The nasal cycle explains why you're stuffed up on one side of your face


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Weird but true. For a while as part of my Audiology duties I had to perform Acoustic Rhinometry on patients pre and post surgery. This was a sort of echolocation device inserted into the patients nostril. As part of the test protocol we had to reassess them at the same time of day and acclimatise them to the room for 20 minutes prior to testing due to the fluctuations of the nasal cycle… The previous method of assessing air flow was to use a cooled metal protractor device under the patients nose and see which side steamed up more. I have no idea which method proved more reliable!


But how come my right nostril always seems to be more “full”? Physiology?

I don’t know what it is about this picture, but I’ve never been more uncomfortable looking at a nose before now.


Unless you’re like me, and you are permanently stuffed up in both nostrils because you’re allergic to life and polyps keep growing in your nose until you have them lasered out (repeatedly).


I’m always stuffed up on the left. Very rarely it happens on the right and then it feels strange.

Kill it now! Kill it with fire!

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First, a general question: the author says, “There are at least two good reasons why nasal cycling happens.” Wouldn’t it be more correct to say, “There are at least two good benefits to nasal cycling”? Because, what he does say, that implies that there are definite evolutionary selection benefits to nasal cycling, and that’s a claim I’m confused by.

Second, people who meditate and use the breath as their meditation object are very clued in to the nasal cycle. I’m pretty certain that my meditation teacher, a Buddhist monk from Thailand, could exercise conscious control of which nostril he was breathing through. I reckon that shouldn’t be possible, but there you go.

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If you’re like me, and suffer from nasal polyps even after two operations, you’d kill for a little nasal cycling.

TMI Maggie, seriously, TMI.

Third time’s a charm.

Breathing in through one nostril and out through the other is a pretty common yoga exercise. I never could do it very well, or keep it up for very long, but I’ve never been a yoga practitioner so I haven’t really focused on getting it right.

A QI clip on the subject that makes some quite unbelievable claims

This is one of those things, like conscious awareness of breathing itself, that I am blissfully unaware of until someone brings it up. Now I’m sniffing and fussing to get my right nostril as free-breathing as my left. Thanks. A lot.

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