Neti Pot Usage for AllergiesI have heard from many friends that neti pots are wonderful to help you breathe more clearly. It makes sense. Every day your nose fills up with pollen, dust, and other allergens. Those pollen spores just SIT in your nose all day, every day, continually irritating you. Sure, you might sneeze a few out occasionally, but the rest linger, causing endless trouble.
So what's the solution?
Many cultures have fully embraced the idea of a neti pot. How it works is really quite simple. You flush your nasal cavity with luke-warm salt water. That clears out all the pollen and gunk. You breathe far easier afterwards, and all that pollen isn't in there continually causing you problems.
If it's so easy, why isn't everyone doing it every day?
In part, because like anything a person hasn't tried yet, it seems "odd" :). If we grew up doing it, it would seem normal. I'm sure in some cultures that sticking a brush inside your mouth, coated with gooey gunk, and running it along all your teeth seems odd! They'd worry about choking or hurting themselves. We think of "brushing our teeth" as quite normal. So it's all about what you get used to. In many cultures, using a neti pot to clear your nasal passages out is normal and they would be annoyed to have to skip it. Why would they want to have clogged up breathing?
So here's my experiences trying this out for the first time.
First off, I ordered my neti pot kit from Amazon. I went with a "full ceramic kit" vs just a standalone plastic neti pot so I'd be sure to have everything there. I read many reviews which said a ceramic pot was smooth and painless, vs a plastic pot which could irritate a bit. I'm all for painless. This also contained the salt and aromatherapy options.
When it arrived, this is the box:
Here's the back side of the box:
I opened it up. The neti pot itself was nicely packed with a thick wrapping. Then there was the salt, which was smooth flowing. I'd seen in some reviews that they got the salt in a "caked" state but mine was completely loose. There was an aromatherapy oil of peppermint and eucalyptus. This is the same combination my boyfriend uses in his sauna at the gym and adores. Finally there was a small spritzer of peppermint, for separate usage. Plus a small manual.
OK, here's the neti pot itself.
So I was ready for my first usage of this neti pot system.
Some sites tell you to use tap water. That is NOT the best idea. It's extremely rare, but sometimes tap water can have bacteria in it. You always want to use distilled or boiled water for safety reasons. We also use a Brita style filter in the house. So I started with my Brita filtered water, poured 16oz into a microwaveable measuring cup, and microwaved it for 2 minutes. Then I poured 8oz of it through the neti pot to wash it out. After all I'd just gotten it in the mail and wanted it to be clean.
That done, I added 1/4 tsp of the non-iodized salt with the enclosed scoop into my measuring cup. I stirred it in with a spoon. I then put the measuring cup in the fridge for a few minutes to cool it down to wrist temperature. Now the water was exactly body temperature, and was lightly salted. This is to maximize the comfort level.
Now the part I'd been nervous about. I went up with my boyfriend to the bathroom sink. I had watched several videos about how to do this, and I definitely recommend doing that to get a sense of how it works. It's always good to "see" it in action. Here's one video that I used (I have no connection with Mariah Garnett, I just happened to find her). Note that she shows filling the pot from the tap. As mentioned, I recommend NOT doing that.
So what I did was bend at the waist so my head was over the sink. I turned my head to look to the right, so the right nostril was "higher" than the left nostril. My head was pretty much parallel with the floor. Then I inserted the spigot of the neti pot into my right nostril. Gravity would then pull the water down and out of the left nostril.
It took a little tilting and turning of my head to figure out the right angle - and then it worked! The water began flowing through and out my left nostril. It didn't feel funny at all. In fact, it barely felt like ANYTHING. It was completely neutral. The water was body-temperature so I didn't even feel it going through, really. And the salt also made it neutral, in terms of body composition. I could see / hear the water trickling out into the sink, but there was no other real sensation. It wasn't uncomfortable or icky or strange. It was simply like having a fountain nearby.
When I was half-way through the pot I removed the pot and blew out the water from my nose. I used tissues to blow my nose. Then I tilted my head the other way, looking left, so my left nostril was the higher one. I put the neti pot spigot into my left nostril. Again a bit of tilting to get the water to come out, and then it streamed out. In only a minute or so I was done.
Then I blew out both nostrils fairly strongly remove all lingering water.
WOW. I could breathe so much better - and I'm not even really allergy prone! I do get allergies, but not like my friends do. I could feel the air going in and out so much easier now. I do eat local honey, and vitamin C, so in general I am good with avoiding allergies. So if I can breathe this much better, with my low level of issues, I think my friends with more serious allergies should absolutely give this a try.
I was in a traffic accident in my early twenties and got a deviated septum. I've had surgery on it to fix it, so I can breathe far better as a result, but there's still a bit of clogging that goes on. So I've had all levels of breathing problems over the years. This felt wonderful, to have a "clean" nasal system.
The neti pot kit I got was $27 and has everything in it. Certainly you can find cheap plastic ones for less money, but I suppose I would err on the side of getting one that will be as easy as possible if you're just starting out. I imagine experts can use the hard plastic ones without any problem but for those of us just starting out with neti pots it's probably wiser to get the fool-proof ones.
I'm going to try the aromatherapy options in the coming days, once I get a few days of testing done just with regular water.
Buy the Himalayan Institute Original Neti Pot Complete Sinus Cleansing System Starter Kit from Amazon.com
I purchased my neti pot with my own funds in order to do this review.
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