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Neti Pot: The Nose Knows Sinus Relief

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A post by HWA Contributor, Susan Ragazzo

Neti Pot with salt on tray You may have heard the buzz about the Neti Pot but are unsure of what it is or how it works. Simply stated, the Neti Pot is a nasal irrigation system. It is a non-medicated solution for post-nasal drip, sinusitis, and allergy sufferers alike. Saline solution is poured into one nostril, flowing through the nasal cavity, and exiting the opposite nostril. Yes, it sounds uncomfortable, but once you get the hang of it, it offers easy, inexpensive relief.

As a singer, if I get a sore throat before a performance, I am willing to try anything to find relief. In the past, I used the old standby remedies of tea with lemon and honey or gargling with salt water; however, these are treatments for after a sore throat hits. Enter -- The Neti Pot. Long before Oprah showcased it, my vocal coach suggested I try it.

At first, it was tough to get past the "gross out" factor, but it quickly became the lesser of two evils when pitted against medicinal alternatives. Using the Neti Pot, I was able to keep my sore throat at bay by breaking up any clogged mucus and keeping my nasal cavity well hydrated. Now I reach for it at the first sign of post-nasal drip. This nose has known relief ever since; and I have sung the praises of a Neti Pot to anyone who will listen.

If you are just curious or endeavoring upon your first attempt using a Neti Pot, here is the info you and your nose need to know for a pleasant experience:

1. Where do I buy a Neti Pot? You can purchase one at most local health food stores, drug stores, or at online retailers like this one on Amazon. There are different styles to choose from as well as starter kits for one-stop shopping.

2. What about water temperature? It is important to use warm water. Be sure the water is not too hot because you could scald yourself or too cold because this is uncomfortable. It might take a few tries before finding the right temperature for yourself. Don't be discouraged, discovering the correct water temperature goes a long way to easing this process. {Note: To avoid bacteria, in place of unfiltered tap water, it is recommended that the water source is boiled tap water that is cooled, or distilled water.}

3. Do I have to add salt to the water and does it have to be Neti Pot salt? Yes. Salt water is very important. According to Dr. Oz, the body's cells prefer salt water, and it aids in creating a more comfortable experience. [I can vouch for the discomfort when using unsalted water -- Don't make this rookie mistake.] You can use any non-iodized salt, kosher salt, or Neti Pot Salt. Mixing your saline solution is as simple as using the proper amount and type of salt as indicated by the directions accompanying your Neti Pot.

4. Are there other ingredients required to make the saline solution? Other than salt, no. There is an additive called Neti Wash Plus that can be purchased as an additive to the saline solution. It is made from herbal extracts, essential oils, and Xylitol, which has anti-bacterial properties. While Neti Wash Plus is not a required component of this process, you may like the additional "cooling, decongestant, and invigorating" benefits it offers.

5. Where does the saline solution travel after I start pouring it into my nostril? Ideally, the saline solution should travel in one nostril and out the other. Do not be concerned if water comes out of your mouth during a rinse. This is normal and can be eliminated with the proper head alignment. 

6. What do I do after rinsing the saline solution through both nostrils? A brochure should be included with your Neti Pot, but you will want to blow your nose to expel excess water. The video in answer #5 also demonstrated body poses to help remove residual water from your nasal cavity. These poses are not a requirement, but are strongly recommended. 

Once you incorporate a Neti Pot into your health regimen, it will become the star of your medicine cabinet. It is now a ritual for me to reach for the Neti Pot when post-nasal drip begins to make an appearance. My nose looks forward to the relief it provides so I can keep on singing. La, la, la, la...

Have you tried a Neti Pot? Share your tips. Was it a good or bad experience? Do you use the Neti Pot Plus? If so, do you feel a difference? How often do you use it?

[The claims made about specific products or procedures on or through this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. The reviews and opinions provided on this show are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. Please consult with a health-care professional before taking or administering any new product to yourself or anyone else.]

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