- Sammy-Jo Scarbrough
Wash that virus right out of your nose!
The first line of defence for our immune system are the tiny hairs inside the nasal passages called “cilia” which should trap larger particles entering the nose. These cilia are usually cleansed by the act of normal breathing and by blowing the nose, but sometimes, due to a gradual build-up of dirt, they can become clogged and may require washing out.
One of the most beneficial daily practices is Jala Neti, a cleansing technique (or kriya) that helps to clear the nasal passages of any blockages such as any dirt or bacteria filled mucus that gets trapped inside the nose, this is our first line of defense against external pathogens such a nasty virus. This alone is one good reason to comit to daily nasal cleansing. This simple practice of filling a small ( Neti ) pot with warm salty water and inserting a spout into one nostril, the head is tilted, and the warm salty water flows through one side of the nasal cavity to the other and out the other nostril. May sound gross but just one try and you will be hooked.
If there is no mucous hanging around the nose we can breathe easily through the nose which has enormous benefits for those with asthma or bronchitis. Cleansing the nasal mucosa also aids disorders of the neighbouring ear such as middle ear infections, glue ear, tinnitus.
The whole of the nasal passages from nose tip to throat (and beyond) are covered with a layer of mucus. This mucus is secreted from within the mucous lining, and its function is to trap smaller foreign particles and bacteria. The dirty mucus is normally blown out, snorted and coughed out or swallowed. The sinus passages are an even finer mechanism of filtering which, if infected, secrete runny mucus to evict the germs. Ailments, such as colds, sinusitis etc. are alleviated by the direct cleaning, antiseptic and purifying effect of the salt water.
So are you intrigued? Are you ready to try this practice? Are you ready to add it to your daily routine to improve and maintain your health and wellbeing? Why not invest in yourself the benefits speak for themselves as you can see below.
Why is this so healthy? For good health it is essential to breathe through the nose at all times. Neti ensures that the nostrils are kept clean and in good condition, which helps to ensure the best possible health. The two main nerves in the nose are the olfactory (smell) and the fifth cranial (facial sense perception). These are stimulated by the passage of water during neti and send nerve impulses direct to the brain. This leads to the stimulation of other nerve connections in the brain. Eventually motor and autonomic nerve fibres are fired at the end of the nerve pathways and different parts of the brain are stimulated. The lining of the nose, the mucus membrane, is very sensitive. It contains tiny glands which secrete a sticky mucus to trap and remove dust and dirt from the inhaled breath. These glands moisten the air to the correct degree of humidity before it enters the lungs. Within the nose there are small, fine hairs which further filter and clean the air.
When doing neti the impulses inside the brain are felt immediately and sometimes feelings of light-headedness which cause a sensation of high. The olfactory nerve passes into the area of the brain. It is connected with the autonomic nervous system. Stimulation of this nerve during neti helps to balance the autonomic nervous system. The fifth cranial nerve, on the other hand, passes through the thalamus into the higher brain centres, which are concerned with receiving and interpreting sensory information from the very sensitive areas of the face. As a result of stimulation during neti, the motor cortex sends messages to the muscles of the face and eyes. Neti brings about a physical stimulation of the whole brain, which can help bring relief in cases of facial paralysis and other nervous diseases. Soothing the brain helps to soothe and relax the rest of the body. Neti helps to remove blocks in the flow of nervous impulses and brings good health.
Other Benefits of Jala Neti are: Helps to drain the sinus cavities which help the body’s natural mechanisms against nasal infections such as hay fever, allergies, sinusitis and other upper respiratory complaints like sore throats and coughs, post nasal drip, inflammation of tonsils and adenoids. Has a cooling and soothing effect on the brain, by drawing out excessive heat - this is beneficial for headaches, migraine, epilepsy, temper tantrums, hysteria, depression and general mental tension.
Helps problems associated with the eyes. It helps flush the tear ducts, encouraging clearer vision and gives a sparkle to the eyes. Helps certain types of ear disorders such as middle ear infections, glue ear, tinnitus. Improves sensitivity of the olfactory nerves, helping to restore lost sense of smell, and the relationship with taste and the digestive processes. Its effects on the pineal and pituitary glands which control the hormonal system, which have a harmonising effect on emotional behaviour. nourishes the pranic body, the physical body and the mind Affects the psychic centre known as Ajna (Crown) Chakra which helps in awakening higher states of meditation. Helps to stimulate better powers of visualisation and concentration and gives a feeling of lightness and clarity to the mind. Is useful for those trying to give up smoking, as It reduces the tendency for mouth breathing and re-sensitises the nose to the pollution of ingesting smoke, this reprograms the brain of the physical and psychological addiction.