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Treatment for Sinusitis

What Are Sinuses?
When people say, "I'm having a sinus attack," they usually are referring to symptoms of congestion and pain in one or more of four pairs of cavities, or sinuses, known as paranasal sinuses. These cavities, located within the skull or bones of the head surrounding the nose, include
  • Frontal sinuses over the eyes in the brow area
  • Maxillary sinuses inside each cheekbone
  • Ethmoid sinuses just behind the bridge of the nose and between the eyes
  • Sphenoid sinuses behind the ethmoids in the upper region of the nose and behind the eyes
Each sinus has an opening into the nose for the free exchange of air and mucus, and each is joined with the nasal passages by a continuous mucous membrane lining. Therefore, anything that causes a swelling in the nose-an infection, an allergic reaction, or another type of immune reaction-also can affect your sinuses.

Air trapped within a blocked sinus, along with pus or other secretions (liquid material) may cause pressure on the sinus wall. The result is the sometimes-intense pain of a sinus attack. Similarly, when air is prevented from entering a Para nasal sinus by a swollen membrane at the opening, a vacuum can be created that also causes pain.

You’re coughing, your nose is stuffy, and you feel tired and achy. You think that you might be getting a cold. Later, when the medicines you’ve been taking to relieve symptoms of the common cold are not working and you’ve got a terrible headache, you finally drag yourself to the doctor. After listening to your history of symptoms, examining your face and forehead, and perhaps doing a sinus X-ray, the doctor says you have sinusitis.

Sinusitis means your sinuses are infected or inflamed. But this gives little indication of the misery and pain this condition can cause. Health experts usually divide sinusitis cases into
  • Acute cases, which last for 4 weeks or less
  • Sub acute cases, which last 4 to 12 weeks
  • Chronic cases, which last more than 12 weeks and can continue for months or even years
  • Recurrent cases, which involve several acute attacks within a year
The conventional medical system treats sinusitis through antibiotics, antiallergics, decogestants and surgery . But in spite of all this chronic sinusitis is difficult to get cured and relapses occur in many cases. The treatment of sinusitis in Ayurveda is very effective with success rate varying from long lasting to permanent cure.

Ayurvedic view of sinusitis
Ayurveda gives much more importance to nose and the sinuses than just being organ of smell and giving quality to speech and making the head light. Ayurveda calls nasal cavity as ´shirodwar’ that is the entry point to the skull cavity and proper functioning of brain and its various parts. Thus any obstruction in this pathway is aggressively treated. The pathophysiology of nasal disorders including sinusitis is elaborately described and its symptoms and signs are described in the chapters of nasa rog and shiro rog.

The ayurvedic physician takes help of the clinical symptoms and the modern diagnostic tools to diagnose the condition. The a etiology and preponderance of a particular dosha is considered while diagnosing the condition.

Depending upon the diagnosis a treatment regimen is planned which includes internal medicine and a unique therapy called ‘nasyam’ The details of this therapy are given below.

Nasya Karma or Nasyam
It is one of the panchakarmas mentioned in Ayurveda. It is a process by which drug is administered through the nostrils.

If 'Nasyakarma' is done properly and regularly it will keep the person's eye, nose and ear unimpaired. It also prevents the early graying of hair and beard. Nasyakarma will prevent the falling of hair. It will ensure growth of hair and alleviate diseases like cervical spondilitis, headache, facial paralysis, hemiplegia, diseases of nose, frozen shoulder, hemi crania, coryza, sinusitis, mental disorders parkinsonism and skin complaints. Nasyakarma will enhance the activity of sense organs and prevent the diseases of head (urdhwanga). It will prevent the early aging process.

Purvakarma (Pre-purification Measures)
Prior to nasya karma, sneha and sweda should be done to the patients Face, Forehead, Head, Ears and Neck. This prior snehana (oleation) and swedana (sudation or sweating) will help to loosen the adhesive doshas, thereby facilitating the subsequent elimination.

Pradhan karma (Main Procedure of Nasyakarma)
After the Purvakarma the patient is asked to lie down in a bed with his hand and legs kept straight. His head is maintained at a lower position by keeping the pillow below the neck. This position will facilitate the direct passage of the drug. Placing the medicine above hot water gently warms it and then it is made to flow in to one nostril, while the other is kept closed the same process is carried out in the other nostril also. For the administration of the drug a pichu (Cotton swab) or nadi(tube) may be used (dropper can be used).

The sole, shoulder, neck, ear and palm are gently massaged after the administration of the drug. He must pit out all the impurities and medicine that reach his mouth. The spitting is repeatedly carried out turning to both sides while the patient is lying. Swedakarma (sudation) should be repeated after the nasya treatment.

The process of nasya can be repeated twice or thrice if necessary. This process should be repeated for 7 days.

Mechanism of Nasyakarma
The nasya dravya (medicine) acts by reaching 'Sringataka marma'(a main vital point situated on the surface of the brain corresponding to the nerve centers, which consisting of nerve cells and fibers responsible for the function of speech-Broca's Centre, vision, hearing, taste and smell).

From where it spreads into various strotasas (vessels and nerves) and brings out vitiated doshas from the bread.

Sringataka is a composite structure consisting of four siras (arteries) in connection with four sense organs-viz, nose, ear, eye and tongue. The composite structure formed by the union of these four arteries is called sringata. As per the ayurveda school of thought for the evolution of a disease the vitiated doshas should be brought to the site from its original seat. This movement will be made through the srotasas (channels) and if there is any disturbance in the integrity of the srotasas it will result in the development of disease.With regards to the Urdhwangarogas (diseases of head) there should be some disturbance in the normal functions of urdwanga srotasas (arteries, veins, nerves in the head). Sringadaka are the most important group of srotasas in the urdhwanga (head) and drugs acting through these srotasas are certain to bring about srotosuddhi (cleaning) in urdhwanga.

Action of drugs used in Nasyakarma
  • By general blood circulation, after absorption through mucous membrane.
  • Direct pooling into venous sinuses of brain via, inferior ophthalmic veins.
  • Absorption directly into the cerebrospinal fluid.
Many nerve endings which are arranged in the peripheral surface of mucous membrance, olfactory, trigeminal etc will be stimulated by Nasyadravya (the medicine used to give nasya) and impulses are transmitted to the central nervous system. This results in better circulation and nourishment of the organs and the diseases will subside. Most of the drugs described for nasya therapy have got katu (bitter), ushna (hot) and theekshna (sharpness) properties. These drugs produce draveekaranam (liquifaction) and chhedanam (expulsion) of vitiated doshas. The kashaya rasa (astringent taste) drugs produce astringent effect while madhura rasa (sweat) drugs produce cooling and nourishing effect.

In conclusion it may be stated that The nose is the doorway to the brain and it is also the doorway to consciousness. Prana or life energy enters the body through breath taken in through the nose. Nasal administration of medication helps to correct the disorders of prana affecting the higher cerebral, sensory and motor functions.

Indications for Nasyam or Nasyakarma
  • Sinusitis
  • Nasal Allergies
  • Nasal Polyp
  • Neurological dysfunctions
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia
  • Bell's Palsy
  • To improves memory & eye sight
  • Insomnia
  • Elimination of excess Mucus
  • Hyper pigmentation in the face
  • Pre-mature graying of hair
  • To brings clarity to voice
  • Headaches of various origin
  • Hemiplegia
  • Loss of smell and taste
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Migraine
  • Stiffness of the neck
  • To relieve stress and emotional imbalances
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