The Neti Pot: Wash Away Seasonal Allergies!

April 1, 2011

Nasal irrigation is an ancient technique that has been used in the yogic and Ayurvedic traditions for generations. In the past few years, the Neti Pot has gained tremendous popularity in our Western world and has even been featured on Oprah, NRP and in the New York Times.   Research has demonstrated that nasal irrigation is a safe and effective way to flush away allergens and sinus mucus. For chronic allergy sufferers, it has been shown to significantly reduce the need for intranasal steroids, and is a safe therapy for pregnant women and children.

How it works:
Our nose and sinuses are lined with a thin layer of mucus, one of our body’s first lines of defense against disease. When we inhale, pollen, dirt and other airborne allergens gain entry to our nasal passages and attach to this mucous lining.   While this protects our lungs, these particles can be irritative and may result in allergy symptoms. There are also small hairs in our nose and sinuses that move back and forth pushing the allergen particles trapped on the mucus membrane backwards into the area where our nasal passage meets the throat. Nasal irrigation keeps the mucus layer moist and clean while encouraging the small hairs to move faster, further clearing the nose and sinuses.

How to irrigate your sinuses:
There are several ways to irrigate your sinuses: Neti pots can now be found not only at health food stores, but regular pharmacies as well; Saline nasal washes can also be found at most drug stores. Environmentally, I recommend using a reusable neti pot or water bottle and making your own saline solution. Neti pots tend to be the most comfortable to use and can be easily cleaned.

To make saline solution, add a rounded ½ teaspoon of non-iodized salt such as kosher salt to your neti pot or water bottle. (If you use a finely ground salt, use a rounded ¼ teaspoon) Add 8 ounces of warm water and mix until the salt is completely dissolved.   If the water is too cold or hot, it may increase congestion and irritate the lining of the nose.  Note: You can also buy pre-made packages of solution to add to the Neti Pot. 

Head position is important to properly wash out the sinuses and not have the saline trickle down the back of your throat. Lean over the sink so you are looking directly into the basin, then rotate your head to one side so that one nostril is directly above the other. Your forehead should remain level with the chin. Gently insert the spout into the upper nostril so that it forms a comfortable seal. Keep your mouth open and raise the handle of the neti pot (or water bottle) so that the solution enters the upper nostril and drains out through the lower. If using a water bottle, gently squeeze the bottle to create a slow flow of saline. If your head is rotated correctly and tilted at the proper angle, you should be able to breathe comfortably through your mouth while the saline flushes the nose and sinuses. If your forehead is higher than the chin, the saline will drain into your mouth, so keep your forehead down to avoid this. When the neti pot is empty, rotate your head down so you are looking into the sink and exhale through both nostrils to clean them of excess mucus and water. When both nostrils are clear, make more saline solution in the neti pot (or water bottle) and repeat the procedure on the other side. After the container is empty, clear the nostrils as before.

Wash the container with soap and water and allow to air dry.

For an instructional video, see the Himalayan Institute

 –Dr. Carly Bridge

Many thanks to Dr. Agatha Constance for generously providing some of the content used in this piece!


3 Responses to “The Neti Pot: Wash Away Seasonal Allergies!”

  1. neti pots Says:

    I read this post and i like it. Nasal problem is really serious problem. Many people suffer from it. The solution which suggest by you in this post is very effective. Thanks for the sharing.

  2. […] Twice daily nasal irrigation with a netipot or saline rinse has been shown to significantly reduce allergy symptoms. To learn more about how to use a netipot, see our previous blog post by clicking here! […]

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