Washing Your Nose – an Introduction to Jala Neti

I just poured water up my nose. Honest. Warm, slightly salted water, mind you, but water none the less. My best friend has finally stopped laughing at me. I can breathe now, and like a well feed 6 month old I will finally sleep through the night.

Jala Neti, more commonly called simply “Neti”, is a yogic cleansing ritual often practiced in India, but thankfully practiced more and more here in the west. Thankfully, because it allows me and others to breath, and breathe well. It’s a simple ritual and can take under three minutes, once you have practice. Salt is added to slightly warmer than body temperature water and poured up one nostril, head tilted it comes out the other. Simple, and apparently funny looking if my best friends reactions is any indication.

Why would someone pour water up their nose?

The luke-warm salted water washes the nostrils and clears out the mucus. It’s that simple. Neti can be used to clear your sinuses when you have an allergy, get rid of sinus headaches ( It’s quicker acting then most pain relievers and cheaper! ), clear up post-nasal drip, and allow those with certain types of Obstructive Sleep Apnea to sleep through the night. It’s amazing what a little water can do, isn’t it ?

How to do it.

First off, you want to get a Neti pot. Trust me on this. Neti pots are relatively cheap, usually ranging from about 10-20 USD and quick to find on the internet, and there is a style for everyone. I personally like the Aladin’s lamp style best. Fill the Neti pot with slighter warmed water, and add salt, about 1/2 teaspoon of non-iodized salt can do it. Morton’s salt, may pour when it rains, but it can also give you a nose bleed. Been there, done that, big no fun ! Don’t bother doing it yourself, learn from my mistakes.

Once you’ve go the water in the pot, stand in the tub, or in front of the sink if you’ve got a medicine cabinet there. Take off your shirt. The first time you do this, you will likely end up with the water running down your face and onto your chest. I’ve been doing for ages and that still happens to me sometimes.

Have a box of Kleenex or a twel within easy reach.

Bend over slightly, tilt your head to the left, open your mouth to breathe, and stick the spout about 1/2 inch up your nose and lift the pot to pour. Pour slowly and try not to laugh. Sometimes that’s difficult. Breathe through your MOUTH ! Eventually, the water should start to drip, then run through and out your other nostril. If it doesn’t go through at first, don’t worry, tilt your head up and let the water run out and wipe your nose. Then repeat on the other side. Sometimes if your nose is really stuffed it takes a few tries. Try not to laugh, laughing will mean you have to clean the medicine cabinet mirror.

Wipe your nose, that’s much better isn’t it ?

Side effects.

Although Neti tends to have instant effects, it does have side effects that develop over time. You will begin to notice when your nose gets clogged at a very early stage. Many people find this very useful in taking care of sinus infections before they start. You may also notice a “Clear” feeling that extends past your nose, into your forehead. You may have more energy and even become lightheaded. T his often happens about a week after you start to practice Neti daily, because you are actually getting more oxygen than you are used to. S ome people find it addicting. Your sense of smell and your sense of taste may also become more sensitive

Things that can go wrong.

The water is coming out my throat. – Tilt your head more forward. Some people like this effect. and gargle with the last bit of salt water to clear their throats and “even out”

The water burns – Too much or too little salt, can cause an unpleasant burning sensation. Change the amount of salt until the water feels “smooth”

Nose bleeds – This is usually a cumulative effect from either iodized salt or the wrong amount of salt. You can buy pre-made, “Neti wash”, if this happens to you , or you don’t trust yourself to measure it.

About using things other then a Neti pot.

As a poor college student, I tried an amazing amount of household objects, when Neti pots broke or got lost in a move. Plastic straws tend to have rough edges and can damage sensitive tissue. Been there, done that. The little plastic bulbs that are used to wash the ears of small children.. .been there and done that too. Too strong a squirt can have you coughing and uncomfortable for several hours, also a pain in the bum to refill repeatedly as so little water fits in. Trust me on this, get a Neti pot. It’s cheaper than another doctor bill.

Author’s Note : This article is meant as an over-view only. Before practicing Jala Neti or any other yoga technique, You should consult your doctor and a trained yoga instructor.

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