Breathing is a necessity of life. Keeping the nasal passages clear is an important part of the body’s immune defense system.
As we breathe, we inhale various pollutants, allergens, mold, and dust into our nasal passages. The nasal passages are designed to protect us by filtering out these airborne particles. Unfortunately, this filtering system can become overloaded by inhaled irritants, resulting in congestion, inflammation, or infection. Additionally, certain foods can promote inflammation and mucus formation, further clogging of the nasal passages and sinuses.
Nasal cleansing can help keep sinuses clear and improve the ability to breathe freely. The practice of nasal irrigation (also known as neti) has been around for thousands of years. Water, and in some case herbs, are used to gently open and stimulate the nasal passages. Using a neti pot or similar device makes this process easier.
Basic Nasal Cleansing/Neti Pot Protocol
- 8 oz water—distilled, sterile, or boiled for at least 3 minutes and then cooled (note: do not use water directly from the tap)
- ½ teaspoon uniodized (or Kosher) salt, or botanical glycerate/tincture as has been recommended
- Nasal cleansing (neti) pot
- Prepare the saline solution and fill the nasal cleansing pot
- Lean over a sink and tilt your head to one side so that your forehead and chin are at approximately the same level. (This can also be done easily when taking a shower.) This prevents water getting into your mouth.
- Place the spout of the pot into your upper nostril. While breathing through your mouth, pour half of the solution through the upper nostril so that it drains through the lower nostril. It may take a few tries to get the hang of it. Persevere.
- Blow the nose to clear both nostrils.
- Turn head and repeat on opposite side with the remaining solution. When finished, wash the nasal cleansing pot.
- Repeat once or twice a day as recommended.
- Note that for 15-30 minutes following a session you may find you need to blow your nose as the stimulatory action of the salt or medicated solution result in additional ‘flushing.’ These recommendations should be followed under the supervision and guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.
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Clarissa A. Kussin, N.D., FMHC, ERYT-500