This month’s self-care practice is Neti, an ayurvedic selfcare practices that focus on the nose, sense of smell and earth element. It is a great time to incorporate this practice into our daily routine, especially for those of us with sinus conditions. Both the usage of a neti pot and nasal drops (nasya) are preventative care for sinus congestion and irritation due to spring colds and allergies. A note of caution, this practice should not be combined with oil based nasal drops (nasya). Nasal drops are preferable when deep congestion prevents the usage of the neti pot.
Let’s take a look at how to use the Neti pot.
When to use it and how to make the liquid solution
The neti pot can be used daily, either in the morning or evening before bathing. The neti pot is designed to allow fluid to pass through your nasal passages clearing out any excess congestion or unwanted particles, like dust or pollen. The fluid used is made up of a half cup of water and a ½ teaspoon of salt. It’s best to purchase sterile saline salt and distilled water. This mixture mimics our own saline body fluid and is gentle on the sinus cavity. The water should be lukewarm and close to body temperature. This will create minimal resistance of the nasal passages.
How to use it
To use the neti pot bend over a sink and tilt your head up to one side or the other. Place the opening of the neti pot against the nostril that is facing the celling. Then gently tilt the pot up and pour the fluid into your nostril. Sometimes it is helpful to create a small amount of suction to help the flow but be careful that you don’t suck in the water. The fluid will flow into your nostril, through your sinus cavity and flow out the bottom nostril into the sink. If some (or a lot) of the fluid flows into your mouth, don’t worry, it’s totally normal. Typically, you use half of the fluid in the first nostril then switch sides and pour the remaining fluid into your opposite nostril.
Finishing the process
After performing this process on each side bend over a sink near to 90 degrees and, blocking a nostril, forcefully exhale through the open nostril 10 times. Alternate nostrils and repeat the process 3 times to ensure the drying of the nasal passages and removal of excess salt water. The short burst of air help keeps the flow of air out of your nose and not into the ear canal. Avoid covering your nose with a tissue or towel and blowing your nose.