Nasal irrigation is a practice that has been used for thousands of years in the ancient Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda. It is known as Jala neti, meaning ‘water cleansing’ and is performed using a neti pot.
To prepare the neti pot, place 1 teaspoon of non-iodised sea salt (check there are no additives such as anti-caking agents) and mix with 150ml boiling water, stirring well to dissolve. Add 350ml of cooled boiled water to reduce the temperature of the solution to that of the body. Check the temperature is right, neither too hot nor too cool. The addition of salt creates a solution with the same osmotic pressure as the body and prevents any stinging or burning sensations as the water passes through the nostrils. It also tones the mucous membranes of the nose, acting as a decongestant.
Using the Neti Pot
Standing over a sink or a bath (or out in your garden), place the spout of the neti pot against the right nostril. Tipping your head sideways (imagine you are laying it onto a pillow) and slightly forwards will allow the warm water to run up inside your right nostril and out of the left. You can breath calmly in and out through your mouth. Experiment a little, adjusting the position of your head slightly to the one that suits you best. If your nose is very blocked it may take a while for the liquid to start to pass through. Once half of the liquid has run through, take the neti pot away from the nostril and resume an upright position. Some water will remain in the nostril so close the opposite nostril, by pressing with your finger and blow air forcefully through the nose to evacuate the water.
Repeat the whole process on the opposite side, placing the spout of the neti pot against the left nostril and allowing the water to flow out through the right. Some water may remain in the nostrils even after you have blown out through both so it is a good idea to carry some tissues with you for when this is released.
Benefits of Nasal Irrigation
- Removes dirt and infectious micro organisms from the nasal cavities and passageways
- Reduces the frequency and duration of colds
- Reduces allergic problems such as hay fever
- Improves your nose breathing generally reducing diseases such as asthma and bronchitis
- Moistens dry nasal cavities and passageways
- Reduces the symptoms of chronic sinusitis
- Flushes the tear ducts and improves eye sight
- Improves your sense of smell and taste, very good if you want to stop smoking
- Can be beneficial for some types of ear disorders
- Has a harmonizing and calming effect on the mind
Neti pots are available from chemists and online – this ‘Nose Buddy’ neti pot is particularly easy to use.
We recommend this Himalayan Salt for use with the neti pot as it contains no additives.
The Herbal Clinic in Swansea provides natural healthcare with the use of organic herbs, acupuncture and iridology.