Spring Meltdown

The Importance of Mucus Management

The coldest months of the year are after Christmas up until the snow starts to melt. This is the Earth season of the year. The cold, stable, hard, dense and heavy qualities of the Earth element are easy to see in the stillness of a cold day: everything is frozen, nothing wants to move. The Water element season begins when the snow starts to melt; this is a time when allergies are experienced and excess mucus is released in the form of 'cold’s' and 'spring fevers.'

During the winter months everyone’s mucus production is on the increase as mucus is the body’s natural protection against the drying effects of the winter months. However, the more Earth & Water elements that are present in your constitution then the more mucus you will produce. It is also the cold and flu season with many people experiencing problems with blocked sinus and the resulting headaches, neck pain, earaches and a dulling in the senses - especially in the senses of taste, smell and hearing. Excess mucus in the head will also lead to dullness in thinking and a sense of heaviness in the emotional body. To prevent this imbalance, and to keep your mucus levels in a healthy balance, it's a valuable exercise to avoid mucus forming foods and to practice a home Nasya procedure on a regular weekly basis during the winter months.  This simple procedure is an effective way of releasing the excess mucus and bringing a lightness back into your mind and body.

Before you contemplate the level of detox you want to achieve, take a realistic look at your present toxin level. If you are new to cleansing or have not been living a particularly pure lifestyle then you need to start gently. If you release too many toxins at once you can feel like you are being poisoned; this is disheartening, destabilising and can set up a negative pattern towards purification. It is a much more effective and positive experience to cleanse at a rate that leaves you feeling fresh and clean rather than sick and unstable.

What's in this article:

Mucus Management Recommendations:

What is Mucus?

Mucus is an important viscous fluid that moistens, lubricates, and protects many of the passages of the digestive and respiratory tracts in the body. Mucus-producing tissue lines the mouth, nose, sinuses, throat, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. Mucus acts as a protective blanket over these surfaces, preventing the tissue underneath from drying out. Mucus also acts as a sort of flypaper, trapping unwanted substances like bacteria and dust before they can get into the body - particularly the sensitive airways. Mucus is more than just sticky goo, it also contains antibodies that help the body recognize invaders like bacteria and viruses.

Mucus is produced by mucous cells, which are clustered into small glands located on the mucous membrane that lines the entire digestive tract. Large numbers of mucous cells occur in the mouth, where mucus is used both to moisten food and to keep the oral membranes moist while they are in direct contact with the air. The stomach also has large numbers of mucous cells. Gastric mucus forms a layer about one millimetre thick that lines the stomach, protecting it from highly acidic gastric juice and preventing the juice from digesting the stomach itself.

Elementally, the Earth & Water elements are responsible for the production of mucus. People with a strong presence of the Earth & Water elements in their body have a tendency to over produce mucus and phlegm and need to be aware of the foods and practices that will bring balance in this area. An over production of mucus can lead to respiratory and digestive problems, headaches, earaches, neck pain and even emotional issues such as depression. Elementally, early spring is the time of year when the Earth & Water elements are at their strongest influence on everyone. During this time following the recommendations given bellow will help to bring these elements (and mucus production) into balance.

Mucus Reducing Foods & Guidelines

The following recommendations will reduce the build-up of excess phlegm & mucus in the body:

  • Avoid yeast, salt, cheese, yoghurt, chocolate, refined sugars and flours as these all increase mucus.
  • Avoid overeating, especially at night.
  • Do not eat when you are not hungry. Do not eat between meals.
  • Do not eat cold foods.
  • Include ginger pickle in your daily diet before each meal.
  • Favour foods that are light, dry, and warm as these reduce mucus.
  • Reduce foods that are heavy, oily, and cold as these increase weight and mucus.
  • Favour foods that are spicy, bitter, and astringent (ginger, asparagus, tea) as these help to dry excess fluids in the body.
  • Reduce foods that are sweet, salty, and sour (cakes, crisps, vinegar) as these increase fluids in the body.

Mucus Reducing Foods

The following food recommendations will reduce the build-up of excess phlegm & mucus in the body:

Sweeteners:

Use a little honey (2 tsp/day) as it helps to reduce mucus. Reduce all other sugar products.

Beans:

All beans are fine, except tofu as it is very cold.

Nuts:

Reduce all nuts as they are too oily.

Fried Foods:

Avoiding fried foods, especially deep fried foods.

Grains:

 Increase barley, corn, buckwheat, quinoa and millet as these are slightly drying or warming. Avoid or do not take too much wheat, soy or oats, as they increase heaviness and mucus..

Spices:

Include all spices except for salt. Salt increases water retention and mucus whereas spices increase warmth in the body.

Vegetables:

Increase asparagus, aubergine, beetroots, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, garlic, ginger, green leaves, kale, onion, potato, pumpkin, radish, sprouts. Reduce okra, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, and summer squash as these increase fluids.

Cold Water Fish:

Rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids omega-3s can reduce mucus production. Sardines, herring, mackerel, salmon, trout and tuna are some good choices.

Meat:

White meat from chicken or turkey is fine. Avoid or reduce red meat and especially pork.

