they say the way to ones heart goes through ones stomach. ayurveda say the way to your brain is through your nose!!!…… for the thousands of year ago the ayurveda termed the nose as the gateway to brain. with their amazingly accurate study of anatomy, the nose was considered as one of the important routes for medicine administration . nasya is being used in the diseases where the involvement and response of major nerves are expected, where the quickest absorption is needed. the nasal cavity is covered by a thin mucosa which is well vascularised. therefore, a drug molecule can be transferred quickly and directly to the systemic blood circulation. the first-pass hepatic and intestinal metabolism is bypassed. the effect is often achieved within 5 min for smaller drug molecules. nasal administration can therefore be used as an alternative to oral administration of for example tablets and capsules, if a fast effect is desired or if the drug is extensively degraded in the gut or liver. drugs which show poor absorptive can be given by this route.
in ayurveda the unique way of such administration is called as nasya. nasya was considered so important that the authors in ayurveda included it to be followed regularly in routine. it is described for the health of organs above the collar bone i.e. head neck and surroundings of head and neck. regular nasya of sesame oil, or cow ghee is advised.
mode of action:
there are many theories to explain how the nasya acts on brain or endocrine system
- the olfactory bulb in the brain is directly connected to external environment through the olfactory nerve and its neurons in nasal cavity .( olfactory bulb and nerve make us able to smell ).
- the systemic absorbtion of the medicine used is absorbed through the nerve cells which is transferred to olfactory bulb .
- respiratory mucosa in nasal cavity absorbs the medicines making it systemic very quickly
- the extend part of arachnoids matter of brain in nasal cavity and lymphatic channels are supposed to be the pathway for absorption in nasya medicine .
- the detail study of body type ( individual prakriti) and the disease .
- selection of medicated oil , ghrit to be used for nasya .
- whole body massage / facial paranasal sinuses massage and head massage with chosen oil followed by medicated steam
- the nasya position : patient lying down with the head tilted backwards till the nose faces towards sky . the shoulder rested on pillow.
- the nasya medicine usually in 4 drops to 10 drops(depending upon the decided dose) in each nostril is introduced using cotton or dropper .
- the position is maintained for 5 mins to allow the absorption.
- patient is made to sit upright and the medicine that entered in oral cavity through nose is told to spit out .
- warm water gargles are advised to get rid of the taste and smell in oral cavity and wash out the sticky kafa dosha if accumulated in mouth.
- patient is advised to cover the head to avoid wind or sun exposure to the senses .
- the nasya course depends on the patient and the dosha condition.
- 3 days to 8 days are advised generally with follow-ups afterwards.
can i do it at home myself ? yes, to maintain the health of head and neck region , you can practice it regularly at home too . while doing it at home, one can omit the above said first three steps. when you are doing it regularly at home the dose should be very less. using luke warm sesame oil or cow ghee is advised for all in the dose of 2 drops in each nostril every day, preferably morning before bath . how nasya benefits : the nasya works according to the properties of herbs that are used to prepare oil or ghrit . the vaat, kaf and pitta dosha are acted upon to balance and bring relief in disease. even the pitutray gland which is situated exactly adjacent to the sphenoid sinus is proved to show improved endocrine functions due to the nasya therapy. following are the benefits
- prevent diseases of the eyes, nose and ears.
- reduce/prevent graying of hair and hair fall.
- strengthen the veins, tendons, muscles located in the head and neck region.
- improve the voice and the overall facial appearance
- improve the cognitive function and memory in kids too
- promote clarity of sense organs
- improve the sleep.
the nasya procedure has been used to treat several conditions in ayurvedic hospitals/practices including: –facial paralysis -neuralgia -stroke -eye pain -headaches, migraine -otalgia (ear ache) -pain in scapular region -vocal cord problems -sinusitis -epilepsy -anxiety -anger -premature aging -goiter, and many more conditions. contraindications: nasya should be avoided in following conditions
- immediately after heavy meals
- acute indigestion , loose motion, acute rhinitis
- having wet hair, 1 hour before/after the procedure
- immediate stress, such as excessive excercise or emotioal melts down.
- suffering form fever or other acute infections
- damp cloudy weather/on unseasonal rainy days
the nasya should be done under strict guidance and observation of certified ayurved doctor when you are supposed to take it for health aliments or diseases. stay connected, ask question, share experiences stay healthy, stay blessed!!