Nasya is one among the panchkarma procedures. In nasya karma medicines are administered in the body by the nasal route. In ayurveda definition of nasya karma is given as –
Aushdhi v aushdhisidhasneham nasikabhyam diyte iti nasyam
In nasya karma medications (Medicated Oil/Ghee/ Decoction/ Powder/Smoke etc.) is administered by Nasa (Nose) mainly to remove the vitiated Dosha found in Shira and its constituent parts. As in Ayurveda it is said that that –
‘Nasa hi shirso dwaram ‘
Acharyas have been placed Nasya as one of the Panchkarma procedures, which signify the importance of Nasya as Shodhana Karma (Purification procedure) especially for Urddhva-jatrugata Vikara (diseases which related to the upper clavicle part of the body). In panchakarma procedures doshas or the impurities are removed from the body through its nearest route like to remove impurites from amashya (stamach) vaman is indicated, for detoxification of pakvashyagata dosha (intestines) procedures of virechana and basti are useful like ways for detoxification of doshas collected in shira, nasya karma is used.
Types of Nasya– Based on different type of medications used and procedures used to administration nasya karma is into five types-
- Navan – Snehan and shodhan
- Avpidna- Shodhan and stambhan
- Dhoompan- Smoking using herbs
- Pradhooman- Prayogika, snehika, virechanika
- Pratimarsha- snehaniya and virechanika
Above mentioned types of nasya karma again classified into three types based upon their mode of actions-
Rechana- In this medicines are administered for purifiction
Tarpana – for nourishment
Shaman – for retraining
Medication used in nasya karma-
Medicines used in nasya karma are totally dependent upon the purpose of giving nasya – In vata realted disorders like in headaches, migrain and for nurturing, medicated oil or ghrit are used. In Kapha related disorders, drugs that cause some irritation and releives the blockage of channels are used. Acharaya charak has mentioned shirovirechana gana that contains herbs which clearifies the channels used in detoxification .
Sirovirecanopag mahakashya contains drugs – Jyotishmati, Kshavaka, Maricha, Pippali, Vidanga, Shigru, Sarshapa, Apamarga, Shveta, Mahashveta
Indications of nasya karma–
– Stiffness or pain of head,neck, or jaw
– Headache and Migraine
– Sinus pain and congestion
– Toothache, loose teeth, receding gums
– Hoarseness of voice
– Twitching or drooping eyelids
– Tingling sensations on face
– Obstruction in throat
– Uvulitis, Tonsillitis, Laryngitis, Pharyngitis
– Speech disorders and loss of speech
– Bell’s Palsy (facial paralysis)
– Pituitary or space-occupying tumor
– Any disorders above clavicle area
Contraindications of nasya procedures
– Children (under 7)
– Old age (over 80)
– Just before or after shower/bath
– Indigestion or full stomach
– Hunger or Hypoglycemia
– Thirst or Dehydration
– Physical exercise
– Acute fever
– Just having done virechana procedure or basti
In Ayurveda every panchakarma procedure consists of three main procedure like ways the procedure of Nasya can be classified under three headings-
Poorvakarma includes facial oil massage or application of steam to face, forehead, head, ears and neck. This helps to loosen the adhesive Doshas.
This is the main step of Nasya and includes instillation of luke warm medication in both the nostrils alternately, by keeping his neck straight, with the help of proper instrument like dropper.The sole, shoulder, neck, ear and palm are gently massaged after the administration of the medicine.
In this procedure patients mouth is cleaned by giving luke warm water for gargles and then medicated smoke is given for inhalation.
Mode of action of Nasya karma-
The medicines in nasya karma administered through the nostrils goes into the nervous system (Brain) and venous system (Blood circulation) present in and around the nostrils. Then they clear the obstruction in the nearby area. Thus it relieves the blockage of the channels in that area and the diseases are cured. Medicated oils / juices / powders which are administered through the nostrils stimulate the vital centres of brain to overcome diseases.
When nasya karma is done three types features are seen according to quantity given to patient-
- Samyak Yog Lakshan: When medicines are given in proper quantity.
“Urah Shiro Laghavam Indriyaatacchayam Stroto Vishudhi Bhavet Vishudhe”
There is feeling of lightness in the chest region and head,
All the five Gyanendriya work in a proper manner
All body channels are open and clear in case of Samyak Yog Lakshan.
- Ayog Lakshan: Medicines are given in less quantity then required.
“Galoplepah Shirso Gurutvam Nishtheevanam Cha Api Ath Durvirikte
There is feeling of something covering the throat,
Heaviness in head and
- Atiyog Lakshan: In this , medicines are given in more quantity then required.
“Shiro Akshi Shankh Shravan Arti Todav Atyarth Shudham Timiram Ch Pashyet”
Pricking pain in head, eyes, temporal region, ears
Benefits of Nasya Karma-
Nasya is the procedure that cleanses, purifies and strengthens the nasal passages, allowing you to breathe fully and easily again. Due to its many benefits nasya karma is indicated in all type of upper clavicle disorders ( urdhav jatrugata vikara)
In vata related disorders medicated oil is administered into nostrils to strengthened the nervous systems and in kapha related disorder powder of medicated herbs is administered which does the purification of the srotas .
Nasya is a procedure that has to be performed with very care . The quality and quantity of the medicines that to be used depend upon the patient’s condition. The procedure of nasya karma has to be done by a trained professional . Nasya therapy will cleanse, purify, and strengthen the nasal passages and stimulates centres in nervous systems.
Vaidya Karanvir Singh is the younger Vaidya in Chandigarh Ayurved & Panchakarma Centre. He is the fourth generation in his family who is practicing as a general consultant in Ayurved & Panchakarma treatment at Chandigarh. In his practice, he had treated more than 1000 plus patients worldwide.