Spring is here and so are spring time allergies. I suffered from hay fever for much of my adult life. Fortunately, allergies impact me less and less these days (thanks yoga!). But, whenever I have nasal congestion from allergies, colds, dust, etc… I reach for my neti pot (much to my kids’ dismay).
What do I need to start cleansing with a Neti Pot
Personally, I like a ceramic neti pot since I can clean it with very hot water and it will last for many years. Plastic and rubber pots are widely available and are generally less expensive than a ceramic pot. I try to avoid purchasing plastic when it makes sense. Also I don’t like the idea of putting hot water into plastic then having whatever microscopic plastic that seeps into the water go into my body.
You’ll want to mix some salt into the water. Many pharmacies and even grocery stores will sell little packets of salt and minerals which are meant to be used in a neti pot. My local organic grocery store sells a salt & mineral blend in bulk. You can find whatever works best for you in terms of cost, convenience and ease of use.
So, how to neti:
- Start by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Fill the neti pot with lukewarm distilled or sterilized water (filtered tap water which has been boiled for a few minutes then left to cool is fine. You can also use boiled and cooled water.
- Add one packet of pre-mixed saline solution to the water or add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of non-iodized salt to the water. Stir well to dissolve the salt and baking soda completely.
- Check the temperature of your water. I pour a few drops on my inner wrist, if it feels hot I wait until it feels warm.
- Stand over a sink and tilt your head to one side at about a 45-degree angle.
- Insert the spout of the neti pot into your upper nostril and gently pour the saline solution into your nostril. Raise the neti pot so that the water flows through your nasal passages and out of your lower nostril.
- Breathe through your mouth while pouring the saline solution into your nostril. Keep your mouth open and do not hold your breath.
- Once you have used about half of the saline solution, remove the neti pot from your nostril and blow your nose gently to remove any excess mucus and saline solution.
- Repeat the process on the other side by tilting your head to the other side and inserting the spout into the opposite nostril.
- After using the neti pot, clean it thoroughly with soap and water, and let it dry completely before storing it.
Using a neti pot once a day is fine and in line with traditional yoga shatkarma cleansing practices. If you are experiencing significant congestion, you can neti a few times a day. Pay close attention to how you feel when you neti and if you feel irritation, soreness, pain, etc… stop.
It’s important to note that using a neti pot should not be painful or uncomfortable. If you experience any discomfort or pain, stop using the neti pot and consult a healthcare professional. Also, be sure to use only distilled or sterilized water in the neti pot to avoid the risk of infection.