Friday, January 18, 2008

I Am Thankful For My Neti Pot

Several months ago, I had the Oprah show on in the background while I was cooking (and I was in the kitchen!), and I heard a guest say something like: "You fill the Neti Pot with room temperature water, add salt, then tilt your head, pour the water in through one nostril, and the water flows through your sinuses and out the other nostril."

Needless to say, I put down my cooking and stopped to watch!

-And there they were... pouring water in one nostril and out the other. The supposed benefits to this? Decreased illness and infection and decreased allergy symptoms, due to the irrigation and flushing out of pollutants and germs that can collect in your nasal passages and sinuses. Of course there were experts and non experts on hand to testify that the Neti Pot had alleviated all kind of problems for them and had saved them bundles of money on allergy medications and cold remedies.

I rarely get sick but I do get seasonal allergies, so I figured this was just weird enough and seemingly inexpensive enough for me to try. I did some more research first and found very few negative reports on this practice (which I learned has been around for ages). I also found numerous videos on You Tube of happy peaceful looking people pouring water through their nose. I figured that for about $15 it was worth a try.

Let me just say that my first few times using the Neti Pot were nothing like the peaceful serene people I'd seen on the You Tube videos! I knew that after a few tries, my body would learn the exact angle to tilt my head and just how far to lean forward to have the water flow freely from one nostril to the other. But the first 4 or 5 times BEFORE my body figured out what that angle and position were, I was keenly aware that, unlike the serene people in the videos, I was gripping the edge of the sink, leaning forward at a variety of different angles, and making a concerted effort to try to breathe through my mouth, all the while trying very hard not to drown. But eventually I figured it out. And now (as I knew would happen), I can instantly tilt my head at just the right angle to allow the free flow of saline through my nasal passages.

Does it work? I think so. I didn't use it daily (which might have yielded more dramatic results) but when I experienced allergy symptoms, the Neti Pot did provide instant relief. A cup of saline through each nostril and my itchy eyes and throat were instantly gone. Well worth the $15 investment! Plus there's no need to buy special saline mixtures. One cup of water to 1/4 tsp of table salt is all you need for a basic preparation.

A good rule of thumb is that if the water burns a bit, you should decrease the salt. If it feels like you've got swimming pool water up your nose, increase the salt a bit. I actually need a bit more salt in my preparation.

Whatever you do, I do not suggest you follow this guy's lead!
But do watch his video. It's hilarious!
(The first half is fine, but after 1:28... well... you'll see!)



Vanessa said...

I LOVE my neti pot! We have been good friends for 7 years now. I get dried elderflower and gently boil it to make a tea like mixture, let it cool, then use that in my neti pot. It doesn't burn like the salt and is soothing and moisturizing to the nasal passages. Enjoy the power of the Neti!

Hillary said...

That video. Uh, wow. His reaction to that last one was hilarious. But I mean, what do you expect from a site called "toothpaste for dinner?" :P

Melissa said...

Wow vanessa! 7 years? You're much cooler than I am! Lol! I think I've had mine for about 7 months. I know that there are a few other "approved" mixtures you can use with certain herbs (Coffee and alcohol are NOT among them!). I've never heard of using elderflower. I may look into that.

hillary: Yeah... he's a little weird! I actually screamed at the video (as in yelled at the screen like he could hear me!) the first time I saw it! -Not sure who that makes weirder ;)

lisa's chaos said...

I do not think I could get used to that. I would always feel like I was drowning, I fear.

Grandy said...

I've never even heard of a Neti pot! Have I grown up under a rock? As I'm sitting here with a cold, I'll have to try it out to avoid a sinus infection (which always happens). Thanks!!

p.s. I have tagged you for a meme...come check it out and let me know when you've posted yours. :)

Nora Bee said...

I also love the neti pot. Love. it. If you add a drop of grapefruit seed extract, it feels even better and I am convinced doing that headed off a couple of full blown sinus infections!

Melissa said...

Hi Lisa! Welcome!

Grandy: Weird, but definitely worth a try. Check your local health food or Middle Eastern/Ayurvedic store. They come in ceramic, metal, or plastic. Mine was from Whole Foods.

Nora: Grapefruit seed extract? Really? I'd expect that to sting! I'll add it to my "gotta remember to try this at some point" list :)

Mac and Cheese said...

I stopped the video before he got to the coffee. I don't have the stomach for whatever comes next.