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Ready, Steady, Neti!

Have you ever heard of nasal washing? Rooted in traditional medicine, Yogi masters used this Ayurvedic technique to literally cleanse the nasal passageways. In fact, "neti", as in neti pot, is translated from Sanskrit as “nasal cleansing.”

In modern times, nasal washing has been recognized for improving the symptoms associated with allergies, sinusitis, dry air, nasal congestion, sinus infections, post-nasal drip, and even pregnancy related rhinitis.

Although it looks slightly intimidating, the technique is really quite simple and easy to do. You can even "selfie" while doing it once you get really good!

Getting started:
The first rule of neti pot protocol is ALWAYS USE CLEAN FILTERED WATER. You definitely don't want to accidentally introduce any foreign bacteria to the nasal passages which could potentially lead to an infection. A few years ago there was a lot of negative press about neti pots because two people contracted deadly meningitis infections by using tap water instead of filtered water. Before you freak out and swear never to try a neti pot, remember the first rule, ALWAYS USE CLEAN FILTERED WATER!

As long as we're on the subject of cleanliness, it's a good idea to keep your neti pot clean between uses by storing it in an air-tight plastic bag.

Supplies need for nasal washing:
Neti pot
Warm filtered/distilled water
Saline packets, a combination of sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride (see image below).
*never use iodized salt in your nasal washing practice.

Ready, steady, neti!

The trick to using the neti pot correctly is finding the "sweet spot" with your head position. The correct position will allow gravity to move the water through the nasal cavities without incident.

While holding your head to the side (over the sink), gently insert the spout of the neti pot into the "top" nostril. Allow the warm saline solution to run through the sinuses. You can change the flow by slightly tucking or lifting your chin. When the solution has stopped flowing, remove the spout and gently blow your nose using a tissue. Repeat method on the opposite side.

Trouble shooting:
Be sure to use warm, not hot filtered water for your saline solution. Too hot and not only will it be uncomfortable, but there is potential for injury. Also avoid cold water because your saline packet will not dissolve properly. Always allow a couple of minutes for your saline packet to dissolve completely in the warm water before use. This will create a uniform saline solution which is more comfortable in the sinuses.

If the water flow stops midstream, you may need to adjust the angle of the neti pot or perhaps your sinuses are blocked with mucus. If this happens, stop, gently blow your nose, then begin again on the same side.

Who can use a neti pot?
It is recommended for adults and children over 4 years of age.

Using a neti pot should never be painful. Discontinue use if you experience pain or discomfort. Be sure to consult with your primary care provider if you have questions or concerns about using a neti pot.

Now that you have some insight into proper neti pot technique, you're ready to get started! Good luck and remember, practice makes perfect!