Any time of the year one can experience the not-so-comfortable symptoms associated with allergies. Whether it is from outdoor pollen or indoor dust and mold; whether it is food related or otherwise encouraged, allergies can be miserable. Thankfully, there is an ancient method for treating symptoms of nasal and sinus irritation that could be classified as allergy relief fit for a sage. This age-old wisdom comes from India and is known affectionately as the neti pot.
A neti pot looks like a small tea pot. It can be made out of ceramic or plastic and is used to flush out the sinuses of unwanted mucous or irritants. Warmed salt water is added to the pot in order to keep the sinus cavity from absorbing the fluid as you flush. Other herbs can be added to the mix or as an alternative, urine can be used as the substance with which to cleanse the nasal passageways. Though that may sound ‘gross’ to put your own pee into your nose – and even counter-productive to solving a sinus issue- urine therapy by way of the neti pot has been a tried and true method for nearly instant relief for thousands of years. (more can be read about urine therapy here)
In the case of salt, a pure sea salt or Himalayan salt should be used as opposed to regular table salt, as table salt contains toxins you would not want to put in the nose intentionally. The warm salt water is then directed into one nostril with the head slightly tilted, allowing the water to pass through the sinuses and out the other nostril. This same method is repeated on the other side. In this way, the sinuses are washed out and relieved of dust, pollen, molds and all irritants, a bathing ritual for the nose fit for a sage or king.
The neti pot is easy to use and just takes a few tries to get it right. The first time may feel strange, but after you succeed you will feel clearer and more refreshed, like royalty. The main thing to remember while using the neti pot is to breathe through your mouth. According to ancient yogic texts, neti bestows great gifts on one who practices, beyond simple sinus health and relief from common allergies. In the traditional hatha yoga text Hatha Yoga Pradipika, neti’s benefits are described as it “cleanses the cranium and bestows clairvoyance. It also destroys all diseases which manifest above the throat”
Yoga magazine online, as compiled by the Bihar yoga school in northern India, goes into great detail as to the many advantages of regular neti practice. From their website I quote:
Neti relieves muscular tension of the face and nervous tics, and helps maintain facial youth and freshness. It releases emotional tension and is beneficial in anxiety, depression, epilepsy and hysteria, It promotes a balance between the left and right nostrils, and consequently the right and left hemispheres of the brain. This induces a state of harmony and balance throughout the entire central nervous system and the systems governing respiratory, circulatory, digestive and excretory function. The frontal lobes of the cerebrum, responsible for the higher mental faculties, begin to function, optimally.
As you can see, the neti pot, as practiced by yogis of old, who likely practiced neti with a hand-made or natural straw, bestows many gifts of health on the practitioner. If you suffer from allergies of any sort, the neti pot can become your most trusted friend in relieving that which ails ya. Fit for a sage, king or master of any kingdom or trade, the neti pot can help you conquer allergies, sinus trouble as well many other troubles of the mind or head.
Here is a short demonstration to show you how to use a neti pot.
Written by: Stasia Bliss