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.
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.
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:
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!’