According to Ayurveda, the delicate skin of the nasal passages and the Eustachian tubes of the ears require lubrication to stay healthy, balanced and protected in the colder months.
Nasya is the practice of lubricating these passages with a special herbalized oil referred to as nasya oil. Nasya Oil comes in to soften and protect the newly cleaned nasal passages. Nasya promotes clarity of perception, intuition and stimulates memory. Nasya enhances cerebral circulation, restoring and balancing prana in the body.Nasya oil is a balancing formula for all doshas and especially good for vata dosha. This therapy is most commonly indicated for dry nasal passages, hoarseness of voice, stiffness in the head, neck and jaw area, headaches and certain eye and ear problems. It relieves mental and emotional stress, anxiety, fear and negativity. The cervical lymph, which houses the majority of the immunity in our ears, nose and throat, also benefits from the lubrication provided by the nasya practice.
Nasya is also a very handy tool for children’s’ health, as a prophylactic against wintertime sneezes and sniffles when used in the ears and nose. Be careful, especially in the case of little ones, to use only a little bit of oil and not harm the delicate passageways of the ears and nose. Dabbing the oil with a cotton swab is a great way to administer nasya for kids.
It’s also listed as one of our Air Travel Survival tools, as the sinus passages are very vulnerable to drying out in the compressed and recycled air of an airplane cabin, often causing headaches and increasing our susceptibility to getting sick on the plane.
Nasya is especially helpful on days that are cold, dry, or windy, or when the air is dusty or full of pollen.
In addition to happy sinuses, nasya has some unexpected benefits like greater clarity of mind and a calmer nervous system.
How to do Nasya at Home
- Begin by comfortably lying down on your back and tilting your head back with your nostrils opening towards the sky. If you are lying on a bed, you may hang your head off the edge of the bed, or place a small pillow beneath your neck for support.
- Place 5-10 drops of nasya oil in each nostril. With skill, you can administer the oil, drop by drop, circling the inside perimeter of the nostril, thoroughly coating the nasal membranes.
- Take a big sniff in, then rest for a few minutes allowing the nasya to penetrate.
Another method of administration of nasya oil is called Marshya nasya or Pratimarshya (if practiced daily). This is a very useful method when lying down is not always convenient.
- Place a drop of nasya oil on the little finger and gently insert it into the nostril.
- Gently massage the inner walls of the nasal passage.
- Alternate left and right nostrils until each nostril has received a total of three applications of oil.
The lubrication and gentle massage helps to alleviate stress and release any tension in the tissues.
‘Can I use the nasya oil immediately following the neti pot wash?’
This is not recommended. Especially if these therapies are new to you, it is wise to wait at least a day after washing with the neti pot, ensuring full drainage of the saline, before administering nasya.
Other contraindications include: pregnancy, menstruation, immediately before or after eating, intoxication, or acute fever.