What's a Neti Pot? 6 Health Benefits of Nasal Irrigation + Tips
8 minute read
Nasal irrigation may sound like an uncomfortable procedure, but it really is just as simple as clearing out your nasal passages. Your sinuses can become clogged with mucus and allergens. When this happens, your nose is unable to effectively clear out contaminants from passing into your lungs. A neti pot helps to keep your nasal passages clean so your respiratory system stays clean too.
Seasonal allergies, stuffy nose, the common cold, sinus infections, irritant-based congestion, and upper respiratory infections can contribute to the build up of mucus in the nasal passage. This interferes with breathing and can complicate infections.
A neti pot is meant to flush out the toxins and mucus, so your nasal passages are clear. They are easy to use and cheap to buy, so it may be worth picking one up after learning about their benefits.
Meet the Neti Pot
This ceramic tool looks like a teapot and delivers a saline solution directly through your nostrils. New models may be made of other materials, but ceramic is the most common.
“Neti” is Sanskrit for “nasal cleaning,” and this saline solution does just that, flushing out any irritants and thinning out mucus. Congestion eases up, and it becomes easier to breathe by supporting the actions of the hair-like cilia in your nose.
Sometimes mucus or environmental pollutants like dust can build up, preventing the cilia from ushering the mucus through, and congestion results. Too much congestion can intensify infections and sinus problems as well as complicate breathing.
A neti pot helps the cilia to function efficiently by making any built-up mucus easier to push along.
It is important to use a saline or saltwater solution because water alone can actually irritate your nasal cavity. If the inside of your nostrils becomes irritated or inflamed, the immune system’s response only increases mucus production, so congestion will get worse.
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The adding of salt allows the water to move through the nasal passage more efficiently, thereby preventing any irritation.
The Benefits of Nasal Irrigation
The name itself is derived from Sanskrit, which tells you that the neti pot has some ancient history. Used in Indian and Chinese cultures for centuries, the concept of a neti pot and nasal irrigation has been successful in treating respiratory problems.
1. Reduced Congestion
Allergies and environmental toxins can pollute your nasal passages as well as cause irritation. Once this happens, the body’s natural response involves production of mucus, which when in excess clogs the nasal cavity and passages. Once blocked, sinuses are at increased risk for infection.
The neti pot allows a saline solution to flow directly through the nasal passages, clearing out unwanted irritants. The thinning of the mucus allows it to move more easily through the passages, leaving less congestion behind to clog you up.
2. Sinus Relief
Clearing a clogged nasal passage can relieve acute sinus infections as well as chronic sinusitis. Typically people with pet or seasonal allergies suffer from sinusitis, the inflammation of sinus cavities.
The neti pot removes irritants as well as mucus, so the respiratory tract opens up. Less congestion means less exposure to inflammatory toxins, so your sinuses get a chance to rest and repair.
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Regular use of a neti pot has been shown to deliver up to 6 months of improved symptoms in those with chronic sinus conditions.
3. Allergy Reprieve
Millions of people in the United States suffer from allergies. Dust, pet dander, flowers, and plants all have particles that float into your nose and cause a reaction.
The key response to a foreign particle is inflammation, but the sensitive nasal compartments get extremely irritated when this happens, causing even more inflammation in the area. Excess mucus is released and congestion results.
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Nasal irrigation with a neti pot has been shown to be more effective in removing irritants, and works better than most allergy medications. Offering a natural alternative to potentially dangerous medications, the neti pot is inexpensive and the best way to clear allergies, improving overall quality of life.
4. Fighting the Cold
The common cold strikes even the healthiest of people at least twice a year. As the respiratory trace becomes inflamed, congestion builds and sinuses get clogged. Not only is breathing difficult, but you also end up with facial pain and headaches.
Using a neti pot to thin the mucus allows it to drain from your nasal cavity much faster. Breathing is less strained and pressure is released so the headaches and sinus discomfort also eases up.
5. Pregnancy-Related Issues
Hormonal changes being more than just strange food cravings, they can also contribute to excess mucus production. Many pregnant women experience sinus and nasal congestion during their terms, and because of the baby, medications are not the best solution.
Nasal irrigation with a neti pot is a safe and effective way to reduce congestion and support a healthy respiratory system during pregnancy. That baby kicking your diaphragm makes breathing difficult enough, you need to keep your nasal passages clear.
6. Snoring Solution
The reason behind most cases of snoring is congestion. The neti pot will clear this out, allowing you to breathe clearly and get some sleep.
Snoring can be disrupting to you and the sleep of others, so rinse your nasal passages out regularly for a deep sleep, without the need for sleeping pills.
Neti Pot Tips and Caution
The best neti pot solution involves using distilled water. You are trying to remove contaminants, not add more. You can also use tap water that has been boiled if you need to.
One cup of water and a half teaspoon of salt make the perfect saline solution for clearing out mucus. You can also buy already made solutions or sinus rinses. Be sure you only use pure salt, and not any that contains additional ingredients.
Also be very sure to clean out your net pot thoroughly before using it, as there is a very real risk of infection otherwise. According to a statement from the FDA, here are some general cleaning precautions:
“To use and care for your device:
♦ Wash and dry your hands.
♦ Check that the device is clean and completely dry.
♦ Prepare the saline rinse.
♦ Follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
♦ Wash the device, and dry the inside with a paper towel or let it air dry between uses.
Talk with a health care provider or pharmacist if the instructions on your device do not clearly state how to use it or if you have any questions.”
The Bottom Line
Your nasal passages are on the front line when it comes to keeping harmful particles out of your lungs and respiratory system. Some mucus is a good thing, but as with many good things, too much ends up being bad.
Don’t let congestion interfere with your life or your health and get a neti pot today. The teapot can help you soothe your senses, but the neti pot will clear the sinuses and help you breathe more easily. Sounds like a winning combination to combat the common cold.