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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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Comments

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Tom

I have used this myself for a long time, and it does work great. There are more advanced methods of using it other than the simple one presented here but it does wonders for allergy symptoms.

Luci Weston

@Cara: Thanks for the suggestions. Ready-to-go packets would be great to travel with, too. Okay, you are all convincing me to give this a whirl!

cara

I, too have had so much success doing sinus irrigation. When I was pregnant, it was the only thing that would make my horrible sinus headaches better. I love that it is drug free so I can do it as much as I need! The key really is to make sure the salt is buffered or it will be too harsh. I have been using the nasopure sytem and LOVE it. The salt packets come already buffered and they are actually less expensive than the neilmed because they are bigger!

Luci Weston

@Staci: Thanks for the warning. The pressure is on to give this a try! I agree about trying a natural solution before prescription med's whenever possible.

Susan Ragazzo

@Staci: Thank you Staci and a great suggestion for the equilibrium challenged! :} There are other products on the market that are similar to and as effective as the Neti Pot. I’m glad you have found relief and pursued to find a product and solution that works best for you.

Kudos to your doctor for not immediately reaching for that prescription pad. Here’s hoping he is part of a growing trend!

Staci

I have had allergy problems for about 4 years now. I never had them before getting pregnant, which is so bizarre to me. But, since then, I, too, have tried the Neti Pot. It does seem to help. I have also tried NeilMed, which is a plastic bottle you just place up to one nostril and lean over the sink and rinse. The difference in this one is that you don't have to tilt your head, which I was having a problem with. My balance is off since having kids, too. Ha!!
Anyway, I know people who have had great success with these rinses. For me, I think I need to be more consistant, so I see better results.
@Luci, I recently had a doctor recommend the baking soda mixed with salt for relief of my stuffiness. I was impressed that he didn't try to just give me an Rx to fill and he actually had a natural remedy for me to try. I do have to say, I mixed too much and it burned, bad. So be careful when mixing the two.
Good article, Susan!!

Susan Ragazzo

@Kim: Sounds like you are having great success with the Neti Pot. It is a wonderful preventative tool.

Also, thank you for pointing out that if using table salt for the saline solution, non-iodized salt is recommended.

I never thought to look for alternative saline solution recipes online. I will definitely check that out.

@Kim & @Luci: So, Kim...any suggestions on how we can convince Luci to take the plunge and join the club? :}

Luci Weston

@Kim: Thank you for the tips. Baking soda? Good to know. I am determined to try this for the spring when my allergies kick in. Up to now, I have been a big chicken - just can't quite get myself to use it - but I will.

Obviously, from the article, Susan Ragazzo, is a regular user of the Neti Pot. It must be one of those things that after you master it, you wonder why it took you so long!

Kim

I use the neti pot when I have cold and allergy symptoms. I find it helpful at shortening the duration of the cold, and it keeps sinus infections away. If I don't use the neti pot as a cold is clearing up, I have about 90% chance of sinus infection. It takes a bit of time to work up to your "favorite" ratio of water to salt and the water temperature that is most comfortable for you.

I also mix up my own saline rinse: In a small tupperware container, combine 1/2-cup salt (iodine free) and 1/4-cup baking soda. Mix well. Use a half-teaspoon to a full teaspoon of the mixture in your neti pot. There are lots of other recipes for saline rinse online.

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