The human nose is positioned in the middle of the face and is shaped like a pyramid. It is structured to receive air, to warm and filter it prior to entering the lungs and to give us the sense of smell.
Anatomically, a nose is a protuberance in vertebrates that houses the nostrils or nares, which admit and expel air for respiration in conjunction with the mouth. Roughly, the nose can be divided into two parts as follows:
Upper Nose: The upper part of the human nose is largely made up of bone. The very top of the nose (closest to the eye sockets) consists of the two nasal bones, which meet the main bone of the forehead, called the frontal bone. The nasal bones are connected to form the bridge of the nose. To the outer sides of the nasal bones lies the maxilla which extends upward from the cheekbones. The bottom ends of the nasal bones met with septal and lateral nasal cartilage.
Lower Nose: The lower part of the human nose is made up of cartilage and fibro- fatty tissue. Once the nasal bones end, the bridge of the nose continues with septal cartilage dividing the wall. The plates on either side of the septal cartilage are called lateral nasal cartilage. Further down, you’ll find the major alar cartilage which runs from the tip to either side of the nose almost to the cheeks and forms the shape of the nostrils.
The openings to the nose, called nostrils, lead to the vestibule (part of the nasal cavity lined with skin carrying nasal hair). The cartilage separating the nostrils is called the septal cartilage. Further, the nasal cavity becomes lined with mucous membrane which is more delicate. Sinuses are sacs behind and within the facial bones that are normally filled with air and are called ‘paranasal’ due to their proximity to the nasal cavities. Tiny tunnel-like orifices connect the sinuses to the nasal cavity.
- Breathing: The nasal passages allow air to flow in and out during normal breathing. As a person inhales, the nose warms and humidifies the air before it gets to the lungs. The warm blood flowing through the nose helps warm the air. Cleansing: The nose has many small hairs inside the nostrils. These hairs serve to filter the air and remove dirt and particles before they enter the lungs. Sneezing and nose blowing help remove the particles out of the body.
- Smell: Smell is one of the most important functions of the nose. The olfactory nerves are pairs of cranial nerves that connect the nose to the brain and assist in perceives and interpreting smells. Conditions, such as a cold will decrease the sense of smell. Some people suffer from a condition called ‘anosmia’, which is the inability to smell. Taste: Although taste is a completely separate sense than smell, the nose plays a role in the way the tongue perceives taste. The aroma of the food plays a role in taste.
- Voice: The air resonating in nose assists in giving the voice its particular sound. This is why individuals suffering with a stuffed nose sound differently than normal. The shape of the septum also plays a role in the sound of the voice.
There are certain problems that are more commonly seen with the nose. Sinuses – These tunnels can become blocked rather easily, when the individual suffers from a cold or from an allergy attack. Blockages can develop into sinusitis, an inflammation of the paranasal sinus passages when mucus is unable to drain in the normal manner. Symptoms can include headache and a thick, greenish discharge from the nose.
Allergies – An allergic reaction occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly identifies a substance in the environment as being a threat to the body. Problems such as sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, watery and itchy eyes and sinus infections are experienced.
Nosebleeds – Nosebleeds are common due to the blood-rich lining of the nose being easily ruptured. These blood vessels are just under a thin layer of skin and are easily ruptured.
Breathing Problems – Most cases that involve breathing problems through the nose are associated with allergies, sinus or the deviated septum.
Deviated septum – In about 80% of people, one side of septum is smaller than the other, which is a deviation. When severely deviated, problems of nosebleeds, frequent sinus infections and breathing difficulty can be experienced.
There are many causes for these ruptures that result in a nosebleed; dry air, sinusitis, allergies, colds, foreign objects in the nose, picking the nose and irritants among others.
Cleansing the nose with lukewarm salt water is a yogic technique called ‘neti’. The entire nose area is relaxed and cleaned from inside: Mucus, dust and dirt, even pollen and allergy provoking particles are gently rinsed out.
Ingredients and Tools
- Sea Salt
- Warm Water
- Neti Pot
- First fill the netipot with warm water of a temperature suitable for pouring in the nose. Mix in salt to the proportion of one teaspoon for half a litre of water. Sea salt is best if available. Mix the salt thoroughly. This is called an isotonic solution – the same as human blood.
- Place the nose cone/spout into the right nostril, sealing it inside the nostril with a few twists and slight pressure. Try to point the spout straight up in line with the nasal passage so as not to block off the tip of the nozzle on the inside of the nose. Open your mouth and breathe gently through the mouth. Try not to sniff, swallow, laugh, talk or have any movement of air through the nose whilst the water is flowing through.
