The neti pot has its origin in Ayurvedic medicine. The word “Neti” is Sanskrit for “nasal cleansing.” Doesn't that sound fun?
A neti pot looks like a little teapot with a long spout. You fill it up with a sterile saline solution, which is then poured into the nostrils to help clear your nasal passages. This flushes out irritants and thins the mucus leading to less congestion and easier breathing through the nose.
The main benefit to using a neti pot is relieving congested sinuses - if you have a sinus infection, a cold or allergies that affect your sinuses a neti pot could help you. It can also help with heavy snoring and bring relief to headache and migraine sufferers.
You can use your neti pot whenever you feel the need, it can be used as a preventative solution rather than waiting until your next sinus infection to strike.
How to use a neti pot
Using a neti pot is a bit weird at first. It feels very unnatural to pour water into your nose. The key is to be calm, go slow and breath through your mouth. The water is just going to go into your nasal cavity then out of the other nostril.
Fill the neti pot with a saline solution. This is going into your nasal cavity so hygiene is very important here. There are solutions that you can buy pre-made.
You can also make your own with sterile water (you can boil tap water for a few minutes to make it safe to use) and add a small amount of iodide-free, preservative-free salt. The salt helps to bring out the nasal fluids, where water alone would just be absorbed into the nasal cavities. Ensure that the salt is pure and has no additives. I use a pure Himalayan salt.
Let the water cool. Getting the temperature right is important and it takes a bit of practice. You want it to be warmer than tepid but not too hot that it's uncomfortable in your nose.
To use the neti pot, tilt your head sideways over the sink and place the spout of the neti pot into your nostril. Don't go too deep but try to ensure the whole of the spout is in your nostril or you'll end up pouring water over yourself.
Breath through your mouth and gently pour the saltwater solution into your upper nostril so that the liquid drains through the nasal cavity and out of the other nostril. Gently blow your nose then repeat on the other side.
It may help to see someone use a neti pot before you take the plunge so have a look at this video: