Neti Pot: Home Remedy for Sinus Relief

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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.

Sure, I had already tried a humidifier. But 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

22 thoughts on “Neti Pot: Home Remedy for Sinus Relief”

  1. I love that you wrote about this! The Neti pot is AWESOME. I have many friends that have received many more health benefits from it other than clearing a stuffy cold nose.

    The key is to use the right kind of salt though so double check with your local health store. I have used sea salt for years but now I am told a little iodized salt is better. I usually make a point of avoiding the iodized so have you heard of this?

    Monicas last blog post..HGM On A More Personal Note

  2. Hmm I’ve never heard of this before, but I HATE being stuffed up so it’s definitely something I may look into since you and your readers seem to have had some success with it. I rarely find any successful remedies for clearing out mucus and keeping it out for longer than maybe 5 minutes, so I’ll definitely have to give this a try.

    Mike Wiltons last blog post..I Just Became A Statistic In A Social Experiment

  3. My husband and son use the Neti pot on a regular basis. I was skeptical too until I saw the affect it had. It works amazingly well. We also got my SIL hooked on using it to. Glad to hear that others are using it too.

    Lenas last blog post..Act2 Tote Bag Review

  4. i want to try it so bad but can’t bring myself to pour salt water in my nose. it makes me cringe thinking about it. i think of the ocean when the wave tumbles you and you get all that water up your nose and it stings and your miserable for the next 1/2 hr. is it like that? does the water go all the way into your head? sorry for the silly questions. my family is going on week 3 of that sinus cold and i my dd and i can’t breathe cuz we are so stuffed and the pressure is painful. this is probably what we need but i can’t get that ocean out of my head. somebody give me some more detail please? thansk!

  5. I use a squeeze bottle, and it’s wonderful! I’ve never been able to swallow pills, so taking any sort of medication is pure torture for me. With nasal irrigation I’ve fought back symptoms that have been at least very close to a sinus infection. Hard to say without a doctor’s appointment, of course, but at the very least the congestion and pain were quite severe.

    The salt content is lower than what you get in the ocean, I think, and if you have lukewarm water it will be pretty comfortable going in. Cold water is uncomfortable to use.

    Stephanie – Green SAHMs last blog post..Green Gift Wrap Ideas

  6. It really doesn’t sting. If it does, you might try using less salt.

    I always get “sea salt” with the minerals still in it, from my local co-op. I haven’t ever tried it with table salt or iodized salt.

  7. I saw this post yeasterday (12/16) and went right out and bought one. I’m pregnant, so anything natural is extra important to me right now. I used it twice last night and once so far today, and I LOVE IT!!!!! It takes like two minutes, and I can breath again! Thank you so much for blogging and introducing this to me, as I had never heard of it before!

  8. I have used many different Neti Pots. The larger neti pots like the Rhino Horn or Ancient Secrets nasal cleansing pot hold more water than the sinucleanse and himalayan pots, and this provides more pressure to flush things out. having used many different types of salt, have found the best to be the mixture of salt and baking soda. I prefer to use the premixed saline packets rather than make it myself.

  9. Nasal irrigation is a good way to relief the symptoms of sinus infection but it will not treat the cause. The truth is that there is no rapid and sure cure for sinusitis. Antibiotics help for a while but the infection usually comes back. Advances in surgery allow a minimal intrusive procedure that clears infection from the sinuses and keeps it away for a longer while but also not permanently. In conclusion, the best cure is prevention.

  10. Great post! I love my neti and recommend nasal irrigation all the time! No, it’s not exactly killer party conversation but good habits w/ the sinuses can go a long way toward good health.

    I am a huge believer in natural cures, and in not jumping to meds or surgery too quickly. However I must say that if things get to the “chronic” stage don’t mess around. See your doctor and then if you get a ct scan make sure you know all your options (it used to be that sinus surgery was the only option. but now there are less invasive choices like balloon sinuplasty).

    That’s my two cents. Take care everybody and keep those nasal passages clean!

    –Erin G

  11. Let me tell you my opinion on the water and salt treatment: medical research has proven that saline solutions will help you in the short-term, but in the long run, such a treatment will destroy your natural defense and by that you become more prone to having problems with your sinus.
    Sinus infection remedies

  12. Let me tell you my opinion on the water and salt treatment: medical research has proven that saline solutions will help you in the short-term, but in the long run, such a treatment will destroy your natural defense and by that you become more prone to having problems with your sinus.
    Sinus infection remedies

  13. Excellently written article, if only all bloggers offered the same content as you, the internet would be a much better place. Please keep it up! Cheers.

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