Neti 101

For many of us, spring in Indiana means sinus trouble. From sneezing to congestion, it can be a miserable time of year. I've found that a twice daily nasal rinse using a neti pot gives me great relief. The limiting factor is my remembering to be diligent and do it preventatively when my sinuses are clear. I've learned the hard way that it's much easier to prevent sinus problems than to solve them. If you are more congested, you can use the neti pot up to 4 times a day until you're back on track.

For those wondering what a neti pot is and how to use it, the Sinucleanse videos explain it better than I could. Yes, it looks weird/horrible, but once you relax and find the right water temperature, you won't feel a thing. The first time I tried it, I was not so relaxed (understatement!), and it didn't go well at all. My mind thought "water in nose = drowning" and panicked. If you have this reaction, stick with it and take deep calming breaths through your mouth. I found that within days, I was able to do it comfortably.

I use the Sinucleanse system which is available at CVS and Walgreens, but you can get a nicer (read: not plastic) neti pot at most yoga centers.

-- Instead of buying pre-made saline packets, you can make your own solution with 1/8 t baking soda and 1/8 t pickling (non-iodized) salt for 1/2 cup water.

-- Try to get the water as close to body temperature as possible. Hot water can cause swelling, and cold may sting. Ideally, you will not feel the water as it passes through your nose and sinuses.

-- Do a yogic drying technique after: 10 breaths with the head upside down, 10 facing the floor, 10 quick breaths with each nostril closed.

-- Don't bend your head too far forward during the process.

-- Check and double check that you added the salt/baking soda to the water. I forgot once and will never make that mistake again. Paaaaaaaain!

-- Don't use the neti too close to bedtime. You want to be upright to allow your sinuses to drain. I find that an hour before bed works well for me.

Happy neti'ing! I hope it helps you as much as it has me.


Craig Miyamoto said...

This sounds like good stuff. More natural than that Neo-Synepherine stuff I once got addicted to.

Virginia said...

Timely post! I've been considering getting a neti-pot. I've had so much trouble with my sinuses this year. Hmmmm.

WYA! said...

I bought a neti pot at Inner Peace Yoga when I was at the meditation workshop. I haven't really seen a big difference but never really had sinus problems anyway. I like it as the start of the meditiation ritual- I do that, do the alternate nostril breathing, and then meditate.

casch said...

I use one when I can remember. It was suggested to me for my sinuses~allergies which will get infected and then travel to my chest in the form of bronchitis or pneumonia. It helps if I can remember to use it PRIOR to allergy problems!