Nasya or Shirovirechan is a procedure used to assist vamana in dislodging ama and excess kapha from the throat, nose, sinuses and other organs in the region of head and neck. Nasya is the introduction of medicated sustances into the nose. This Process stimulates secretions which help eliminate kapha related toxins from this area. It removes ama and toxins from the nose, larynx, pharynx, mouth, para-nasal sinuses, ears and eyes.
• TYPES OF NASYA :
Traditionally, nasya uses two different classes of substances: medicated oils and medicated powders. According to Charaka, both classes can be utilized for three different purposes.
(i) to promote secretions which dislodge and carry toxins out of the body, called shodhana nasya.
(ii) to create a palliative or soothing effect, called shamana nasya.
(iii) to provide nourishment to the tissues in the region, called bruhan nasya.
Tikshana Shirovirechana is a Shodhana type of hot, pungent, dry and quickly penetrating. They increase secretions which help remove ama from the nose and head. This treatment effectively eliminates headaches, heaviness in the head, nasal congestion and swollen lymph nodes.
Shamana is palliative and nourishing type of nasya, and generally incorporate sweet materials like ghee, sweet herbs or flowers into their formulas. Shamana which means "palliative", helps manage symptoms but does not heal the cause of a condition. For example, when nasal passages are blocked or congested, vacha in a seasame oil base rapidly clears the obstruction and returns the patient to easier breathing. This is particularly useful for people with bronchial asthma. Shamana nasya helps control sneezing and nose bleeds.
Bruhan means "nutritive", is more nourishing than cleansing. It improves sensory functioning and attention deficit disorders, and helps with degenrative brain conditions like Alzheimer's, Epillepsy and mental retardation. The Dosage usually begins with eight drops in each nostril and can increase to fifteen drops. Panchendriya vardhan oil is used for these conditions.
• ADMINISTERING NASYA :
Charaka describes a number of ways to administer nasya. The first, avapidana, or "squeezing," drips juices extracted from fresh herbs into the nasal passages. This cleanses and soothes the paranasal sinus. The astringent juices of common grass, for example, can be used to stop a nose bleed. Ayurveda employs avapidana for insomina, headache and anxiety.
The second method of administering nasya is pradhamana, which translates as "forcefully pushing". It has a strong cleansing action and gives immediate relief from dizziness, fainting, severe headaches and dis-orientation. In this therapy, powdered herbs are blown into the patient's nose through a tube while the patient inhales deeply.
Marsha Nasya and Prati Nasya, or "repeated application", are milder procedures than the previous two ones because they utilize fewer and weaker herbs and are not propelled as deeply into the nasal passages. Marsha Nasya introduces two to four drops of medicated oil into the nostrils every two hours.
In Prati Marsha Nasya, the patient himself applies the medicated oils ferquently during the day. He inserts his little finger into warm oil and gently massages the inside of the nasal passage. In both cases, once the oil has been inserted, the head is tilted back and the patient gently sniffs. This treatment cleans, lubricates and strenghtens the mucous membranes, keeps the nasal passages open, and increases resistance to foreign substances.
• PREPARING FOR NASYA THERAPY :
Proper preparation is crucial to all of Panchkarma's elimination procedures, including Nasya. Before the medicated drops or powders are administered, warm herbalized oil is vigorously massaged into the face, focusing on the sinus area. Fomentation, using a hot water bottle wrapped in a hot, moist cloth or towel, is a then applied to the face and neck to dilate the passageways.
After this localized snehana and swednana, the patient has his head tilted back and reeceives herbalized drops in each nostril or powders forcefully blown in. The patient inhales deeply thorugh the nose to bring the herbalized oil up into the nasal passage. To draw the medications more deeply into the passageways, the patient pinches his nostrils closed on the inhale and releases suddenly. He does this quickly, five to ten times per each strong inhale.
If the patient's nasal passages are inflamed because of excess pitta, he may expereince burning from the nasya treatment. This can be alleviated by placing two drops of ghee in each nostril or by placing a cool towel over the face.
For Kapha disorders, cleansing nasya, using hot penetrating substances in oil, should be applied during kapha dominant periods of the early morning or early evening.
After nasya, the patient head will feel lighter and less congested, her mind clear and her senses more acute. She will feel more comfortable and happy.
• CONTRA - INDICATIONS :
The cases in which nasya is contraindicated are for infants who are dehydrated, or for those who are experiencing severe panic or anger. It should also not be administered immediately after taking bath. Some caution is advised when giving this therapy to pregnant women.