Nasal Administration (Nasya) :
Nasya Karma or Shirovirechan is the administration of medicines through the nose either to subside congestion or to expel vitiated Doshas out of the body systems is known as. The word Shirovirechan literally means method of purification of the systems above clavicular region. The medicines, which are used for this procedure, include oil, pastes, powders, plant juices, decoctions, infusions, as well as inhalation of medicinal smoke. Since the nose is the main orifice, connected directly to brain, nasal cleansing is considered very effective for ailments of the head including the five sense organs (Indriyas). In this procedure, the aggravated Doshas above the region of clavicle (in the head and neck) are eliminated through the nose. Before beginning with the nasal therapy, the preparatory procedures such as localized Snehan (Oleation therapy) and Swedan (diaphoresis) should be applied on the affected area.
Nose : The Doorway to Brian
The nose is the doorway to the brain and it is also the doorway to consciousness. The nasal administration of medication is called nasya. An excess of bodily humors accumulated in the sinus, throat, nose or head areas is eliminated by means of the nearest possible opening, the nose.
Prana, life force as nerve energy, enters the body through the breath taken in through the nose. Prana is in the brain and maintains sensory and motor functions. Prana also governs mental activities, memory, concentration and intellectual activities. Deranged prana creates defective functioning of all these activities and produces headaches, convulsions, loss of memory and reduced sensory perception. Thus nasal administration, nasya is indicated for prana disorders, sinus congestion, migraine headaches, convulsions and certain eye and ear problems.
Nasal Massage & Benefits :
Breathing also can be improved through nasal massage. For this treatment, the little finger is dipped into ghee and inserted into the nose. The inner walls of the nose are slowly massaged, going as deeply as possible. This treatment will help to open the emotions. (Nose tissue is tender and for this application the fingernail must be kept short to avoid injuring the delicate mucus membranes.) Since most people have deviated nasal septums, one side of the nose will be easier to penetrate and massage than the other. The finger should not be inserted forcibly. The massage should proceed by slow penetration, the finger moving first in a clockwise, then counter-clockwise direction. By this means, the emotions that are blocked in the respiratory tract will be released. One may use this treatment each morning and evening. In this way breathing patterns will change as the emotions are released and the eyesight also will improve.
Six main types of Nasya are :
1. Pradhamana (virechan) Nasya (cleansing nasya) uses dry powders (rather than oils) that are blown into the nose with a tube. Pradhamana nasya is mainly used for kapha types of diseases involving headaches, heaviness in the head, cold, nasal congestion, sticky eyes, hoarseness of voice due to sticky kapha, sinusitis, cervical lymph adenitis, tumors, worms, some skin diseases, epilepsy, drowsiness, Parkinsonism, inflammation of the nasal mucosa, attachment, greed and lust. Traditionally, powders such as brahmi are used.
2. Bruhana Nasya (nutrition nasya) uses ghee, oils, salt, shatavari ghee, ashwagandha ghee and medicated milk and is used mainly for vata disorders. It is said to benefit conditions resulting from vata imbalances such as vata-type headaches, migraine headache, dryness of voice, dry nose, nervousness, anxiety, fear, dizziness, emptiness, negativity, heaviness of eyelids, bursitis, stiffness in the neck, dry sinuses and loss of sense of smell.
3. Shaman Nasya (sedative nasya) is used according to which dosha is aggravated but mainly for pitta-type disorders such as thinning of hair, conjunctivitis and ringing in the ears. Generally certain herbal medicated decoctions, teas and medicated oils are used.
4. Navana Nasya (decoction nasya) is used in vata-pitta or kapha-pitta disorders and is made from decoctions and oils together.
5. Marshya Nasya (ghee or oil nasya)
6. Prati Marshya (daily oil nasya) is performed by dipping the clean little finger in the ghee or oil and inserting into each nostril, lubricating the nasal passage with gentle massage as described above. This helps to open deep tissues and can be done every day and at any time to release stress.
Substances Used in Nasya :
Brahmi, ginger, ghee oils, decoctions, onion, garlic, Piper longum, black pepper, curry pepper, rose, jasmine, mogra flowers and henna.
This therapy is specially advised for head and neck diseases such as dental disorders, tonsillitis, diseases of eye, facial paralysis, baldness, graying of hair, etc.
Stiffness in the head, neck, teeth and jaw
Diseases of the eyelid
Diseases of mouth, nose, ear, eye and head
Hoarseness of voice
Toothache and other tooth disorders
Persons suffering from digestive disorders, fever, coryza; immediately after physical exertion; pregnant women and persons who have recently undergone oleation therapy, should not take Nasya therapy.
If medicinal powders are used, these should be used as insufflation. Nasal drops are put in the dose of 2-3 drops in each nostril after making the patient lie down. The medicine, which enters throat, should be spitted out along with cough.
Post Nasya procedure
After Nasya karma, smoking of medicinal cigarettes (Dhuma Pana) is advised. Patient is advised to drink warm water and eat light diet; to remain in a place, which is not very breezy.
Complications of improper Nasya Karma
When nasal therapy is not given properly, it causes heaviness of head, coryza, rhinitis, headache and other diseases of eye, ear and head.
It is given with medicated oils and it is given every day to healthy individuals. It works as nutrient for eyes, ears and nose. Nasal insufflation is given for purification of Doshas, which are accumulated above clavicular region.