- Now, slowly, bend forward from the waist so that the tip of the nose is the lowest point of the head; and then tilt/roll the head to the right, so that the left nostril is now the lowest point of the nose. Tilt slowly so that water doesn’t run out the top of the pot onto your face. Keep the nose cone fully sealed into the right nostril so that it doesn’t leak. Keep on mouth breathing whiles the water comes through. Just wait a few seconds and the water should run out the left nostril. Keep breathing slowly and gently through the mouth. After the water begins to run, wait about 30 seconds or for about half a pot to flow right to left and then remove the pot and stand up.
- Blow out gently through both nostrils to clear water and change the sides.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 as above but with the nose cone entering the left nostril and the flow of water going left to right. After the pot runs dry, stand up, blow out gently through both nostrils and then prepare to dry out the nose.
- If after doing the above steps, there is still a mucus blockage, the whole process may be repeated several times until it clears.
- Instead of water-salt, colloidal silver water can be used for the netifor better results.
Note: A neti pot is nothing but a common kettle shaped pot with a long spout that can be inserted into the nose. However, it is not essential to buy that pot – any ordinary open bowl can be used to prepare the salt solution. Instead of the spout of the neti pot, use a big dropper with rounded which will fit snugly in the nasal cavity.
If the water runs out slowly, or if it doesn’t come out through the other nostril, do not get alarmed. Check if you are doing the following:
- Perhaps you are pressing the spout/nose cone too hard into your nostril, preventing the flow of water.
- If the spout/nose cone is not fitted tightly into the nostril, the water may be running out of the same side.
- If you have a cold or a blocked nose, the water does not always flow through immediately. In this case, keep the spout cone in your nose for a few minutes to allow the salt water to loosen the congestion. Then blow your nose carefully, one nostril at a time and change sides repeatedly until the water begins to flow. It will come drop by drop, then in a steady stream.
- If water flows down into the mouth, this may be due to a blocked nose and therefore requires altering the pressure of the water.
- If a lot of water runs down into the mouth, adjust the body position by bending further.
Drying the Nose
Drying the nose properly is a very important part of the practice of Neti. People with high blood pressure should be careful of this part. If dizziness results when draining the nose, drying should only be done standing upright.
First bend forwards from the waist and hang the head upside down with the nose pointing towards the floor, letting any residual water drain from the nose. Then point the nose towards the knees. In each position, gently breathe in the mouth and out the nose about 10 times. A few droplets of water may run down.
Then stand up to do some rapid breathing through the nostrils. First, do 10 breaths through both nostrils together, sniffing in and out moderately with a bit more emphasis on the exhalation. Then close off the right nostril with one finger and do 10 rapid sniffing breaths through the left nostril only. Then closing the left nostril do 10 sniffing breaths through the right nostril only. Finally, do 10 breaths again through both nostrils together. This should clear and dry the nose. If it feels as if there is still some water in there, repeat the whole drying process again.
It is not only the mucus membranes in the nose that are stimulated by the use of neti but also the rest of the air passage all the way down to the lungs, which is especially beneficial to smokers. Nose cleansing activates all the mucus membranes in the body including that of stomach and in the eyes. The movement of the cilia hairs can be paralysed by virus and allergy provoking substances and also when it dries out, the mucus becomes tough and crusty and loses its function. Cleansing with salt water keeps the mucus moist, the cilia hairs are stimulated and encrustations, dust as well as allergy provoking substances are removed.
If one has problems with dry mucus membranes, which is often the case with dry air in offices and other places, one may add a drop of almond oil to the water (or any other plant oil).
Regular use of neti can also prevent colds, as it changes the PH-value towards alkaline. When the mucus membrane is too acidic, that is to say when the PH-value is too low, the virus can survive and become attached to the mucus membrane and thus may cause an infection.
Many people can even experience sinusitis-like symptoms when the orifices close for other reasons such as stress reactions or overwork. Hence, netican consistently relieve psychosomatic ailments such as asthma.
Netican also help with many ailments or illnesses, e.g. cold, allergy etc.,The relaxing effect can relieve or cure different forms of headaches like migraine, chronic sinusitis and physical tiredness etc. People with allergies benefit when they rinse their nose during the pollen season.
The effects of neti are very comprehensive and can be employed for many purposes. It is up to each individual to use it according to the benefit he wishes to get as a daily routine together with brushing the teeth, as a ‘medicine’ when one has use for it, as help when one wants to stop smoking, together with the breathing exercises of yoga or simply just when one just feels like being refreshed.
Regular nose cleansing can help you lead a healthy, productive life. ‘Health is in the air, you only need to breathe it in!’