Healthy Eating Habits

Healthy eating habits that aid healthy digestion and reduce the production of excess phlegm & mucus:

  • Eat only when hungry.
  • Take ginger pickle before meals to stimulate your digestion.
  • Treat your digestion like a fire; stoke it with easy to assimilate light meals.
  • Do not drink fluids ½ hour before or after a meal as this will dilute your gastric juices, especially cold water or carbonated beverages. A small cup of hot water or herbal tea sipped during your meal will help to break down your food into a soup like consistency.
  • Eat to less than full capacity. It is recommended to eat until the stomach is 2/3 full with food and to leave 1/3 empty for the digestive process to have some space.
  • Eat fruit, including juice away from other foods; i.e. leave a 2-4 hour gap.
  • Eat in a peaceful, settled environment; not driving, hurrying or standing.
  • Eat warm and cooked food as this is easier to digest. Cold food, raw food, ice, cold water can weaken the digestive process.
  • Leave 4 hours between breakfast and lunch and 6 hours between lunch and supper. Do not eat between meals as this interferes with the digestive process and should be avoided.
  • Eat the last meal of the day early in the evening before 7pm. Late eating can cause constipation and indigestion, it also interferes with quality sleep and the cleansing and repair cycle of the nighttime.

Natural remedies

The following recommendations are natural remedies that will help to reduce and remove excess phlegm & mucus:

  • Pumpkin (vegetable & seeds): Dissolves phlegm and mucus in throat, it also reduces pus and worms.
  • Onion: To reduce phlegm and mucus in throat take raw onion juice. Avoid if you have signs of excess heat, yellow/green mucus, fever or insomnia problems.
  • Turnips: To reduce phlegm and mucus in throat take turnip juice raw with ginger juice. Avoid if bloating and loose bowels.
  • Bamboo Shoots: Bamboo shoots clear yellow phlegm and mucus in throat and chest. Take cooked bamboo with ginger and vinegar. Avoid if you have loose bowels.
  • Pear: To reduce phlegm and mucus in throat, combine juice of pear, ginger and add honey. Pear juice from your local health food shop can also be used.
  • Kumquat: Kumquat dissolves white and clear phlegm and mucus in throat as well as relieving cough. To reduce cough, white/ clear phlegm and mucus in your throat, boil kumquat and ginger and drink tea. If phlegm and mucus in throat is yellow, combine kumquat and turnip juice.
  • Grapefruit: To decrease phlegm and mucus in throat with a cough.
  • Pineapple: Not traditionally used for phlegm and mucus in throat however the enzyme bromelain is known to reduce phlegm and mucus in throat. To reduce phlegm and mucus in throat, sip on pineapple juice throughout the day.
  • Ginger: Reduces coughing, white phlegm and mucus in throat, reduces nausea and vomiting and induces sweating. To reduce white phlegm and mucus in throat take cooked kumquat and ginger juice. Avoid if yellow/ green phlegm, heat and fever in the body.
  • Eat the last meal of the day early in the evening before 7pm. Late eating can cause constipation and indigestion, it also interferes with quality sleep and the cleansing and repair cycle of the nighttime.

Additional Lifestyle Tips

Additional lifestyle tips to reduce phlegm & mucus from your system:

  • Oversleeping: Getting up late in the morning (after 7am) and sleeping during the day will both result in the production of phlegm & mucus leaving you feeling heavy and dull.
  • Exercise: First thing in the morning stimulating your system with a cardio workout will stimulate your system and expel excess phlegm & mucus from your system.
  • Nasya: Follow the home Nasya procedure 2-3 times per week when phlegm or mucus is excessive or once a week as a maintenance procedure in the winter and early spring. Regular daily use of Clear & Soothe nasal drops will help to keep your nasal passages clear, nourished and lubricated.
  • Drinking: Fresh squeezed lemon juice and a few slices of fresh root ginger made into a hot tea will help to remove excess mucus and phlegm.
  • Limit exposure to smoke and pollutants: smoke and pollutants can stimulate your immune system to create phlegm and mucus in throat.
  • Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing: deep breathing activates the immune and lymphatic system to remove toxins, phlegm and mucus from your body. By practicing the yogic complete breath, breathe first into your abdomen, then middle chest and then upper chest, hold the breath for 6 counts and breathe out for the count of 12. Practice 10 deep complete breaths 3 times per day and watch your general wellbeing improve rapidly.
  • Get your teeth checked out: Many chronic sinus infections are caused by dental problems. Get your teeth and sinus cavities checked out by your medical doctor and dentist.
  • Neti pot: With salt water is one of the best ways to clear your sinuses and reduce phlegm and mucus from throat.

Handmade Porcelain Om Neti Pot

Handmade Porcelain Neti Pots

To gently clear mucus from the nasal passages & relieve congestion.
To cleanse nostrils of dust, pollen, and other allergens.
To moisten dry nasal passages.
To clear the airways before practising yogic breathing techniques.

click for more info & to buy here

Home Nasya Treatment

This is a treatment for anyone who experiences congestion as a result of the releasing impurities on the three day program. This is a do-it-yourself version of the Nasya that is very effective at clearing the sinuses. Excessive mucus can build up in the sinuses to cause pressure headaches, sharp pains behind the eyes, impaired breathing, hearing and a diminished sense of taste. Blocked sinuses also result in dullness, heaviness, lack of enthusiasm and even depression.

