The common cold, allergies, and other sinus issues can result in your having a stuffy nose and difficulty in breathing. A very simple and natural technique that you can use to relieve the nasal blockage is nasal irrigation or nasal cleansing as it is also called. This modality uses salt water to wash out the cold and allergy causing allergens. You can also use it to clear out the accumulated mucus. Although it was first developed by practitioners of Yoga and Homeopathy, modern day doctors are increasingly recognizing its many benefits. If used with caution, the technique is safe and can also be given to young kids.
Looking for the perfect tools for nasal irrigation? Check out these pots: Nasal Irrigation
What is Nasal Irrigation?
Nasal irrigation is a non-invasive modality that is often used as a first-line defense in managing seasonal allergies, colds, and sinus issues. You can safely adopt it by itself or as a complement to the other treatments you’re taking. If you think you could be developing a cold or congestion, taking nasal irrigation can help you with the symptoms before they worsen. Essentially, it involves pouring salt water into one nostril and letting it flow out from the other. As the water circulates in your nasal cavities, it clears away the mucus and allergens.
Check online and you could find many tools that can help you conduct this therapeutic procedure. Choose the one you find most convenient and perform it in the privacy of your home. For instance, you’ll find neti pots that resemble traditional teapots but with spouts that make pouring water into the nasal cavity very convenient. You could also choose from squeeze bottles and bulb syringe that allow you to control on the pressure of the spray that you direct into the nose.
History of Nasal Irrigation
The neti pot is the oldest tool that was first created by practitioners of Yoga more than 5,000 years ago. It takes its name from the Sanskrit word, “neti” that means nasal cleansing. Masters of Yoga such as Yogi Gorakhnath incorporated the technique with the hastha mudras or hand poses that he taught. In addition to cleansing the nasal cavity with saltwater or “jal neti”, he also talked about string cleansing or “sutra neti.” Aside from using water, he also recommended using liquid ghee, milk, and other liquids.
Conducting nasal irrigation or jal neti has more purposes than just free breathing. The process was a part of the six cleansing rituals or “kriyas” intended to prepare the mind and body for meditation and pranayam. Yogis believed that by breathing deeply, they could think more clearly, open their minds, and achieve a higher state in their meditation. They could also achieve freedom from addictions, anxiety, and moodiness.
In modern times, the first international neti pot was introduced to the Western world by Swami Ram in the year 1972. It was designed out of ceramic and had attractive contours. As the modality caught the interest of people all over the world, different materials came to be used to create neti pots including copper, stainless steel, plastic, and more recently, bioplastic that is an eco-friendly product. Jal neti or nasal irrigation has also been talked about by Oprah Winfrey in her 2007 show. In addition to Yoga practitioners, health-conscious American folk are also taking to the technique.
Equipment Needed for Nasal Irrigation
To perform nasal irrigation, you’ll need a neti pot, squeeze bottle, bulb syringe, or any other container that makes it easy to pour the saline solution into the nasal cavities. While you have the option of buying the saline powder/solution or a pre-filled bottle at your local drugstore, you can also create the saltwater solution at home. You’ll need:
- 1 or 2 cups of warm water that sterile and distilled.
- ¼ or ½ teaspoon of non-iodized salt
- A pinch of baking soda
How to Perform Nasal Irrigation?
Once you have the solution ready in the neti pot, make your way to the sink.
- Lean over the sink at a 45-degree angle.
- Tilt your head sideways so that one nostril is facing
the sink. Take care not to tilt your head back.
- Remember to breathe through your mouth all through the process.
- Pour the saline into one nostril with the spout of the pot placed just inside the nasal opening.
- Squeeze the bulb or bottle and pour the water into the nose. You will feel the water running through the nasal passageways and exiting through the other nostril.
- If you feel it entering your mouth, you can spit it out. But, even if you do swallow some, it is only saline water and will not hurt you.
- Blow your nose gently to clear the remaining solution out of it.
- Now, tilt your head the other way and pour the solution into the other nostril.
- Blow and dab with a tissue.
- Discard the remaining solution. Clean and air dry the neti pot and other materials, and store.
Why Nasal Irrigation Works?
Each time you catch a cold or get an allergy, the lining of the sinuses and the nasal passages get inflamed. The swelling lining
causes blockages in the cavities and prevent the fluids from draining. The lining of your nasal passages have tiny hairs or cilia that catch bacteria and other atmospheric pollutants and send them down your throat. Once you swallow them, they pass out of your body naturally without causing harm.
But if these passages are clogged, bacteria accumulates in them and can cause infections. These infections, in turn, cause more stuffiness, swelling, difficulty in breathing, and even, pain. Nasal irrigation clears the passageways and the bacteria. It also calms the inflammation of the mucous tissues that lines the nasal cavities. You breathe more easily and the infection clears away.
By using nasal irrigation just two or three times, you’ll be able to see the benefits. As you continue using the technique, you’ll find it easy to control seasonal allergies and sinus issues and improve your quality of life. However, it is always advisable to check with your general practitioner before using this therapy. Further, make sure to read up on the subject and the contraindications and precautions you should keep in mind, just as you would any other therapy.
DerSarkissian, Carol. “Nasal Irrigation: Natural Relief for Cold & Allergy Symptoms.” WebMD. 20 Oct. 2016. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.
Watson, Stephanie. “Neti Pot, Nasal Irrigation Pros and Cons.” WebMD. n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.
Bleier, Benjamin, S. MD. “Nasal/Sinus Irrigation.” American Rhinologic Society. 17 Feb. 2015. Web. 19. Jan. 2017.
Sexton, Shannon. “The History & Science of the Nasal Wash.” Yoga International. 20 May 2013. Web. 19 jan. 2017.
Mehta, Alisha. “The History of the Neti Pot.” NeilMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 28 June 2011. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.