The yogic practice of nasal irrigation using a neti pot can bring swift relief from stuffy noses and sinus pressure.

When I first heard of it, I was pretty skeptical. I mean, pouring salt water through your nose just sounded weird to me.

And then one day I got the father of all head colds. My head was so stuffy that I couldn’t breathe out of my nose, and my sinuses just ached from the pressure. I was desperate for relief.

I’m a natural guy, and I don’t take over the counter medications at all, but I was ready to that day.

So I went out and bought the neti pot and some sea salt, went home, and dutifully followed the simple instructions that came with it.

  1. Fill it with warm water.
  2. Mix in a small amount (1/4 teaspoon) of salt.
  3. Lean over the sink and and look to the right.
  4. Put the tip of the neti pot in your right nostril.
  5. Tilt the pot so that water pours in, letting it flow freely out of your other nostril.
  6. Switch sides halfway through, so that you are looking to your left and pouring it in your left nostril.
  7. Repeat several times a day.

After using the neti, I also gargled with warm salt water repeatedly, which helps to clear mucus from the throat and eustachian tubes.

I slept so soundly that night. My head didn’t hurt and I could breathe through my nose.

I was still sick in the morning, but using the neti pot again cleared out all of the mucus from during the night. I continued to use it even after getting well (although not several times a day).

Taking a hot shower and putting your face in the water has a similar effect, but a neti pot is a lot quicker… You don’t have to buy a neti pot, either. You can use a small gravy boat or squeeze bottle (peri bottle) instead. If you do use a squeeze bottle, just let gravity do the work – don’t squeeze it.

It takes some getting used to, but I think it’s helpful for almost any nasal or sinus condition. I use mine regularly, especially if I feel a cold coming on.

Now if I can just convince my daughter, who would rather sniff repeatedly until we freak out than go blow her nose, to use it…

Image: Okko Pyykkö at Flickr under Creative Commons License

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