After spending a week out in Park City, Utah skiing, I have been left with some major sinus congestion. I don’t know if it was the high altitude or dry weather but I am all stuffed up! Along with my boyfriend and friend, we went through about 20 boxes of tissues, 4 restless nights, and 3 painful, dry noses from our overzealous nose blowing. Suffice to say that sinus congestion is more than just irritant… especially if you value not dripping all over everyone. Gross, I know. Anyways, there is an upside to all this rambling, and it’s called the sacred Neti Pot. Also known as “Nasal Salvation.” So I am going to share with you how to get sinus relief with the neti pot.
The use of the Neti Pot is an age old tradition called Neti kriya from Ayurvedic Medicine. Ayruveda is an ancient healing tradition from India that focuses on wellness through integration of the mind, body and spirit. Neti kriya is a form of nasal irrigation therapy that uses a salt and water solution to flush out the nasal passages. A soothing, gentle stream of salt water, the same concentration as tears, flows through your nose, washing away pollens, mucus, viruses and bacteria. Therefore leaving your sinuses open, clear and pressure-free.
How do you get sinus relief with the neti pot?
The Neti Pot works by passing saline water through the nasal passages and its finely tuned hairs (cilia) as well as the maxillary and ethmoid sinuses. This process clears inhaled foreign objects including dust, fragrances, pollen, air pollution and chemical residue and allows the nasal filters to operate efficiently. As a result, it prevents toxins from becoming trapped in the sinus cavity or ingested into the body, thus preventing infection.
What Conditions does it Benefit?
This is an excellent alternative treatment for the following:
- upper respiratory infections
- sinus headaches
- “wet” or “dry” nose
- for those who have undergone sinus surgery
Is it Effective?
I have been using my Neti Pot for over three years now and I have always found it to offer great relief. I think that it is one of the best ways to clear the sinuses which otherwise is almost impossible to do with any other technique. Nasal irrigation has been around for centuries in Eastern medical practices and luckily now it has even been become a method adopted by Western physicians as well. Here are a few studies:
The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health stated that 87% of family doctors recommend the use of a nasal irrigation as an adjunctive treatment to relieve the symptoms of nasal congestion and sinusitis. Furthermore, a randomized controlled trial in 2002 from U of W found that daily hypertonic saline nasal irrigation improves sinus-related quality of life, decreases symptoms, and decreases medication use in patients with frequent sinusitis.
Does it Have any Holistic Value?
Neti Kriya has been used as one of the six purification techniques undertaken prior to the practice of yoga to help prepare the body. Some yoga teachers consider it valuable in cleansing the energy channels and balancing the right and left hemispheres as the foundation upon which true yogic practice can come to fruition.
How Often Should it be Done?
In order to get sinus relief with the neti pot, I usually use my neti pot everyday when I am dealing with congestion and a few times a week as a preventative measure. If you are constantly dealing with sinus conditions, then you can use it as much as a couple times a day.
How do you Use a Neti Pot?
First off, you MUST use purified water. There has been many reports of bacterial infections from people using tap water in their neti pot due to the high incidence of amoebas in unpurified tap water. Do not be one of these people.
Secondly, I like to use Himalayan Institute salt in my neti pot. It does not contain any harmful anti-caking agents or other toxic additives and is pharmaceutical grade.
Finally, I usually like to add different herbal oils in the water mixture depending on what condition or symptom I am dealing with at the time.
Here are a few suggestions:
Indian Holy Basil: holy basil may potentially alleviate symptoms of colds, flus, sinus problems and allergies.
Ginger: ginger can be used to clear your sinuses, stimulate your senses and promote perceptive activity in your brain.
Scullcap: may reduce sinus swelling and inflammation.
Sandalwood: sandalwood has cooling effects that can help to calm frayed nerves and reduce fever.
[learn_more caption=”Neti Pot Directions”]
1. Mix a 1/4 teaspoon of finely ground sea salt in 8oz of warm filtered water. Add any drops of additional herbs at this time.
2. Lean forward and turn your head to one side over the sink, keeping the forehead at the same height as the chin, or slightly higher. Gently insert the spout in the upper nostril so it forms a comfortable seal.
3. Raise the Neti Pot gradually so the saline solution flows in through your upper nostril and out of the lower nostril. Breathe through your mouth.
4. When the Neti Pot is empty, face the sink and exhale vigorously without pinching the nostrils.
5. Refill the Neti Pot and repeat on the other side. Again, exhale vigorously to clear the nasal passages. [/learn_more]
Check out this video for more detailed instructions:
If you are looking to prevent sinus issues or just keep your passages clear and toxin free give this a try. We take such good care of cleaning our teeth, mouth, ears, and body everyday and completely overlook our nasal passages. Prevention begins by keeping toxins out, and with the nasal passage being the first line of defense against pollution, allergens and chemicals, we cannot ignore it. Fortunately for us this is a super easy cleansing practice, just give it a try!
Get started here with my favorite Neti Pot.