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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.
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.
There are six main types of nasya, as listed below.
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)
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)
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)
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.
Indications for Nasya:
Contra-Indications for Nasya:
sinus infections, pregnancy ,menstruation, after sex, bathing, eating or drinking of alcohol, should not be used below 7 years or over 80 years of age.
Panchakarma is a very special Ayurvedic operation requiring proper guidance from a highly trained and skillful Ayurvedic practitioner. This should not be undertaken just from information in this article. One should consult with an Ayurvedic physician, not just someone with a modest amount of training. Panchakarma is done individually for each person with their specific constitution and specific disorder in mind, thus it requires close observation and supervision.
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