Administration of the medicines through nasal route is known as nasya. As this is the nearest root, the diseases related to head is best treated by this procedure. Shirovirechana, shirovireka and murdhavirechana are the other names of this procedure. Depending upon the composition of the herbs used in the medication as well as variation in the pharmacological action the nasya is classified into different types.
Navana Nasya: The procedure of dropping the medicated oil into the nostrils is known by the name navana nasya.
Avapida Nasya: Herbs are pounded into a paste and then is squeezed to extract the juice which is dropped into the nostrils. This unique procedure of administering the medicines is known as avapida nasya.
Dhmapana Nasya: Here herbs are used in the fine powder form and this herbal powder is blown into the nostrils. This procedure of administering the medicine through the nasal route is known as dhmapana nasya.
Pratimarsha Nasya: Medicated oil when dropped into the nostrils in a small and specific dose is known as pratimarsha nasya.
Phala Nasya: The powdered fruit of certain plants are used in the nasya therapy and is known as phala nasya.
Patra Nasya: The juice extracted from leaves of certain herbs in used in the nasya therapy and is known as patra nasya.
Subjecting the face of abhyanga and svedana followed by administration of medicine into the nostrils is the procedure of nasya karma and the same is elaborated in the following lines:
After evacuation of the bowel and bladder the client is asked to take light diet. Several minutes after the meals the client may be subjected to nasya karma. Abhyantara snehapana is contraindicated prior to the administration of nasya karma. If it essential then small dose of sneha should be given only for three days. After a rest of one day nasya therapy is planned on the fifth day.
Client is placed in the supine position on the abhyanga table. Body is draped up to the neck. Therapist stands at the head end of the table facing the foot end to carry out abhyanga and svedana. Face and neck of the client is anointed with lukewarm oil. And then the face and the anterior neck are massaged by specific maneuvers. Forehead, eye brows, nose, chin and maxillary area is massaged with the linear thumb movements. Cheek and temporal region is massaged with circular movements of the palm in both clockwise and anti – clockwise direction. Anterior of the neck is massaged by moving the flat of the palms from the base of the neck to the mandible.
Following abhyanga in the same supine position of the client the face and neck is treated with svedana procedure. For this purpose a towel is soaked in boiling water, the water is squeezed out, the warm towel is then waved, touched and pressed on the face and anterior neck. As soon as the boiling water is squeezed out of the towel, the towel is too hot, and therefore it is waved holding it just above the face and neck. When it cools down a little the heat is then applied to the face and neck by momentarily touching these areas with the warm towel. By doing so the towel becomes just warm, and now the heat is applied by moderately pressing the towel against face and neck. Thus every part of the face and anterior neck is treated with svedana therapy. When this sudation is complete the client is ready for administering the nasya karma. Alternatively nadi sveda may be carried out for the sudation.
The table is used for the administration of the nasya will have facility the lowering the head portion. In the supine position of the client the head is bent backwards for about 45 degress. If this facility is not there, the client is asked to lie down on the table in supine position with his head hanging from the head end of the table. In this position the head is bent backwards for about 45 degrees. Alternatively a pillow may be placed just beneath the back to elevate the neck and chest, there by bending the head to 45 degrees.
Following the administration of the medicine the therapist should closely observe the client to assess the proper effect of the medication. If the client develops any symptoms indicative if inadequate or excessive effect then it should be treated properly. Following symptoms suggest the therapeutic effect of the nasya karma.
Administration of the nasya therapy in persons; in whom it is contraindicated may lead to several complications. To be more precise, immediately after the intake of food or drink, or else in a day with sky completely covered with thick clouds; subjecting the client to nasya therapy may predispose to diseases like shvasa (breathness), kasa (cough), pinasa (rhinitis) and agnimandya (sluggish digestion). These conditions due to provocation of dosha should be treated by kapha alleviating measures. Further, administration of nasya in emaciated persons, individuals who are just subjected to virechana karma, pregnant females and, subjects exhausted due to heavy physical exercise and persons suffering from excessive thirst; lead to the vitiation of vata dosha. This should be treated by vata dosha. This should be treated by vata alleviating measure as well as brimhana therapy. Snehana and svedana therapy is also indicated in this condition. Progressive cataract is the potential risk due to the erroneous nasya karma in clients suffering from jvara (fever), afflicted with shoka (grief) or intoxicated due to alcoholic beverages. This complication should be treated by ruksha (dry) anjana and putapaka.
The client is asked to spat out any medicine that reaches the throat. Sudation is repeated on the face after the administration of the nasya karma. This is carried out either by a towel soaked in warm water or by the method of nadi sveda. Gentle massage is done on the forehead, palms and soles of the client. He is then allowed to take rest in supine position for several minutes. Client is then allowed to wash his mouth and face with hot water. After the nasya karma the client may be treated with dhumapana, kavalagraha and gandusha.
By the procedure of momentary touch the heat in the pack is reduced considerably, and is moderate; therapist now gently moves the herbal pack over the body part of the client to be subjected to svedana procedure. While doing so therapist should move the herbal packs in linear fashion on the extremities from above downwards and in the trunk once again in linear fashion but from below upwards. In the joints the herbal pack is moved in circular fashion. Also by this procedure the herbal pack further cools down.
By the earlier said maneuvers when the heat in the herbal pack is minimum, therapist should place the pack on above and beneath the body part to be treated. This is placed till the herbal pack looses its temperature completely or the temperature in the pack equalizes with that of the body nn. Sudation is then continued by taking another pack of herbal leaves which is kept in the vessel for heating in the similar manner. In this way sudation is continued for about an hour. This completes the procedure of patrapinda sveda.
The therapist should closely observe the client for the symptoms indicative of proper effect of svedana. If the client develops any symptoms indicative of deficient svedana or excessive svedana it should be treated accordingly.
Client is asked to take rest for few minutes, and the part treated with patrapinda sveda is washed with warm water. For removing the oil, one can use the Bengal gram flour instead of toilet soap.
There is risk of causing burns during the procedure; therefore every care should be taken to prevent overheating. The therapist should confirm the temperature in the sand pack by touching the same to his body at every step.