Mucus is pure Earth and Water, and Earth/Water types are most likely to suffer from it, though an Earth/Water imbalance will produce the same result in the other elemental types. If you have this problem, you must keep as warm as possible and the treatment should take place in a warm draught free bedroom. Always spit the mucus out into tissues - never swallow it. Avoid dairy, nuts (except almonds,) fried and oily foods, cold or raw foods, melons and avocado for a few days before and a week after Nasya. Drinking herbal tea with stimulating flavors especially the Kapha tea will help to expel the mucus, as will a steam-room session before and after the treatment.

As the roots are the channel of life for a tree, the nasal passages are the channel of life for human beings.
Ian Hayward

Nasya: A Sinus Clearing Treatment

Elemental Approaches to Health & Wellbeing

The nose is the doorway to the brain, mind and consciousness. Prana, or life-force energy, enters our bodies through the breath so it is vital that the nasal passages, sinus & mucus cavities are free from blockages, well lubricated and in a healthy condition.

The Nasya treatment aids lubrication and cleansing of the sinus and mucus cavities in the face, head and neck. This treatment is beneficial for all Elemental body types as anyone can be prone to mucus build up, especially in the cold weather. People that have a strong presence of Space/Air and Earth/Water elements are particularly vulnerable, this is mainly due to poor or irregular digestion which for them is the main cause of mucus build up. Fire constitutions will experience mucus build up primarily through poor diet and overeating, especially dairy products such as ice cream and cheese or too much meat in their diet.

How would I know that I need Nasya?

There are many symptoms that indicate a high level of mucus in your system.

The most common are painful pressure in your head (especially if you bend over,) headaches, pain in the face or head when outside in the cold, stuffed or blocked nose, runny nose, popping ears, ear ache, bad breath, tinnitus, neck stiffness or restricted movement, poor sense of smell, taste and hearing, poor appetite, clouded mental abilities, lack of energy, feeling depressed, lethargic and negative.

What are the benefits of a Nasya?

Nasya helps to clear and lubricate the sinus passageways relieving acute and chronic sinus problems such as allergies, mucous congestion, dry nasal passage, and snoring. It is very effective in clearing headaches, migraines, stiff neck, fatigue and insomnia. It reduces anxiety, clears and strengthens the mind, lifts depression and lethargy and it greatly improves digestion. It also brings clarity to the senses of hearing, smell, taste and vision. The most surprising overall effect reported from clients is the vast improvement in the quality of mental clarity, enthusiasm and energy they feel after a series of Nasya treatments.

What is involved in having a Nasya?

The Nasya is a 1 ½ hour procedure which begins with drinking a blend of tea that will help to loosen the mucus by heating your system. Next, a soothing but stimulating, face, head and neck massage, followed by an herbalised steam inhalation that will heat your face, head, neck and upper chest to help loosen and liquefy your mucus. Special nasal drops are then administered to your nose while further particular heating techniques are applied to your face, neck and chest. Specific areas of your face, head & neck are massaged to assist the nasal drops to fully penetrate. The whole sequence of procedures is then repeated; however the procedure may be altered dependant on the individual nature of where the mucus is located in your system.

What are the contra-indications or medical considerations that could prevent me from having a Nasya treatment?

We do not give this procedure if cold sores, eczema or psoriasis are present on the face, head, neck or nasal passages. If you have high blood pressure or are experiencing fever, chills or flu symptoms, this procedure is not recommended. As you will be lying on a table on your back with your head tilted backwards to receive the nasal drops, acute trauma- dislocation - damage / to the neck, face or head may prevent you from having Nasya.

What else do I need to know about receiving Nasya?

Do not plan work or social activities for the rest of the day after receiving Nasya as you will feel very tired and need to rest. Wear a top that leaves access to your neck and shoulders, during the herbalised steam inhalation your top may become slightly damp so it is important to bring a fresh dry top to go home in. A warm hat, coat and scarf are needed to keep your head, neck and ears warm, even in the summer. Details of dietary recommendations for the week following your Nasya will be given to you on the day. We recommend in most cases to have at least three sessions of Nasya to gain the most benefit.

A warm hat, coat and scarf are needed to keep your head, neck and ears warm, even in the summer. While a Shea body butter is provided, you may also wish to bring a favourite face cream to apply after the treatment as your skin may feel dry from exposure to the steam. Details of dietary recommendations for the week following your Nasya will be given to you on the day.

Cost

$130 + GST per session

Article by: Ian Hayward

For further information please contact:
Ian Hayward - Office (780) 249-4428 Cell (780) 239-4427
E-mail: ian@elementallifesolutions.com

Medical Disclaimer

The information contained on this handout is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on this handout is for general information purposes only. Elemental Life Solutions encourages you to confirm any information obtained from or through our workshops, classes, written materials or web site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of any information you have received from any source of information coming from Elemental Life Solutions or any of its employees or representatives.