Ask the Yogi: How do I use a Neti Pot?

Q: My sinuses are really upset from allergies. I have been told using a Neti pot might help me feel better. What is a Neti pot and how do I use it?

Pollen AllergyA: Fall allergies are very common. We have a couple of culprits in full swing right now and they are ragweed and Goldenrod. These plants bloom in the fall and their pollen afflict many people with sneezing, watery eyes and general sinus issues.

Many people do use Neti pots to help with sinus issues. This is an ancient remedy and somewhat associated with yoga because early yoga practitioners would use a Neti pot to clear the sinuses prior to doing yoga breathing techniques. Just to be very clear here, that was a past practice and you don’t have to use a Neti pot to do effective yoga.

There is some debate as to whether the use of Neti pots are effective and safe. Although I did not find any scientific studies regarding the Neti pot, general consensus is that they are helpful for sinus issues and safe in most situations. Here is an article by WebMD regarding Neti pots.

One note of caution is that you should use only distilled water or previously boiled water for your sinus rinse. There have been cases of water contamination infecting people with harmful parasites. I don’t suggest using tap water for this reason. Also, if you choose to warm the water first, make sure it is a comfortable temperature and not too hot. One more note is that if your sinuses are completely blocked then this will likely not work.

How to use a Neti pot

Well, pictures speak louder than words and moving pictures speak loudest of all, especially when they have a sound track. Here is a video that shows the proper use of a Neti pot. There are quite a few people who seem to like to do these demos, and the production standards are a bit lax in some cases, so I chose the one I found to be the most professional and the least weird. Here is where you can find a pot like this.

By the way, you do not have to use Himalayan salt for this. Do measure out the salt because you don’t want to irritate your sinuses.

How to use a Sinus Rinse

Neti pots are not the only way to rinse your sinus. The Neilmed Sinus rinse may be much easier for you to use.

Oh my, wasn’t she cute. If someone is going to show me how to rinse my sinuses, I want them to be upbeat and chipper like her.

So, now you know how to use a Neti pot or sinus rinse. For some this is a great way to help relieve the misery of allergy season.

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