Nasal issues are very common. Allergies, sinus infections, and many other issues can lead to nasal discomfort. With a neti pot, you can irrigate your nasal cavities and passages, allowing you to rinse out the mucus and debris that otherwise cause discomfort. Even a plugged-up nose during a cold could be improved with this process.
But is the neti pot a good way to achieve these ends? Let’s look at the theory behind the practice.
With a dilute saline solution, you rinse out your nasal cavities using a device called a neti pot. The saline solution runs through and rinses out everything that could be causing irritation; pollen, mucus and debris stuck in the nasal passages and canals. This helps your nose clear and will also reduce irritation quickly.
Neti pots traditionally use gravity; you tip your head to the side to allow the water to pour out of the neti pot, into the nasal passage you’ve placed it in, and swirl around your nasal cavities before pouring out of the other nostril. Usually, people perform this task above a sink, allowing the saline to pour straight into the sink and run down the drain. This allows you to use your neti pot quickly, tidily and easily.
Neti pots can be made of a variety of materials, although they are usually ceramic. Plastic ones and even rubber ones are also available, and the latter frequently incorporate a squeezable bulb to allow you to hasten the water’s progress through your nasal cavities and passageways. Nasal douches work on a similar principle and can be purchased from your local chemist’s for a reasonably small amount of money.
Research has shown that nasal irrigation through the use of neti pots can alleviate symptoms from a range of issues, and daily use may be recommended. However, it is important to remember that the saline used must be sterile as it can otherwise introduce germs into the system which will easily penetrate via the mucous membranes inside the sinuses and nasal cavities. In fact, there is a record of one death where a young man used non-sterile water and was eventually killed through the introduction of amoebae via the water he was using for nasal irrigation; clearly it is very important to bear cleanliness in mind at all times.
Furthermore, due to the introduction of water, which is an unnatural state for the nasal passages and mucous membranes, using a neti pot too frequently can cause irritation in itself. Daily use is recommended by some, but studies have shown that over time, it can cause the passageways and membranes to become irritated as they have not evolved to cope with this practice. Once per week or every few days is a much better idea as you will be able to enjoy the benefits without risking further problems.
The neti pot finds it origins in the Hindu practice of Ayurveda, but has gradually gained popularity throughout the Western world. Nasal irrigation, through the simple expedient of sniffing up water from cupped hands, and blowing it back out through the nostrils, can also be found in Muslim hygienic practices.
All things considered, the neti pot could do amazing things for your quality of life and help you cope with nasal irritation from a variety of sources. Be careful to keep it clean and not to overdo it, and you could truly enjoy your discovery of this practice.