The Ceramic Neti Pot: How to Use, Where to Find
Why Think of Using a Neti Pot?
I first came across a traditional ceramic neti pot on a visit to Indonesia. Within a day of arriving in Jakarta my nose was blocked and my sinuses were swollen and irritated. At the time, forest fires were raging across the country and this coupled with diesel fumes from ancient trucks and taxis made the air heavy with pollutants.
I consulted a local Chinese pharmacist who took the time to show me some acupressure points on the face and massaging these gave some relief (for acupressure points, see the foot of the page). Next, he gave me a nasal decongestant- a local product that was probably based on eucalyptus oil. That cleared my nose pretty well. Finally, he sold me a neti pot and some cleansing solution. I was doubtful about pouring liquid down my nose but I was geniunely suffering and, at a couple of dollars, I decided it was worth a shot.
The best known and most widely used neti pot in the US.
Back at the hotel I struggled for a while before learning to use the pot (most of the clensing solution ended up on the bathroom floor!) but once I got the hang of it was wonderful. My nose was clear and the headache that had been nagging at me all day disappeared.
You Don't Choke Using a Neti Pot
One of the things I most feared was that the fluid would find its way to my throat and I would choke or gag. This doesn't happen. The water is poured into one nostril and flows easily out of the other.
Between the decongestant, the acupressure massage and the neti pot I survived the worst pollution I have ever encountered and had a pretty good trip.
This was twenty years ago and when I told my friends about the neti pot they laughed at me.You put salty water in your nose! C'mon now...
Nowadays of course, Neti pots are widely recognized as being valuable in the treatment of all kinds of conditions that affect breathing but especially allergy and asthma treatment. An evening treatment clears out all the irritants that have lodged in the nose during the day and let you relax.
After an appearance on Oprah not long ago use of the Neti Pot has really taken off.
Traditional ceramic neti pots are still very popular (and my personal favorite) but there are also newer forms of neti like the Jali Neti which is easier to use for beginners and also machines that send pulses of water through the sinuses that many doctors recommend..
There are Long Term Benefits
Surprisingly, even after I left Jakarta, I kept on using my neti pot. The fact is, there are airborne irritants everywhere. Pollen can be as much of a torment as smoke from diesel engines!
Regular use of a neti pot will make you feel better wherever you go if you have a sensitive nose!
Into the Scented Garden Neti Pot
This is an attractive teapot like neti pot in ceramic with a silky smooth, soft green glazed finish. It is lead free and dishwasher safe and attractive enough to sit out on a shelf between uses.
Lightweight but strong. Holds 16 oz of water.
Alternatives to Ceramic...
Stainless steel JalNeti pots come from the Indian, Ayurvedic tradition. They are a little easier to use than a ceramic neti pot. You will certainly spill less on your first few tries.
They are also more durable and will survive being dropped on a tiled floor.
You can also find 'unbreakable' plastic pots but I cannot bring myself to recommend one!
The ones that I have seen have sharp edges where they have been molded badly. Also, I am not sure that can really clean them properly.
Grossan Electric Pump Sinus Irrigation System
I am including this device because it received such high praise when it was launched a few years back as an alternative to a neti pot for sinus cleaning.
It was featured in Time Magazine's 'Best Inventions of the Year' as well as appearing on TV in many places.
- It has been scientifically shown to improve cilia function (cilia are the little hairs in the nose that beat rhythmically and remove dust, pollen etc from the nose).
- It is recommended by serious medical authorities as an alternative to surgery for chronic sinus problems.
All in all, it seems to be a useful machine.
The Neti Pot in Yoga
The Neti Pot is an important part of bodily cleansing in Hatha Yoga. The technique is called Jala Neti.
The strengthening effects on the sense of smell and taste and the relief of tiredness around the eyes are all valued.
It is believed that regular use aids concentration and improves memory.
There is an interesting page here:
Acupressure Points For Sinus Relief
Gentle massage at the above points (especially around the eyes and nose) can offer great relief from sinus congestion.
It is easy to find the points. They are usually along the bone ridges and if you have a sinus problem they will feel sore.
Follow up your massage with nasal irrigation from a neti pot and the relief can be wonderful.
How to Use a Neti Pot
- Prepare the saline solution by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt with 8 ounces of warm, sterile (boiled is best) water.
- Turn your head to one side over a sink.
- Gently insert the spout into the upper nostril.
- Raise the Neti Pot so that the saline solution flows out of the lower nostril
- Repeat on the other side.
Water used in a neti pot should always be sterile. Boiled water is best if have any doubts.
There is a form of meningitis that has infected some users. It is very rare but cases have been reported from around the world, including the US.
In 2011, two people, in Louisiana, using tap water in their neti pots contracted bacterial infections which led to amoebic meningoencephalitis with fatal results.