greying.
- Reduces stress and helps in rejuvenating vital parts of the brain thus making it more efficient and emotionally balanced.
- Helps in detoxification of the nasal area and other connected organs by regulating the excess formation of mucus.
- Helps in maintaining the other organs like eyes, ears, mouth etc. that are directly connected to our nose.
- This therapy can be very helpful during the winters when runny nose, cold, cough, flu etc. are very common.
Though nasya therapy is safe but for receiving the desired goals, client must follow some precautionary steps. Your ayurvedic practitioner may advise you to undertake certain measure depending upon your body type. The common factors to be considered before going in for nasya therapy are as follows:
- Do not go for nasya therapy just before or just after baths, shower or swimming.
- Do not eat too much food or heavy food before therapy.
- This therapy is not to be undertaken by pregnant and menstruating women.
- Though the therapy is well suited for everyone, it should not be allowed for children below 7 and old people above the age of 80.
- Do not drink cold water or take bath in cold water up to 2 hours after the therapy.
Side effects of Nasya therapy
Ayurvedic therapies are considered best because they do not have any adverse effect on the body. This therapy is natural and thus has no such side effects.
People don’t necessarily need to be ill to go through these therapies. One to make their body feel fresh and rejuvenated can also use them. This therapy could also be taken for common cold and nasal congestions or simply to keep the immune system healthy.
However, you may experience some nasal irritation due to oil instilled in the nostrils. It may also further go to the throat and cause throat irritation. These effects are common and considered normal outcomes of nasya therapy.
- Prasad, B. S., Patil, D., Pardeep, L. G., Hiremath, V., & Shreelakshmi, C. R. (2014). Development of a Nasya fitness form for clinical practice. Ancient science of life, 34(2), 100-2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4389386/
- Radhika, C., Kumar, G. V., & Mihirjan, K. (2012). A randomized controlled clinical trial to assess the efficacy of Nasya in reducing the signs and symptoms of cervical spondylosis. Ayu, 33(1), 73-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3456869/
- Stoelzel, K., Bothe, G., Chong, P. W., & Lenarz, M. (2013). Safety and efficacy of Nasya/Prevalin in reducing symptoms of allergic rhinitis. The clinical respiratory journal, 8(4), 382-90. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4235399/
- Vivera MJ, Gomersall JS. The effectiveness of ayurvedic oil-based nasal instillation (Nasya) medicines in the treatment of facial paralysis (Ardita): a systematic review. JBI Database System Rev Implement Rep. 2016 Apr;14(4):198-228. doi: 10.11124/JBISRIR-2016-2402. Review. PubMed PMID: 27532316. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27532316