If you suffer with a blocked nose there are several things which you may try. For example, you can try out a Vicks stick (a stick contain eucalyptus essence), but these only works in moderate cases, and only for a few minutes at that. You can take it up a step and dry breathing hot moist air, by placing your head under a towel and over a pot of boiling water; it works in some cases. But for many people having a block nose is a semi- continuous condition, whereby they can’t get any lasting relief at all. So what can they do about it?
Well if you are suffering with a semi-constantly blocked nose, then one thing which you can try is neti. Neti is the ancient yogic practice of nasal cleansing. Now if you take a look at a picture of neti (see below) it is easy to note that it’s not the pretties sight, and yes you are right, it is a little uncomfortable but it does work, and if you are suffering from nasal blockage don’t you won’t o be free of this block? Well of course you do!
So legs take a closer look, starting off with the benefits of net.
Benefits of Neti:
- Neti reliefs nasal congestion
- Neti reliefs allergies
- Neti reliefs asthma
- Neti acts as a deep cleanse for the nose, removing mucus, pollen, dust and germs. Without this debris the nose becomes a far cleaner place and is less likely to have infection
- Neti prevents sore throats and other respiratory infections from developing because of its deep cleansing properties
- Neti can help to relief eye and ear problems such as myopia (short sightedness) and tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Neti can help people to give up smoking, as the sense of smell improves and a repugnance is felt when smelling the smoke
- Neti can cure snoring, if snoring is occurring due to nasal blockade
- Neti has a soothing effect on the head and brain relieving such conditions as headaches, migraine headaches, depression, anxiety and cloudy thinking
- Neti improves concentration
- Neti improves visualisation abilities
- Neti boost psychic abilities
- Neti aids clarity of thought
How to Perform Neti:
First of all you will require a neti pot, in order to perform neti. However, equally important is the water that you use. Back in 2011 two people died from a severe bacterial infection, in America, when they used tap water!
Tap water is safe to use, in some countries, while not in others. However, as we can see in these two cases of death in America, even tap water can suffer from some degree of infection. While neti is a great way to cleanse the nose, because we are allowing water such deep access into our nose, even small amounts of bacterial infection can be hazardous. So it is vitally important that you use clean water.
So either use sterilised water, from a trusted source, or boil the tap water and allow it to simmer for 10 minutess, so as to kill off any possible bacterial, viral or microbial infections. Then leave it so sit until it is tepid.
Also, the water should be a saline solution. So mix in one teaspoon of non-iodised salt in with 2 cups (400ml-3/4 of a point) of sterile water.
Now that you have your saline water lets go ahead with the neti procedure.
- Fill the neti pot and lean over a sink.
- Keep your face down, but your nose should be slightly higher than your lips
- Twist your head to the left.
- Breathe in through your mouth while inserting the neti pot into the let nostril and make sure it is a secure fit (not too loose and not too tight).
- Raise the handle of the neti pot and let the water pour out gently.
- Let the water flow over the septum and out through the right nostril.
- When the pot is empty breathe out through both nostrils so as to clear them out. