|Year : 2017 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 14-17
Yogic approach for the management of sinusitis
Department of Human Consciousness and Yogic Sciences, Mangalore University, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
|Date of Web Publication
Dr. K Udayakumara
Department of Human Consciousness and Yogic Sciences, Mangalore University, Mangalagangothri, Mangalore - 574 199, Karnataka
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background: Sinusitis is an inflammatory disorder of the nasal sinuses. Most of the persons who suffer from sinusitis very often do not get substantially relieved by the medical treatment available at present. Holistic approach of yoga has the potentiality to prevent and cure the sinusitis condition. Materials and Methods: The Indian concept of Sinusitis in general and Yogic Concept of Sinusitis in specific has been explained. Present paper describes the yogic concepts which can be adopted for the management of Sinusitis condition. Conclusion: Yoga can increase the resistance against the infection of sinuses and holistic approach of yoga has the potentiality to prevent and cure the sinusitis condition. By adopting the yogic techniques properly, the impurities of the sinuses can be removed and further stagnation can be prevented.
Keywords: Holistic approach, management, sinusitis, yoga
|How to cite this article:
Udayakumara K. Yogic approach for the management of sinusitis. Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol 2017;5:14-7
Yoga has the potentiality to prevent and cure the diseases of both body and mind. One does not know what unknown diseases are in store for him in future. Therefore, the refinement in health should be such that one should feel the slightest change in his body. This is possible by the proper adaptation of yogic principles.
Poor lifestyle, too much of competition, excessive hurry-worry, wrong kind of eating and sleeping habits, mental and social conflicts lead to the health problems. Apart from the functional unity of different parts of the body, yoga believes in the close relationship between the body and the mind. Mental factors effect the functioning of different parts of the body and vice versa. Holistic approach of yoga has the potentiality to heal the diseases completely. Patañjali says “yogāngānusthānadaśuddhiksaye jñānadīptirāvivekakhyāteh” (2nd chapter, 28th sūtra). It emphasizes that by following different parts of the yoga, the impurities of both body and mind can be destroyed. Sinusitis is an inflammatory disorder. Therefore, naturally, there will be impurities in the sinuses. These impurities can be removed by proper yogic techniques. For example, a reference from Hathapradīpikā explains that neti and kapālabhāti are the major kriyās which are beneficial to remove the impure kapha from the sinuses and to maintain healthy sinuses.
| Indian Concept Of Respiratory Diseases
Detailed explanations about the disorders of nose and head and their treatment can be seen in Indian ancient texts such as Astānga Hrdaya and Charaka samhitha.Vāghbhata explains the knowledge of diseases of the nose (Nāsā Roga Vijñānīya) and their treatment (Nāsā Roga Pratisedha) in Astānga Hrdaya Sūtra Sthāna. He further explains the knowledge of the diseases of the head (Śiroroga Vijñānīya) and their treatment (Śiroroga Pratisedha). He says exposure to dew (mist, fog), breeze and dust, too much of speaking, sleeping and keeping awake, keeping the pillow either very low or very high under the head, drinking more quantity of water, indulging more in water sports, suppression of vomiting and tears, etc. are the causes of the diseases of nose. He further explains the symptoms of “nāsā roga” caused by vāta, there appears dryness of the mouth, profuse sneezing, blocking of the nose and pricking pain; pain in the teeth, temples and head, feeling of insects crawling around the eyebrows, weak voice, delayed ripening, discharge of cold and thin fluid from the nose. In that caused by pitta, there is thirst, fever, possibility of eruptions developing inside the nose, giddiness, ulceration of the nasal tip and discharge of fluid which is dry (nonsticky) warm, and coppery or yellow color. In that caused by kapha, there is cough, loss of taste, dyspnea, vomiting, feeling of heaviness of the body, sweet taste in the mouth, itching (in the nose), and discharge of unctuous (sticky) white fluid. Treatment for different types of nasal diseases along with nasal medication (Nasya Vidhi) and inhalation of smoke (Dhūmapāna Vidhi) are explained in Astānga Hrdaya Sūtra Sthāna.
| Yogic Approach
Yoga can be used as a therapeutical science, which can cure the diseases and useful as a preventive therapy since it prevents the manifestation of both physical and mental disorders by increasing the resistance of the body and by maintaining mental health. In case of sinusitis, it is clearly the stagnation of the impurity on the air-filled cavities of the skull. By adopting the yogic techniques properly, these impurities of the sinuses can be removed, and further stagnation can be prevented. The resistance of the body against the causative factors can be improved. Let us discuss the importance of each part of yoga with respect to sinusitis.
Majority of the disorders nowadays are psychosomatic. Sometimes, the mental stress can congest the nasal mucosa, and itself can become the cause for the manifestation of sinusitis. Mental stress or strain reduces the proper blood supply to the sinuses and in turn drainage will not be proper. This increases the accumulation of impurities in sinuses, which increases pressure on the sinuses leading to pain. Most of the psychosomatic problems are because of the improper lifestyle. Improper lifestyle disturbs normal body functions and reduces the body resistance against the allergens; climatic changes, and pollution. Yoga educates us to develop the proper lifestyle.
