Insufflation (Latin insufflatio "blowing on or into") is the practice of inhaling substances into a body cavity. Insufflation has limited medical use, but is a common route of administration with many respiratory drugs used to treat conditions in the lungs (asthma or emphysema) and paranasal sinus (allergy).
The technique is common for many recreational drugs and is also used for some entheogens. Nasal insufflation is commonly used for many psychoactive drugs because it causes a much faster onset than orally and bioavailability is usually, but not always, higher than orally. This bioavailability occurs due to the quick absorption of molecules into the bloodstream through the soft tissue in the mucous membrane of the sinus cavity. Some drugs have a higher rate of absorption, and are thus more effective in smaller doses, through this route.
The intranasal route (administration through the nose) may allow certain drugs and other molecules to bypass the blood-brain barrier via diffusion or axonal transport along olfactory and trigeminal nerves.
In religious and magical practice, insufflation and exsufflation are ritual acts of blowing, breathing, hissing, or puffing that signify variously expulsion or renunciation of evil or of the devil (the Evil One), or infilling or blessing with good (especially, in religious use, with the Spirit or grace of God).
In historical Christian practice, such blowing appears most prominently in the liturgy, and is connected almost exclusively with baptism and other ceremonies of Christian initiation, achieving its greatest popularity during periods in which such ceremonies were given a prophylactic or exorcistic significance, and were viewed as essential to the defeat of the devil or to the removal of the taint of original sin.
Ritual blowing occurs in the liturgies of catechumenate and baptism from a very early period and survives into the modern Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Maronite, and Coptic rites. Catholic liturgy post-Vatican II (the so-called novus ordo 1969) has largely done away with insufflation, except in a special rite for the consecration of chrism on Maundy Thursday. Protestant liturgies typically abandoned it very early on. The Tridentine Catholic liturgy retained both an insufflation of the baptismal water and (like the present-day Orthodox and Maronite rites) an exsufflation of the candidate for baptism, right up to the 1960s:
[THE INSUFFLATION] He breathes thrice upon the waters in the form of a cross, saying: Do You with Your mouth bless these pure waters: that besides their natural virtue of cleansing the body, they may also be effectual for purifying the soul.
Insufflation (medicine) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia