The Nasal apparatus
Rhinologists (nose specialists) list about 30 distinct vital functions of the nose, including
- moisturizing and warming incoming air streams
- filtering dust
- modulating air flow
- registering smells
It takes about 150 percent more effort to breathe through the nose than through the mouth, so obviously Mother Nature had a specific purpose in mind when designing this apparatus, otherwise she would not permit such an extravagant expenditure of energy.
There are three big bulges inside the nose, convoluted like sea-shells, which stir and baffle incoming airstreams so that they become 'turbulent' and cover a much greater interior surface area. Called 'turbinates', these bulges also impart warmth and moisture to incoming air so that it does not shock the sensitive lungs with cold or dryness. That is the reason why people from cold northern and dry desert climates have long prominent noses with narrow nostrils: the cold and/or dry air from their environments enters the nose more slowly and must travel a greater distance over the warm, moist turbinates prior to entering the lungs. By contrast, natives of hot, humid climates tend to have short, flat noses with wide nostrils, because the air they breathe is already warm and moist. In cold and or dry climates, adepts should always exhale through the nose in order to replenish the heat and moisture borrowed from the turbinates during inhalation with heat and moisture from the lungs. In hot, humid climates, mouth exhalation is not only permissible, but sometimes preferable, as a method to expel excess heat from the body.
The entire nasal cavity is lined with mucus membranes which trap dust, debris and microbes and eliminate them through the nose along with stale air, or down the throat into the stomach with mucus. When the nose is healthy, this mucus coating is constantly moving and is replenished regularly by fine hairs called 'cilia', which sweep dirty mucus down the throat for digesting and elimination in the stomach. When the mucus coating gets too dry, the characteristic 'crust' of a clogged nose develops, making it impossible for the cilia to sweep mucus away. This condition results in accumulation of toxic debris in the nasal passages, which in turn renders the respiratory system vulnerable to colds and influenza. When the mucus is too fluid, 'post nasal drip' is the result.
The capacity of nasal membranes to absorb chee and resist infection is determined by the quality and quantity of nasal mucus which is largely dependent of diet and excretion.
An unbalanced diet full of mucus forming foods such as starch, sugar and pasteurized dairy products causes the nasal mucus to become thick and heavy. When excretory functions are blocked by constipation, shallow breathing, water retention, antiperspirants, and so forth, mucus must take up the extra burden by excreting toxins that are normally handled elsewhere, resulting in the cathartic discharge of tainted mucus characteristic of head colds, coughs and bronchitis.
Here's another interesting nasal fact: the nose is the only organ in the entire body other than the sexual organs and breasts that contains erectile tissue. All physicians are familiar with the phenomenon known as 'Honeymoon Nose', in which the excessive stimulation of sexual organs experienced by newlyweds causes a sympathetic swelling of the erectile tissue in the nasal passages.
It is erectile tissue that automatically alternates air flow between right and left nostrils by alternately shutting off one side. This natural phenomenon has only recently become known to Western physicians, who call it 'infradian rhythm', but Taoist have been aware of it for millennia.
The alternate blocking of one nostril occurs naturally about every two hours throughout the day, and it is intimately linked to the mechanisms of right-brain/left-brain functions. When air flows in through the right nostril, the body is geared for action. When air flows in through the left side, the body is prepared for physically passive mental functions. In Taoist parlance, the left nostril is identified with Yin, the right with Yang, and each is associated with a major energy channel that runs down the side of the spine. If both nostrils are not clear and properly functioning, breathing becomes unbalanced, assimilation of chee is impaired, and the equilibrium of Yin and Yang energies throughout our bodies is upset.
It is important to be aware of this natural switch-over between left and right nostril because sometimes one side gets stuck, in which case you must take measures to re-open it and re-balance your breathing.
If air flow is permitted to continue exclusively on one side for six or seven hours due to blockage or inflammation of the other nostril, disease of some sort usually sets in, and depression and lethargy are a certainty.
The simplest way to open a blocked nostril is to lie down on the side that is clear and breathe deeply through the nose. This tends to open up the clogged upper passage and close off the one below. Alternative nostril breathing is another good way to clear obstructed nostrils and balance breathing between left and right sides, and so is the 'Bellows' breath. You may also use acupressure to clear the nostril by applying deep thumb pressure to the feng-chir ('Wind Pond') points on the back of the head. These points are located where the base of the skull and the cervical vertebrae meet. Stretch the neck, find the points with your thumbs, then press deeply and rub hard four or five times. Release and repeat several times.
The Neti Nasal Douche
By far the best way to keep your nose cleans and keep the nasal passages clear and unobstructed is to give yourself a regular nasal douche, known in your lore as the 'neti'.
