I have to say that I was skeptical when my mother first suggested using this thing called the Neti Pot to treat my recurring sinus infections. Especially since it came highly recommended from none other than the Big “O”, Ms. Winfrey herself. Generally I disregard anything that she (Big “O”, not my mom) instructs her legions of followers to do, but in this case, I have to admit that had my mom not seen the Netti Pot on Oprah and suggested it to me, I would still be suffering from severe sinusitis and recurring infections.
The word neti is an abbreviation of the sankskrit word jala neti which means “water cleansing”. Though the technique has been unknown in the West until recently, Indian yogi’s have been performing the procedure for thousands of years as a part of their daily cleansing ritual.
The concept is really simple. You simply fill the neti pot with warm salt water and poor it in one nostril until it comes out of the other one. This basically clears out all of that nasty stuff up there and prevents bacteria from having a pool party in your sinuses. Though the concept is simple, the actual technique and preparation does require a little practice. You should always use salt water for the best results. I personally opt to buy the refills, but you can make your own mixture if you run out of the refill packets. Non-iodized salt is best and the mixture should be at a ratio of approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons per liter of warm water. One advantage with the pre-mixed packets, is that they are able to have a higher saline content since special buffering agents prevent discomfort to the nasal cavity. The water should be as close to body temperature as you can get it without being too hot. If the temperature is too cold, you will fell like you are drowning in the ocean.
After stirring the mixture thoroughly, lean over a sink and tilt your head down and slightly to one side. You then place the spout of the neti pot in the nostril, establishing as tight of a seal as possible, and raise the pot slightly allowing the water to flow slowly into the nasal passage. Continue to breathe normally through your mouth. If you are positioned correctly, you should feel the water going from one side to the other until you have a steady stream flowing out of the nostril.
It took me about three attempts before I felt that I was doing it correctly, so don’t get too discouraged if it doesn’t go well the first few times. Also, if you have a lot of blockage then you may have to switch from side to side several times blowing your nose in between flushes. I recommend using just half a packet starting out, and one full pot for both nostrils. After a few weeks, you can do a full pot for each nostril for the maximum effect.
So far, I have been using the neti pot nightly for about 6 weeks and I have not had any of the usual sinus problems that have plagued me constantly for the last two years. It has also alleviated my snoring, since I am no longer struggling to breathe at night.
I highly recommend watching this video before trying the neti pot: http://www.himalayaninstitute.org/NetiPot/NetiPotInstructions.aspx.