Wellness Wednesday: Neti pot

If you suffer from sinus pain and swelling caused by allergies, infection or chronic sinusitis, learning to use a neti pot can bring relief.

How to Neti pot

Nasal irrigation has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, but today’s physicians also support the practice.

You’ll need a neti pot — a small, squat vessel that looks a little like a teapot, with a small, long spout.

Dissolve a heaping 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt in 8 oz. of warm distilled or filtered water. Don’t use table salt or iodized salt, which could irritate, rather than soothe, the membranes in your sinus cavities.

Fill the pot with the saline solution. Bending over a sink, tip your head to one side and gently pour the solution into the upper nostril so that the solution drains through your lower nostril. Use half of the solution, then repeat on the other side.

Allow your sinuses to drain for a couple of minutes, then gently blow your nose to push out the remaining saline solution.

Saline solution is standard, but your doctor or naturopath may recommend different solutions to suit your particular needs.

What are the benefits?

Devotees love this healthy habit, saying it’s a wonderful, natural way to ease sinus pain. Science backs up the use of nasal irrigation too; doctors recommend it to patients with seasonal allergies or those who have undergone sinus surgery.

Mucus and irritants are moved through your sinus passages by tiny hair-like cilia, which push mucus to the back of the throat, where it can be swallowed or spit out, or towards the nose, where it can be blown out. But when your nasal passage is clogged with thick mucus, the cilia can’t do its job very well. Saline solution helps the cilia work more efficiently by diluting mucus and soothing nasal passages.

Neti pots are inexpensive and are available at any health-food store.