The neti nasal douche is a particularly important form of hygiene for deep breathers, especially in this age of air pollution, smoking and mucus forming diets. The neti loosens and flushes away encrustation's of dried mucus, dissolves and expels dust, grease and other pollutants, and thoroughly washes the sensitive olfactory endings, thus enhancing their capacity to extract and assimilate chee from the air.
Here's how to perform the neti: heat two cups of clean (preferably distilled) water to body temperature and dissolve 1/2 to 1/3 teaspoon of salt in it, more or less 'to taste'. The point is to approximate the temperature and salinity of the nasal passages so that the cleansing solution does not cause osmosis of fluids between itself and the nasal membranes. Pour the warm saline solution into a small teapot or a special 'neti pot'. Squat down on the ground, tilt your head to one side, and insert the spout of the pot into the upturned nostril. Continue tilting your head sideways until the saline solution starts to pour into the upper nostril and drain out through the lower one. Heavily clogged nostrils will not permit such a free flow from side to side, in which case you must block off the lower nostril with your free thumb and gently such the solution in thorough the upper nostril. Keep sucking through the nostril until you feel the warm solution tickle down into your throat, but do not swallow it. Instead, spit it our on the ground as it dribbles down. Be careful not to inhale air while pouring the solution into the nose. After draining about half the solution thorough one nostril, switch sides, tilt your head the other way, and flush out the other side.
When the solution is finished, alternatively block one nostril with a thumb and vigorously blow air out through the other. You'll be astounded by some of the junk that comes out; besides the usual 'snot', you'll sometimes find gritty black particles, wads of dust and lint, blobs of grease, fibrous strings, and other pollutants impacted inside the nasal caverns. After blasting residual water and debris from both nostrils, dry the nasal passages by standing with hands on hops and bending forward, then vigorously raising and lowering the head while exhaling hard through the nose. This whole process sounds much more difficult than it actually is; the major hurdle is mental, not mechanical, and the most essential requirement in performing the neti is to keep calm and keep your mind on what you're doing.
The enormous enhancement of olfactory sensitivity after a thorough nasal douche should suffice to convince anyone of its therapeutic efficacy and its vital importance to breathing and overall health. Scents that passed you by unnoticed before suddenly play aromatic symphonies in your nose, and your sense of taste- half of which involves the nose- improves multifold. Most important, however, is the enormous enhancement of vitality experienced by those who practice breath control with clean nasal passages.
If you practice breath control and perform the neti regularly, you may kiss head colds goodbye. Regardless what Western doctors say about 'germs' being the cause of colds and other respiratory diseases, the root cause is a pathological toxicity of the nasal membranes, which causes them to become inflamed and impacted with a dry crust of toxic mucus that forms an ideal environment for germs.
As these toxins accumulate, they severely damage nasal membranes and render the nasal passages vulnerable to attack by germs. Germs are a symptom, not a cause of head colds. One or two thorough nasal douches each week, performed as part of your regular regimen, will keep your nose clean and make you invulnerable to 'catching' the colds that have become so 'common' in this age of air pollution and denatured diets.
The tissues that assimilate the negative ion energy of chee from air during breathing are located in the lining of the nasal cavities and sinuses, which is why inhalation must always be through the nose in breathing exercises, Though skin and lungs also absorb small amounts of chee, when it comes to detecting and extracting the bionic energy carried in air, 'the nose knows best'. For example, the nose is sensitive enough to catch the scent of a rose all the way across a garden and distinguish its bouquet from a carnation. That's because scent is chee and has bioactive properties when whiffed through the nose's sensitive olfactory terminals.
The bioactive energy of scent and the nose's ability to absorb it for therapeutic benefits are proven by the efficacy of aromatherapy, which has been used for millennia throughout the Orient to cure disease. Medieval Arab physicians noted the potent medicinal properties of scents when they observed that perfumeries and incense makers rarely suffered the ravages of cholera and other plagues which regularly swept through the Middle East.
Aromatherapy uses the essential oils of certain fragrant plants to cure specific ailments by exposing aromas in volatile form to the olfactory nerves in the nose, which are directly linked to the brain and the energy meridians. These essential oils are secreted in plants by special glands in the roots, stems, leaves and flowers. Botanists compare these secretions to the hormones secreted in animals.
The Yellow Emperor's Classic states, 'essence transforms into energy'. In other words, when the essential oils of aromatic plants are permitted to evaporate into the air, they release their energy as fragrance, and this energy is absorbed by the olfactory nerves when a waft of fragrance enters the nose.
Aromatherapy works only with scents derived from natural living sources, such as flowers, seeds and roots. Synthetic scents have 'smell' but no energy, and any sensitive nose can readily tell the difference. In 160, the French medical journal L'Hopital published an article on aromatherapy by Dr. J. Valent, in which he explains this mechanism as follows:
Carried by the bloodstream, the ionized plant aroma impregnates every corner of the body, powerfully revitalized the polarized and discharged cells, replenishes electronic shortages by recharging the bioelectromagnetic batteries, and disperses cellular residue by dissolving the viscous and diseased substances of body fluids. It oxidizes poisonous metabolic waste products, increases energy balance, frees the mechanism of organic oxidation and self-regulation, and reaches the lungs and kidneys, whence it is excreted or exhaled without trace.
