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Neti Pot?

April 22, 2009

Neti Pot, originally uploaded by sarybow.

So do you use one? My mom swears by it but to be completely honest it “icks” me out. The idea of pouring water into one nostril and having it come out the other… I don’t know I think the sensation would freak me out and I would have a hard time sticking with it. On the other hand I’ve had sinus problems since college and I ended up feeling sick at least one or two days a month. The only medicine (and I’ve tried MANY) is 12 hour Sudafed. Now that you have to get it from behind the pharmacy counter here in the US I wonder if I’m going to be flagged as a potential meth maker… But even the Sudafed doesn’t work if I don’t take it as soon as the symptoms start.

And I don’t relish the idea of being dependent on a drug for the rest of my life so in theory the Neti Pot sounds great. If you don’t know what is and what is does let me tell you. It’s a little pot (pictured above) that is used to irrigate your nasal cavity. You use lukewarm slightly salty water to gently cleanse the nasal passage. The idea is that the water washes away pollen, mucus, viruses and bacteria that would cause you to get congested or sick. It’s been used for thousands of years in places like India but has recently grown in use in Europe and the US.

You take your Neti pot filled with the warm water and insert the spout into your nostril. Tip your head so the water pours out your other nostril. You want to choose a Neti pot that has a spout that will plug your inlet nostril to eliminate leaking from that nostril. You must be relaxed and breathing through your mouth for this to work. But if you are then it should gently flow through in a couple of minutes. Then you repeat on the other side. You could use it as needed although most people agree it’s most effective if you use it daily. I imagine daily use would also make you a lot more comfortable with the process.

I still don’t know. Is there anyone using it? What was the first time like?

18 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2009 4:39 pm

    My husband had chronic sinus infections, bad enough that he had surgery about 14 years ago after not being able to shake one. After that he started irrigating daily. He became somewhat of an evangelist for the practice, annoyingly so at times. I tried it just a few times when I came down with a head cold. I didn’t particularly enjoy it, but I know that if I had chronic sinus infections, I’d probably get used to it and accept it as part of my daily routine. DH eventually tapered off with the irrigation after having no chronic symptoms for several years. He’ll still do it on occasion whenever he feels like he might be getting another infection. By rinsing multiple times per day when he thinks he’s getting sick, he’s managed to stave off infection quite well.

    He doesn’t use the pot, by the way. He uses one of those big blue rubber bulb things that they used to sell for flushing earwax. Now it seems the earwax bulbs are really small. The bulb of the one he uses is the size of a tennis ball.

  2. Carolyn Marie permalink
    April 22, 2009 5:11 pm

    I have a Neti Pot just like yours in the photo! I too was miserable with sinus pain and infections. Like you, 12 hour Sudafed was the only thing that worked for me, though it made me very jittery and unable to sleep which brings another set of problems!

    The Neti Pot is the best thing I have found for preventing my sinus problems. I was very squeamish about pouring water into my nostril; I believed that I would somehow drown. The first time I used the pot I wondered why oh why I had delayed so long in trying it! It is very easy to use. Remember to breathe through your mouth or hold your breath as you pour the water through. Remember to use non iodized salt. Good Luck.

  3. April 22, 2009 6:43 pm

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE my neti! I don’t use it all the time, just when I’m having sinus issues or feel a cold coming on. Usually I use it several times a day for a few days and I’m good as new.

    Keep in mind that you have to keep playing with the temp of the watter to avoid discomfort or creating more snot. So if you’re more congested or super snotty afterwards the water was too warm or too cold. Keep adjusting until it’s good. I try to keep the temp in mine about body temp, and I usually throw a pinch of baking soda in the mix because the salt water makes my sinuses burn a little. Also make sure you use filtered water, that chlorine can be killer as well!

    Oh yeah, and make sure you used non-iodized salt. I use big flaked kosher, but I’m considering using natural sea salt when I use that up (even though some places say not to, it’s more natural though).

  4. April 22, 2009 6:44 pm

    Oh – here’s a great thread about the recipes.

  5. April 23, 2009 1:12 am

    I use one. I was WERY skeptical about using it, when my mother bought one of these for us, but i gave it a try. It didn’t feel so bad as i had expected. Actually, after water started to come out from the right place, i realized that it didn’t feel …well, not bad. Slightly funny, maybe. The trick was to keep my chin to my chest, so the water didn’t pour in to my throat. Once i used the wrong kind of salt (with iodine) in the water and it HURT! But the thing works marvels. Breathing trough your nose is worth trying neti pot.

