Monday, February 24, 2014

How to Use a Neti Pot (Video)

Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? Sick of buying allergy medication? Give the Neti pot a try!  I've been using a Neti pot for several years now and before I started using it I was on several prescription allergy medications. Fed up with the feeling of dependence on prescription medication, I went in search of some natural alternatives...one of those being a Neti pot.


A tea pot? What did you say? I know it's strange right? Even stranger is what you do with it...pour water in one nostril and have it come out on the other side. Just lovely. But the concept is simple, by "washing out our nostrils" at least once a day, we are able to remove dust, allergens, and other environmental irritants that we may have "collected" throughout the day. With those "little nasties" gone you can breathe easier, not be hassled by sneezing and sniffling, and know that we've cleaned one of the most important parts of our bodies!  Now if you can get over the crazy way it looks and in the beginning, how it may feel, it will be so worth it.

Neti-what?

Since doing the neti pot, I've been able to cut out all my use of prescription allergy medication (with the help of also going vegan and cutting out dairy). Now I don't look ahead at the allergy forecast in fear, hoping it's not a "high pollen" day. I know that my neti pot has me covered.



On top of that, you kind of get hooked on the feeling. I mean, think about all the parts of our body that we wash daily, some even multiple times a day. But what about our nose? Doesn't it want to be clean too? Well, enough with the "dirty noses" it's time to clean them out and really breathe in the fresh air...oh by the way, we'll reduce some of those allergy symptoms too.

What you need to do the neti pot.

The big questions:
What kind of neti pot should I buy?  There are many types of neti pots on the market, some ceramic and some plastic. You can use what works for you. You can probably guess that since I'm a bit of a plastic-phobe that I went with the ceramic version and I love it.  They run about $10-12 and can be found online like here, or at local drugstores or health food stores.

What solution do you put in the neti pot?  I use a Neti-Salt from the same company as my neti pot, which is a non-iodized salt. They recommend using 1/4 tsp. of the salt per 1 cup of water. I found this for $3 at my local health food store.

What kind of water do you use for the neti pot? I use distilled water because it removes all of the impurities, bacteria, and other nasties usually found in traditional tap water. When I first started using neti pots, I used regular old tap water, but then I found out about
dangerous amoebas being passed into my sinuses and possibly killing me...seriously? I thought it was pretty bogus and blew it off. But, since doing this post about filtering your shower water, I learned more about the nasties that are in tap water. So to be safe, I started using distilled water, and I couldn't recommend it more. I got this gallon jug from Walgreens for under a dollar. And although it's a bit of a pain to buy, I appreciate the peace of mind I have with using it for my neti pot water. 

But if for some reason you have to use tap water, you'll want to boil it for several minutes to kill any possible bacteria or amoebas (among other things), and then let it cool to a temperature comfortable for rinsing your nose with.

This brings me to the last question....
How warm is the neti pot water? For me I relate it to bath/shower water. So while you want it to be warm enough to be comfortable for you, you don't it to be too warm that it will burn you. The same works for a neti pot, if it's too cold it will feel like you got pool water up your nose, but if it's too hot it will burn when it goes through...also not fun. So play around the temperature until you find what's just right for you and try to re-create that temperature each time you do the neti pot.

With all those details out of the way, let's take a look at how I use the neti pot: 




Here's a play-by-play of how I do the neti pot:

Gather what you need: 1 cup measuring cup, measuring spoon,
 neti salt, distilled water, and a neti pot.

1. Measure out 1 cup of the distilled water onto a
small saucepan on High. This warms
the water quickly and it usually takes 1-2 minutes max. 

2. In the meantime, add 1/4 tsp of the neti salt to the measuring
cup.
3. Once the water is warmed (I use my fingers to check the temp
of the water, so be careful it you do this too) and then pour it
into the measuring cup with the neti salt.  I find this helps mix
the salt and water easily.

4. Then I add half of the water/salt mixture to the neti pot.

4. Now tip your head to one side and insert the neti pot spout into your nostril.
Lift your elbow up and allow the neti pot water begin
to flow from one nostril to the other.
My catchphrase for using a neti pot is just to: "Let it flow!" You'll want to relax into the sensation, and just let the water flow from one nostril to the other.  I like to visualize that it's picking up all kinds of dust and allergens along the way, leaving my nasal passages nice, clean, and clear. Also, be sure to keep your mouth open as you'll be breathing through your mouth as you do this.

Once the water/salt mixture has ran out on this side, give your nose a good blow into the sink (or with the help of a cloth napkin) and then go onto the other side.

5. Time to repeat on the other side. Tilt head, insert neti pot
into nostril, lift elbow, and let it flow.

6. Once your done rinsing, blow your nose another time or two.
 You may notice it might still trickle out of your nose
a few minutes afterwards, that's normal.
7. If you're feeling like a clean-freak, you can use a clean
cloth napkin to wipe down your sink once you are done
so no one has to see what the neti pot cleaned out of your
nose!

Still have questions? Check out this interesting "Neti Pot Safety Guide" put out by the Himalayan Institute.  

So that's how I go green with my allergy routine by using the neti pot.  Have you ever used a neti pot before? Or do you have any questions about how I use mine? Share below!  

Oh and one final warning, if you have young kids, you can probably guarantee that they will see you doing the neti pot and have no problem acting it out for all to see any time they find a tea pot. Case in point: 

Avery at 22 months "practicing the neti pot". What can I say?
That's my girl!


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