That's a fancy way of saying that natural aromas carry a potent, concentrated charge of active bioelectrical energy which enters the body through the lining of the nose and quickly exerts powerful therapeutic effects on all cells and tissues. An obvious example of this is smelling salts; a mere whiff of this powerful aromatic agent instantly revives the faint by jolting the brain with a strong pulse of bioenergy absorbed directly through the nose.
Thus we begin to realize the importance of the nose in correct breathing and energy balance. Now lets take a closer look at the marvelous but much maligned nasal apparatus
How to use essential oils
Aromatherapy is a natural therapy that uses essential oils extracted from the bark, leaves, blossoms and roots of plants, herbs and flowers.
These extracts are "essential" in the sense that they are very concentrated and 100% pure. To produce even the smallest amount of essential oil, a range of different picking and growing conditions apply to each plant species that produces these precious oils which is often reflected in the costs. For example rose and jasmine are the most expensive oils. It takes 6000 kilograms of rose petals to produce just one kilogram of oil, while no less than eight million jasmine blossoms must be picked on the very first day they open yielding a mere kilogram of jasmine absolute oil.
There are four different ways to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy and essential oils:
1. Vaporization- simply fill an oil burner vaporizer with warm water, add 5-10 drops of essential oil, light the burner candle and let the magnificent aroma envelop you.
2. Massage- an aromatherapy massage promotes circulation and can relax or stimulate according to your mood and the oils used.
3. Bathing- bathing is the most invigorating way you can use essential oils, as it helps unblock congested pores and ease muscle tension and fatigue. Bathing with essential oils relaxes tired bodies, quiets the minds and calms the spirit. Add 10 drops of oil to a full bath. To tantalize the sense, combine tow or three oils.
4. Inhalation/direct- this is a particularly effective way to benefit from essential oils and a great way to re-energize the body after a long day. Add 5 drops of oil to a bowl of steaming hot water and inhale the steam. To make the most of the vapor, place a towel over your head so that the aromas are enclosed.
|Headaches||Basil: 1 drop
Peppermint: 2 drops
Roman Chamomile: 1 drop
Lavender: 3 drops
Marjoram: 3 drops
|Roman Chamomile: 2 drop
Peppermint: 4 drops
Rosewood: 8 drops
Lavender: 4 drops
|Rose: 6 drops|
|Insomnia||Marjoram: 3 drops
Neroli: 3 drops
|Chamomile: 3 drops
Lavender: 6 drops
Marjoram: 6 drops
Orange: 6 drops
Ylang Ylang: 3 drops
|Chamomile: 2 drops
Lavender: 4 drops
Cedarwood: 2 drops
|Fatigue||Ylang Ylang: 4 drops
Marjoram: 2 drops
Lavender: 4 drops
|Neroli: 12 drops
Lavender: 8 drops
|Lemon: 8 drops
Geranium: 2 drops
|Depression||Lemon: 1 drop
Lime: 2 drops
Peppermint: 1 drop
Rosemary: 2 drops
Thyme: 1 drop
|Bergamot: 4 drops
Orange: 2 drops
Ylang Ylang: 1 drop
|Hangover||Fennel: 2 drops
Lavender: 1 drop
Sandalwood: 2 drops
Lemon: 4 drops
|Fennel: 5 drops
Lavender: 3 drops
Sandalwood: 5 drops
Lemon: 10 drops
|Fennel: 1 drop
Juniper: 2 drops
Rosemary: 1 drop
|Muscle aches||Orange: 5 drops||Thyme: 6 drops
Lavender: 12 drops
Rosemary: 7 drops
|Thyme: 4 drops
Lemongrass: 2 drops
Rosemary: 4 drops
|Stressed/tense||Rose: 5 drops||Basil: 5 drops
Neroli: 15 drops
|Clary Sage: 1 drop
Marjoram: 1 drop
Lavender: 1 drop
Ylang Ylang: 1 drop
Petitgrain: 1 drop
|High blood pressure||Lavender: 3 drops
Ylang Ylang: 3 drops
|Marjoram: 15 drops
Geranium: 20 drops
Clary Sage: 5 drops
|Lemon: 2 drops
Lavender: 2 drops
Ylang Ylang: 2 drops
|Bronchitis/colds||Thyme: 1 drop
Tea Tree: 1 drop
Lavender: 1 drop
|Lemon: 3 drops
Eucalyptus: 6 drops
Rosemary: 9 drops
|Eucalyptus: 2 drops
Thyme: 2 drops
Lemon: 3 drops
Tea Tree: 2 drops
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