Monday, April 15, 2013

The Benefits of Sesame Oil (Part 3): From My Nose to Your Ears!


If I had to pick one body part to beat up West Side Story-style, it would be my nose. 

Let's see... where do I start? 

As a child, I would be sitting in class, minding my own business, when suddenly my history book would be covered in blood. Seriously, nose? A little warning, maybe? Sometimes, these incidences were so bad that I had to make an impromptu trip to the doctor to get my nose cauterized (if you don't know what that is, consider yourself lucky).

So that's how our relationship began.

Then, after a few years of peace and quiet, my nose decided to bust loose on me again, just actin' a fool - this time in the form of allergies. I was allergic to EVERYTHING - grass, pollen, dogs, cats, rabbits, mold, dust, boys (j/k... that was just the cooties) - you name it, it was on the list. As a result, my mother was forced to buy me hypoallergenic stuffed animals and keep me away from rabbit fur coats, which were all the rave in 3rd grade, by the way. 

Dear Nose,
I don't like you one bit. 
Love, Lauren.

Because constant barrage by my own body is really not my bag, I have been on a lifelong hunt to find a natural solution, and guess what? In keeping with the theme of sesame oil, I may have found just that!

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Nasya, is an Ayurvedic remedy for nasal cleansing. The nose is the gateway to your head, so it's no surprise that systematic Nasya practice would have all sorts of benefits pertaining to your noggin'. You perform Nasya with plain, natural sesame oil (not the type you find in your average Asian grocery). If you have a local health food store, you may even be able to find a medicated oil infused with herbs. As far as the technique goes,  store the sesame oil in a glass jar with a dropper. When you're ready for treatment, warm up the oil in a hot water bath. When the oil is warm (not hot, that would hurt), tilt your head back, insert 2-3 drops per nostril and spend a few minutes inhaling deeply so that the oil can penetrate the sinus cavity. 

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Seeing as how I'm usually pressed for time though, it's also effective (though slightly less so) to dip a Q-tip into the sesame oil and rub it on the inside of each nostril, inhaling as you go. It's as simple as that.

Ok, so now that we've covered the specifics, let's talk about why you would ever consider sniffing sesame oil. Nasya therapy is said to treat congestion, headaches, allergies, fatigue, insomnia, puffy eyes, dark circles, snoring, anxiety and other stress-related problems. Nasya also goes hand-in-hand with a regular yoga practice because it has a strong positive effect on concentration and meditation. But most importantly, proponents of Nasya therapy claim that it's an instant dose of 'happiness'.

Who doesn't want that?

So while I can't claim that one week's worth of Nasya therapy has changed my life, I can offer this information up to you, in hopes that we can change our lives (and sinuses) together. 

Honestly, I'd just be happy if my nose and I could call a truce.

C'mon, sesame oil! Work your magic.

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