In Ayurveda, applying nasya oil is a therapeutic practice and may also be included in daily self-care, known as dinacharya. Engaging in daily self-care practices such as self-oil massage, applying nasya oil, tongue scraping, and eye-washing are ways in which we care for our bodies and show ourselves self-love.
The Power of Nasya
Nasya oil can be used in a couple of different ways. There is a day-to-day self-care method for using nasya oil and a deeper, therapeutic application. Before we discuss these two methods, let’s first consider why nasya oil at all!
Ayurveda teaches that the nasal passage is the “door to the brain and consciousness” (1). Furthermore, prana, or life force, is carried on the breath. So when you inhale you are also taking in prana. Therefore, keeping the nasal passages clear is one way in which you can keep the gates of prana open.
Nasya Oil for Daily Care
If you experience dry nasal passages, sinus congestion, headaches, or hoarseness, a bit of daily nasal passage oiling can be a great help! You can purchase special nasya oils from Ayurvedic product suppliers. Many of these oils are are infused with supportive and aromatic herbs.
Or, you can use a bit of pure ghee or ghruta for your daily nasya practice. Remember that our bodies digest ghee quite easily and that ghee builds ojas and nourishes the brain. Therefore, daily nasal massage with a bit of ghee is a great way to support clear breathing, healthy nasal passages, and optimal intake of breath and prana.
A Practice For Better Breathing and Emotional Flow
For nasal massage with ghee, put just a dab of ghee on a clean finger (be sure your fingernails are trimmed!) and massage gently for several seconds using a circular motion (1). Dr. Lad writes that this practice supports clear breathing and may help one’s emotions to flow better (1).
Furthermore, if you don’t love the idea of massaging your nasal passages, you can simply dap a bit of ghee inside your nostrils. Or, use a dropper bottle to apply a drop or two to each nostril. For this method, you will need to slightly warm the bottle of ghee and lie back for a couple of minutes until the ghee is absorbed.
Nasya Oil in Clinical Use
Many Ayurvedic practitioners practice nasya as a body therapy. This is a more involved process compared with a drop or two of oil in the nose. In this case, one typically uses herbal-infused oils and a more generous amount of oil. Facial massage and steaming may also be part of a more involved nasya therapy.
When Nasya Oil Is Not Appropriate
Nasya oil, whether applied in a daily self-care way or as part of a deeper therapy, is useful for many conditions. Indications include headaches, neck and jaw stiffness, dental issues, speech disorders, and depleted sexual energy (2). At the same time, there are contraindications for nasya. Contraindications include pregnancy, menstruation, hunger, and dehydration (2). Also, one should not do nasya after consuming alcohol, or immediately after bathing or eating. In addition, nasya is not for children under 7 or those over 80 years old (2).
There are many benefits to using nasya oil. You can try just a dab of ghee in the nose daily. Or, seek out a practitioner for the full nasya treatment! As with any Ayurvedic practices, if you are unsure as to whether nasya is a good fit for you, consult with a trained Ayurvedic practitioner for guidance.
Lad, V. (1984). Ayurveda: The science of self-healing. Lotus Press.
(2) Lad, V. (n.d.). Nasya. The Ayurvedic Institute. Retrieved from https://www.ayurveda.com/nasya/