I LOVE my Neti pot. It is first thing I use each morning when I wake up and it is also first thing I pack when I am going on a trip. As a matter of fact, I can’t imagine living without my Neti pot. For me, it is difference between being congested and having a pounding headache or being able to breathe easily and living pain-free. With those two choices, it is easy to see why my Neti pot holds a favored spot in my life.
You may be asking yourself, what is a Neti pot? It looks like a small teapot with a spout and it is often used in yoga in practice of Neti or nasal washing. In yoga, deep breathing is an essential part of practice. It is very difficult to breathe deeply through your nose if nasal passages are dry, inflamed or constricted.
Your nasal passages provide a very important function for maintaining your overall health. The lining of your nose produces mucus which traps dirt, dust, pollen, and other particles and moves it to back of your throat where it begins its journey out of your body. However, sometimes this system contains a glitch and mucus becomes too thick or dry to do its job properly. This creates an optimum environment for bacteria to thrive and cause all sorts of havoc in your body. Your nasal passages can become swollen and inflamed and you can become congested. You might have difficulty breathing, or worse, develop a sinus infection.
Here comes Neti pot to rescue. It helps cleanse nasal passages of dust, allergens, pollen, and other irritants and it moisturizes and can help reduce inflammation of membranes. The end result –your nasal passages are soothed and you are able to breathe more easily.
Here are some questions you might have about using a Neti pot.
Why do I need one? Why can’t I just sniff some water from palm of my hand – won’t I get same result? - For a long time, I resisted using a Neti pot. I used to tell people who suggested that I use one that I was getting a similar result using water in palm of my hand. Then I tried Neti pot and realized how wrong I was. There is absolutely no comparison between using a Neti pot and sniffing water from palm of your hand. When you use a Neti pot, you are actually inserting tip into your nostril and allowing water to clean out nasal passage. You cannot possibly accomplish same thing with your hand.
Are there different types of Neti pots? - Although all of them look like an open teapot with a spout, they usually come in various sizes and are made of different materials. The most common materials are ceramic and plastic. Ceramic, while it might look nice, has a greater chance of breaking and because it is porous, can harbor bacteria. Plastic ones are usually not very attractive, but they clean easily and thoroughly and you can throw them into your luggage when you travel. There are also Neti pots made out of cooper and stainless steel. Do I use plain water to wash out my nose? - No. Plain water is too irritating to your membranes. You make a saline solution of approximately ¼ teaspoon of plain salt (not iodonized) and a pinch of baking soda added to one cup of warm water. Dissolve salt and baking soda thoroughly. Make sure water isn’t too cold or too hot. You can test it with your fingers before using it to make sure it is right temperature. I find warm saline solution extremely soothing to my nasal passages when they are swollen and congested. The warm solution offers almost immediate relief to my poor nose.