  6. April 23, 2009 4:44 am

    I’m fascinated, never heard of a Neti Pot, but it sounds quite interesting. I’m off to see if there’s any videos on youtube, as I can’t quite picture how it works …

  7. MrsBug permalink
    April 23, 2009 7:52 am

    Have something similar and love it. Seriously, it works. Yes, it’s totally weird, but give it a shot. My recommendations are: 1) make the water a little warmer than you think you can stand – cold water HURTS!, 2) use non-iodized salt and 3) have tissue ready for when you’re done.

    When I have a cold, this is the first thing I turn to!

    • greg permalink
      July 21, 2009 9:07 am

      instead of tissues, use a dish rag for cleanup. prevents waste!

  8. Nanette permalink
    April 23, 2009 3:39 pm

    I’ve used a neti pot for a while, about a year. I think I started because I had a sinus infection, and also my naturopath suggested it could help with snoring…or rather not snoring. I use it pretty much every day now. Yep, grossed me out at first too, but since I can’t tolerate any medication, I decided to give it a go.

    I think I nearly drowned myself the first couple of times, went too quickly and didn’t tip my head ‘just right’, the next few times I drenched the front of my clothes, but once I got the hang of holding my head at the right angle and remembering to breathe through my mouth, and yes! relax, it was fine.

    Haven’t had a sinus infection or even a cold since I started using it…not sure about the snoring, maybe a little better.

    I think it’s worth a try for you, it’s gotta be better than taking sudafed endlessly anyway.

  9. April 24, 2009 8:24 pm

    I haven’t used the pot but I use something called Sinus Rinse. Same idea. I used to have sinus infections almost every other month for years. I finally tired of being on constant antibiotics and discovered this. When I first started I did it daily and now I use it about once a week. I haven’t been on antibiotics in over 2 years now. I highly recommend it. You get used to the yucky feeling! 🙂

  10. April 24, 2009 8:29 pm

    I haven’t used the pot but I use something called Sinus Rinse. Same idea. I used to have sinus infections almost every other month for years. I finally tired of being on constant antibiotics and discovered this. When I first started I did it daily and now I use it about once a week. I haven’t been on antibiotics in over 2 years now. I highly recommend it. You get used to the yucky feeling!:)

  11. April 28, 2009 8:49 am

    I can’t say I love using it, but I do love the results. It’s saved me on several occasions.

  12. lizzie permalink
    April 28, 2009 2:09 pm

    Make sure your mouth is open slightly when you are using it and dont use it if your nose is completely blocked.
    Its great

  13. May 3, 2009 1:27 pm

    I don’t use a neti pot but I do irrigate my nasal passages frequently! I lean back with head hanging off the couch and drip warm salt water into my nostrils with a cotton ball. This fills up the nasal passages up above my eyes as well, which can burn a little bit if the water is too warm. Lay there for a few minutes mouth breathing, then sit up with a hand towel over my nose to drain(some of it will drain down your throat but that’s ok). I got my kids on board with this at an early age too and they all swear by it to clear a stuffy nose!

    Hope this helps!

  14. May 7, 2009 5:38 pm

    It took me a long time to find the Neti Pot, but when I did it changed my life. I used to be congested all the time and now I feel free.

    I tell all my friends about the neti pot.

  15. June 9, 2009 4:01 am

    I do irrigate my nasal cavity too, but I’m too cheap to buy a Neti Pot, so I use a bottled water bottle with the pop top (the kind you can open and close, usually found on the “sports” style of bottled waters). Another thing I discovered, if it burns, use more salt, not less, I found that if the water is not salty enough, it will burn worse, it sounds counter intuitive but it works. The formula I found that worked was ¼ teaspoon salt (non-iodized is recommended) to 1 cup warm water, the closer to body temp the better.


  16. August 9, 2009 11:52 pm

    I use an adult bulb syringe on an as-needed basis. The first time or two my aim wasn’t ‘just so’, but with practice it has become second-nature. My wife uses NeilMed rinse and I just make up some warm water / salt / baking soda in a 12oz. drinking glass.


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