Seriously, if you, your sinuses and nasal passages suffer from hay fever like me and mine, this is a bandwagon you'll kick yourself for not jumping on earlier!
Neti pots are part of an ancient Ayurvedic therapy involving nasal irrigation, whereby a saline solution is used to flush out excess mucus or any debris that's collected in the nasal passages over time. Thousands of years ago, yogis used the therapy to cleanse and purify, but today it is most popular among sinus and allergy sufferers.
Our nasal passages are our first line of defense against common allergens, pollution, and other irritants - so it's obviously pretty important that they're kept in tip-top condition. By rinsing these passages, we're able to not only clear them of any 'baddies', but help to thin excess mucus allowing for easier excretion, reduce any inflammation, congestion and infection, and open the passages back up for easier breathing.
All you need to neti is a neti pot filled with warm water and non-iodised sea salt.
Neti pots look like teapots with elongated spouts - some say they resemble Aladdin's lamp - and can be made of ceramic, plastic, steel or copper.
To make the saline solution, use half a teaspoon per cup (or 250ml) of pure, filtered water. It's important to use non-iodised salt, and to ensure that it is totally dissolved, to avoid any stinging or discomfort.
Standing over the sink or in the shower and breathing through your mouth, hold your head first to the left side, tilting slightly down, and slowly pour half of the solution through your right nostril. The solution will work its way through and out of the left nostril, slowly at first - it may feel like it's taking forever before it starts dripping and then flowing. Once you've half-emptied your pot, gently blow or snort before repeating for the other side.
You may feel a little silly, but there's scientific evidence to back up the brilliancy that is neti. There are several studies that prove using neti pots is as effective in treating sinusitis as corticosteroids - minus the side-effects - and that regular use is effective in treating long-term sinusitis, hay fever, and those regularly exposed to nasal irritants.
The benefits of regular neti pot use include:
- cleared nostrils for improved, deeper breathing
- relief from sinus headache
- relief from the symptoms of allergies, like a blocked or runny nose
- relief from nasal dryness
- a reduced need for medications like decongestants, corticosteroids, and antibiotics
- a heightened sense of smell and taste
- reduced pressure
- prevention of the common cold or other upper respiratory conditions
- reduced snoring
Remember to thoroughly clean and dry your neti pot after each use, and give it a miss if you're seriously congested or have a bad upper respiratory infection already.
References: Chopra.com, Body & Soul.