The word Nasya means 'through the nasal route'. There are several advantages to nasal route administration of any substance according to modern science.
-Avoidance of liver first pass effect
-Avoidance of metabolism through gastrointestinal tract
-Fast onset of therapeutic effects
-Rapid absorption, high bioavailability
-DIrect entry of herbal formulation into the Central Nervous System
Anatomical and physiological study of the nose shows that nasal mucosa (olfactory mucosa) is the only site which directly connects the brain and the external environment. The delivery of any instillation from the nose to the CNS (central nervous system) occurs via the olfactory pathway, has the potential to bypass the blood brain barrier.
According to Ayurveda, the sinus cavity is the gateway to the brain, mind, and consciousness. Herbal formulations delivered through the nostrils reach the Shringataka marma (formed by the union of blood vessels supplying to nose ear, eye and tongue) by nasal channels and spreads into the head/brain by way of the eye, ear, throat and opening of the vessels. Because the nose serves as the gateway to the brain, keeping the nasal passages well hydrated promotes mental clarity, sharpens the memory, and cultivates emotional stability.
To address imbalances related to memory, emotions, thoughts, and any physical imbalances above the clavicle bone such as tension in the throat, neck, jaw, shoulders and head, treatments like Nasya are often administered.
Nasya is the ancient practice of lubricating the nasal cavities and sinuses by gently placing a few drops of herbal or non-herbal oil into each nostril. This can be self-administered (with proper instruction) or given by an Ayurvedic practitioner in a warm and comforting Nasya treatment. Using oil in the nose lubricates the nasal cavity and sinuses, offering protection from the recycled air, and creating a barrier against pollen and environmental pollutants. Nasya fosters deep inhalation by opening up the nasal passage, allowing prana to flow, aiding in relaxation, releasing stress, and preventing blocked energy.
Furthermore, practicing Nasya & receiving regular Nasya treatments clears stagnation from dry accumulated mucous, relieves congestion, strengthens the membranes, sharpens the sense of smell, and reactivates your breath through the nose.
The Subtle Effects of Nasya from an Ayurvedic Perspective
Nasya also offers support for imbalances related to prana vayu, sadhaka pitta, and tarpaka kapha—the three sub-doshas that govern inhalation, processing emotions, and lubrication.
When prana vayu is out of balance, a person may experience anxiety, insomnia, inability to concentrate, and neurological disorders. Prana vayu is located in the cranial cavity. It moves downward and inward in the head and is responsible for inhalation and the movement of the mind, which includes our perception, sensations, feelings, thoughts, and emotions. How prana vayu flows is determined by our thoughts and it plays a role in our emotional response. If the mind has excess movement, is unstable, or there is excess dryness in the body, it can disturb the nervous system. This can impact how we breathe and, in turn, affect the flow of prana throughout our body.
For example, if there is sinus congestion (from excess kapha) it could hinder the flow of prana, possibly causing stiffness or pain in the neck, head, and face. This can impact our ability to concentrate or discern our thoughts, and create frustration stemming from the inability to breathe, smell, or even sleep.
An herbal-based Nasya treatment offers support by quickly reaching the brain, mind, and consciousness. Nasya treatment provides nourishment and balance by bringing beneficial herbs and oil to lubricate, cleanse, and rejuvenate the nasal passages. By alleviating stress, releasing tension, and clearing stagnation, breathing becomes easier, and prana (life force & vitality) flows freely. Plus, it feels good!
Please note: Avoid nasya when pregnant, feeling ill or experiencing a sinus infection, and immediately after using neti pot for nasal rinsing.
Notes on Preventing Viral Attack by Dr Marc Cohen
The first line of defense against a viral infection is the nasal mucosa and upper respiratory cavities. They are lined with epithelial cells that secrete a watery mucus that is sticky on the surface. That mucus is designed to capture particulate matter & virus to present them to the immune cells, that also line the mucosa, so they can develop antibodies against them and to keep that mucosa moving (about 1mm a minute) through cilia. It moves approximately 10-15x a second into the pharynx until you spit it out or swallow it. So that would be the normal way your body would protect your body and get rid of unwanted pathogens.
Keeping a warm humid environment also strengthens the mucosa in your sinus and chest. Indoor house plants, pots on the stove, humidifiers, steam shower, breathing steam, diffusing anti-viral essential oils, even a mask creates a humid microclimate around your nose and mouth.
COVID is a respiratory virus with a lipid envelope, and it becomes unstable at above 55-60 C. This isn’t the temp of your lungs, but it is up in your and nasal cavity. Respiratory viruses enter into the coldest part of the body, which in winter is the nose. When your nose is in the sauna, its the hottest part and tries to cool down and filter the air. The nose is an important heat exchanger. Viruses prefer the cold and cannot sustain under that heat. These viruses don't have sophisticated repair mechanisms to cope with heat, whereas humans have very sophisticated systems. My takeaway is that masks can help, especially in the cold season to keep the nose warm and moist and prevent invasion.
In a time of a pandemic, emergency causes a fight or flight response and produces cortisol that activates your sympathetic nervous system, so you can battle an enemy for example. It directs all energy outwards into the eyes, brain, & extremities to prepare for keen reactions. The digestive system and healing systems are suppressed so all energy goes to fight or flight. When we are in this pattern on a long term basis, it makes us more susceptible to illness, disease, and chronic ailments because we have become weakened.
We are already exposed to so much toxicity in our food, water, frequencies, society and debt, now we have a pandemic which triggers more disease. Self Care is more vital now than ever.
10 Hacks to Relax - From WIred & Tired to Chilled & Fulfilled
-Touch all your fingers - stimulates the largest part of your brain
-Wiggle your toes
-Soften your Stomach
-Breath thru your nose
-Flutter your eyelids
Emotional FIrst Aid
There’s a battle for our immune system going on. The info coming from authorities is “wear a mask, cough in your sleeve, stay at home, social distance, wait for vaccine” Not about how to support our immune systems. The wisdom of Ayurveda completely empowers you to take charge of your own health and needs.
We have potentially outsourced our immune systems to the western medical system and to vaccines and drugs, rather than build up our own resilience. The usual situation is for our bodies to be exposed, like we are to so much already, and for our bodies to build antibodies and strengthen our immune systems. For example, our ability to develop fever or increase heat to fight viral infections, we can tolerate higher temps more than viruses can. We can use this against the virus. Creating heat, steam, sauna, sweating,etc..
Get off your screens and tune in to what’s around you, and focus on fun. It’s not frivolous during this time, when we have restrictions we have to nurture our inner being and tap into what brings us joy.
Heat is a very powerful force so use caution. It turns on and actively activates your immune system. Yet like any intervention it can help or hurt you. Find your own natural balance and tolerance, comfortably uncomfortable. It’s important to note that water transfers heat 25x faster than air, so a steam sauna may be tolerated less time than a dry sauna.
When you have heat stress, your plasma volume increases, your heart strokes and cardiac output increases, and when you start to feel your head pounding do not exceed past this point.
After, allow your body to cool down safely, and alternate between hot and cold, and this helps increase your heat tolerance. Heat and cool together enhances immune function and improves your general physiological response to any stress. Regular treatments with heat, prevent and reduce respiratory infections.
I hope you have gained a morsel of wisdom from these words. I am passionate about sharing, learning, & educating regarding health, wellness, and especially Ayurveda.