Lifestyle includes each and every activity that one does including the food that he eats and the sleep. The lifestyle, how we live in society and how we live ourselves effects on our mental and physical state. Therefore, the good lifestyle we adopt, the better our physical and mental health will be. Even getting up very late in the morning affects the functions of respiratory system and whole body and it can imbalance the kapha and can lead to sinusitis condition. If we get up late, we will be less active, and the “Kapha dosa” in the body will increase and we are more prone to “kapha dosa” related problems. Sinusitis is one of such problems. Therefore, it is better to get up early; at least before sunrise so that when we start to do our daily routine works after getting up that should help to melt the kapha which is aggravated in the last part of the night. After getting up in the morning, passing stools are a healthy habit so that we can excrete the major waste materials from the body. To pass the stool in time, one has to take proper food in proper time with proper proportions. This is necessary to maintain healthy digestion of the food that we eat. If the food, which is eaten, is not digested properly, it will increase the waste materials such as “ślesma” inside the body. Similarly, the excess food eaten will be converted into fat and gets deposited in different parts of the body and in turn imbalances the “kapha” dosa in the body. Such aggravated conditions of the “kapha” dosa, can manifest or aggravate sinusitis condition. Therefore, concept of “mitāhāra” can be followed.
In general, a sinusitis patient better not to expose himself to the climatic changes, pollution, allergens such as dust, pollen grains, smoke, chemicals, etc. since they trigger and aggravate the sinusitis condition. Similarly, he should reduce the intake of refrigerated items, curd, junk food, oily, spicy food items and kapha aggravating food items to control the sinusitis. Excess use of air-conditioners may also congest the nasal mucosa and may become the cause for sinusitis. Hence, the use of air conditioners should be reduced in the case of sinusitis. Good nutritious food should be consumed to keep healthy sinuses. Pitta stimulating and kapha reducing herbs such as ginger, pepper, long pepper, and other food items can be consumed to maintain balance of kapha and pitta dosa in the body.
Kriyās are the wonderful techniques of Hathayoga, which help to eliminate the excess fat and phlegm and thereby purifying the body. “medah ślesmādhikah pūrvam satkarmāni samācaret” says the Hathapradīpikā. Kriyas help to reduce the excess kapha in the body in case of sinusitis. Simultaneously, they improve immune system of the body to fight against the allergens and climate changes. Excess production of “ślesma” and impurities inhaled through breathing will be transformed to the air-filled cavities, the sinuses. Excess mucous and impurities cause the inflammation of sinuses, which will lead to the symptoms such as headache, nasal congestion, heaviness of the head, etc., This infected “ślesma” can be removed by the practice of kriyas. Classical texts explain that neti and kapālabhāti are the important kriyās which are beneficial to maintain healthy sinuses. Svātmārāma in Hathapradīpikā says,
“kapālaśodhanīcaiva divyadrstipradāyinī |
jātrurdhvajātarogaugham netirāsu nihanti ca |”(2nd Chapter, 31st śloka)
“kapālabhātirvikhyātā kaphadosaviśosanī||” (2nd Chapter, 36th śloka)
Gheranda Samhita  says that vaso-dhauti kriya and neti kriya help to cure the disorders of phlegm. It also explains the techniques of three types of bhālabhāti kriyā to cure the disorders of phlegm.
The jalaneti kriyā, using saline water, helps to remove the infected ślesma from the nasal sinuses. The ślesma slowly drain from the sinuses due to the process of osmosis. Practice of kapālabhāti after jalaneti kriya, expels the stagnated phlegm and dries up the nasal sinuses by increasing the mucosal temperature. Thus, this practice also increases the resistance of the nasal mucosa against the allergens and microorganisms. Sūtraneti is one of the powerful cleansing techniques of hathayoga which clears the nasal passages and hardens the nasal mucosa to resist against the infective particles. Therefore, sūtraneti effectively works as a preventive and curative practice of yoga against the “kapha” disorders like sinusitis. Dhauti kriya may be practiced in chronic sinusitis conditions. This practice removes excess “kapha” from the digestive tract starting from mouth to stomach. Reduction in “kapha” from the body naturally helps to reduce the sinusitis condition. Similarly, dhauti kriya stimulates the digestive power which in turn helps to relieve the aggravated “kapha” from the body. Other kriyas such as Vahnisāra and nauli also increase the pitta which increases the digestive capacity and indirectly decreases the aggravated kapha from the body.
Āsana, the physical posture, can be attained by the systematic movement of body parts along with the synchronization of the breathing. Patañjali says it has the capability to achieve “dvandvānabhighātah.” According to Hathayoga, āsana being the first limb, which brings mental as well as physical steadiness, health and lightness to the body.Āsana practice increases resistance of the body against the infection.
