Using a Neti Pot could be a great addition to your winter health routine! I know, it sounds a bit strange—putting this teapot-looking thing up your nose. It is worth it if you have sinus issues!
Despite owning a Neti Pot for years, I am only a recent graduate of the Nasal Rinsing School of Nosecraft and Sinusry. My doctor recommended it for some ear issues I was having, and after a week or so of daily use, my symptoms were relieved! One other benefit that I have noticed—I typically have nose bleeds and pain during the wintery months —I have not had any issues since I started using the neti pot regularly.
So what is it? Basically, a neti pot pours saline water through your sinuses up one nostril and out the other—rinsing out not just mucus, but any allergens or pathogens that may be hidden in there.
IS IT SAFE?
The main concern with using a Neti Pot is the water. The FDA and companies that sell Neti Pots all recommend using distilled or boiled (for a few minutes and then cooled to room temperature) water. Water out of your tap may be safe to drink, but it could contain bacteria or amoebas that would be killed by your stomach acid; however, if you pour it into your nose, you could risk infection. You should also wash your hands and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your Neti Pot regularly. The only other concerns that I have seen are potentially feeling stinging if you don’t have enough salt in your water
HOW DO YOU DO IT?
It depends on what kind of Neti Pot you have—they all come with instructions. Here are the instructions for the brand I have—Baraka:
1. Fill your neti pot just below lip with distilled or boiled water— cooled to room temperature.
2. Add a heaping 1/2 tsp. of mineral sea salt. Stir until thoroughly dissolved. (Don’t use iodized salt; it can be irritating.)
3. Bend over sink and turn your head to one side.
4. Keeping pot level, place spout into your top nostril until it fits snugly.
5. Breathe through your mouth and slowly tip your head downward allowing warm water to travel up through your sinuses and out the other nostril.
6. You may need to adjust the angle of your head slightly in order to allow the water to flow out the other nostril.
7. Use half the water and repeat on the other side.
8. Blow your nose gently to remove excess water and mucus.
9. Once you’re done, it is helpful to bend over at the waist (with top of your head pointed towards floor) and exhale to release any trapped water.
How often? Well, that depends on your schnozz. Here is what Baraka recommends:
The answer is simple—listen to your own body—but it requires you to experiment a bit. Below are a few suggestions on how to do this:
For maintenance: Some people benefit from rinsing daily as it opens up their sinus passages. Others may find it too drying. See what works best for you.
For colds: Rinsing two to four times a day can be helpful to flush out infection and liquefy mucus. Do this for the duration of your cold.
A few things that can help you kick colds and infections faster:
1. Rinsing with 10 oz. (a full neti pot) on both sides.
2. Double the amount of salt (add 1 tsp.) in your neti pot. This is called a hypertonic rinse.
For allergies: Rinsing at least once a day will help you flush out the pollen. In addition, people get relief from using a hypertonic rinse.
For chronic sinus problems: Listen closely to your body. Everyone is different. Some people benefit from rinsing daily, while others do it once a week.
I’ve been using a Neti Pot in the morning and at night; my toddler likes to watch me. Like I said, I have a Baraka Neti Pot because it is beautiful and makes me want to use it. I have created a little Neti Pot area in my bathroom with my salt in a container, my bottle of distilled water, and my half-teaspoon scoop. I have to make it really easy or I won’t keep it up! I will say it is really satisfying to watch something be visibly dislodged and come out of my nose.