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Sinus Problems and using a Neti Pot

Updated on March 24, 2012

Neti Pot

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The Neti Pot

Many people suffer from sinus issues and have various ways ways to deal with them. I am going to address one treatment that has been around for centuries...... Nasal irrigation. Nasal irrigation can be traced back to ancient India and was an Ayurvedic medicine technique known as Jala Neti or nasal cleansing. I bet you didn't know that! I personally can only trace it back as far as my grandpa who would mix salt and warm water and snort it up his nose when he had a cold. If you are like me and have sinus issues, you may have heard of an item that is still used today called a Neti Pot. It is basically a little pot used to flow water into your sinus cavity and cleanse the passages. The modern incarnation really has not evolved much from it's ancient predecessor other than the material it is constructed from is now commonly plastic instead of ceramic or glass. It looks somewhat like a small teapot with a long spout although I don't recommend you make tea in it! There are several different makers of Neti Pots and they can be found at a wide range of stores or on the internet. They are generally fairly cheap and usually have some type of saline packs included to get you started on your sinus housekeeping. So we know what it is. What do we do with it?

Fancy
Fancy | Source
Cheap
Cheap | Source

How to use a Neti Pot

First boil some water. This is extremely important. You don't want to introduce any more nasty things into your head than are already there! I usually use a teapot to speed up the process.

Let the water cool to a little warmer than room temperature. Always ensure the water has cooled sufficiently! Your nasal passages are very sensitive and you could burn yourself and really, don't you have enough problems with your sinuses already?

Now fill up the Neti pot with the cooled water and add a pre-mixed saline pack. Or just add about one teaspoon of salt. I buy a bag of the small paper restaurant packs at Sam's Club. It is basically the same thing except far cheaper than buying the pre-mixed saline packs. The only difference I have noticed is some of the pre-mixed packs also contain aloe vera and eucalyptus oil. It's your choice cheap or fancy! I can't really say I notice a difference.

And now for the fun part! Pouring water into your head! I'm not going to lie, this is not exactly fun! I would recommend going into the bathroom and closing the door so you don't gross the rest of your family out! Things may shoot out of your head that are not for the weak stomached! You may cough a little as some of the solution may run into your throat. I know I am being a little graphic here, but I don't want you to waste your money on one of these things if you can't use. After you use the Neti Pot a couple of times it's really not that bad. It just takes a little getting used too!

So now lean over the sink! Don't be scared because of the horrible stuff I told you before! Titl your head slightly to the left at about a 45 degree angle and put the tip of the Neti Pot spout in your top nostril. Let gravity do all the work. Tip the pot slightly and the solution should flow into your top nasal passage and out the bottom freely. If it doesn't you may have bigger problems! Let it pour for a couple seconds. Cough, cough sputter sputter! Gently blow your nose. It could be ugly...I warned you! Repeat the process for the other side. Do this until the pot is empty. Your done! Not so bad right? Most things I have read recommend to do this once or twice per day. I personally don't use it that frequently. These are just my basic directions..be sure to follow the actual directions that are usually included with the pot when purchases!

Summary

I can't make any promises here. This is a alternative medicine practice that has been around for centuries. There has been a lot of research done that proves nasal washing is a safe and effective way to clear your passages, relieve congestion, and alleviate sinus pressure and pain. I personally use one and it works for me! It is especially helpful in the winter in preventing your passages from drying out and in the spring cleansing allergens from your passages. I sometimes use it after I mow the lawn to prevent problems later in the evening. If you try it, I hope it works as well for you as it does for me. Give it a shot and hopefully we can all breathe easier!

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      Kat56 5 years ago

      Good article. I remember the first time that I used a Neti pot. It took some getting used to, what with the gagging and all. I stuck with it until I mastered the fine art of the Neti. When I'm congested from a cold or sinus infection, I use it right before going to bed so that I can sleep for a while.

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