Physiologically, speaking, āsana practice makes the blood circulation proper throughout the body. This enhances the purification of blood and removal of impurities from different parts of the body. Sinusitis is the case of stagnation of impure mucus inside the sinuses. The practice of āsanas improves micro blood circulation to the area of sinuses which increases the purification process inside the sinuses and enhances the drainage by removing the infected mucus from the sinuses. The combination of suitable āsanas makes the circulation and purification proper in the infected sinuses and nasal passage. Āsanas like simhāsana help to remove the congestion on the nasal mucosa and sinuses. Āsanas such as paścimatānāsana, trikonāsana, parśvakonāsana, bharadvājāsana, ardhamatsyendrāsana increase the “jatharāgni” and thereby helping to melt the excess phlegm in the body. In turn, the infected mucous inside the sinuses also starts to drain away. Viparītakaranī is a wonderful practice which enhances the purification process of the sinuses by improving the circulation quickly and effectively to the sinus areas. At the same time, it kinders the digestion, decreases “kapha” in the body. Halāsana helps to open the congested nasal mucosa and so that the drainage can be improved quickly. Āsanas such as bhujangāsana and dhanurāsana stretch and expand the lungs and other organs of the respiratory system. This helps in relieving the congestion in the nasal mucosa and sinuses. Thus, proper practice of different āsanas helps to maintain proper circulation throughout the respiratory system and helps to maintain healthy sinuses.
Pranāyāma, Bandha, and Mudra
Hathapradīpikā says by regulating the breathing the mental activities can be controlled. Therefore, the psychosomatic effect can be reduced by the proper practice of pranāyāma in case of sinusitis. Sometimes, without any external causes, only the mental conditions such as stress or depression may trigger the sinusitis condition. In such cases to overcome the psychosomatic effect, pranāyāma can play the major role. Pranāyāma also helps to improve the body resistance against the causative factors. Similarly, pranāyāma helps to regulate kapha and pitta in the body. Regular practice of anuloma viloma pranāyāma helps to balance the autonomous nervous system functions and helps to maintain homeostasis within the body.Hatha pradīpikā says Sūryabedhana is an excellent practice among “astakumbhakas” which cleanses the frontal sinuses and overcomes the disorders of vāta and diseases caused by worms.
kapālaśodhanam vātadosaghnam krimidosahrt |
punahpunaridam kāryam sūryabhedanamuttamam||| (2nd Chapter, 52nd śloka)
Practice of Sūryabhedana pranāyāma activates the functioning of sympathetic nervous system  and which increases the digestive power and helps to reduce the Kapha dosa from the body. Ujjayī pranāyāma also helps to overcome the disorders caused by phlegm and increases the gastric fire.Bhastrikā pranāyāma cures the diseases caused by the imbalance of Vāta, Pitta and Kapha and this pranāyāma also increases the gastric heat. “vātapitta ślesmaharam sarīrāgni vivardhanam” says Hathapradīpikā. Regular practice of Śītalī pranāyāma prevents the disorders of phlegm according to Gheranda Samhita.
Jālandhara bandha helps to maintain healthy sinuses by overcoming the problems of imbalanced kapha. Udyāna bandha helps to aggravate jatharāgni and there by helping to reduce aggravated kapha from the body. Pranāyāma can give better results when bandhas properly adopted in practice to facilitate the “kumbhakas,” which can be practiced after mastering āsanas. Viparītakaranī and Mahāmudra are the powerful mudra practices of yoga which can help to maintain healthy sinuses.
Meditation helps to maintain healthy mind. Therefore, whenever there is an influence of mental afflictions in case of sinusitis, meditation works very well. Mental stress reduces the microcirculation by vasoconstriction to the sinuses. Whenever stress is reduced by meditation, the microcirculation will be improved. To maintain continuous one-pointed concentration in meditation, one has to practice āsanas and pranāyāmas, and then only one can get the maximum benefit of meditation. Regular practice of meditation is useful to prevent the sinusitis. Meditation techniques such as Soham meditation and Om meditation can help to reduce the effect of mental causes of sinusitis.
Relaxation techniques are necessary to rejuvenate the respiratory and digestive functions after cleansing and activating the sinuses by other yogic practices. Relaxation practices such as śavāsana or yoganidra relax both the body and mind. “śavāsanam śrāntiharam cittaviśrāntikārakam” says Hathapradīpikā. Therefore, relaxation practice has to be practiced at the end of all other yogic practices to maintain healthy sinuses.
Holistic approach of yoga has the potentiality to prevent and cure the sinusitis condition. By adopting the yogic techniques properly, the impurities of the sinuses can be removed, and further stagnation can be prevented. Yoga can definitely increase the resistance against the infection of sinuses and other diseases of the respiratory system.
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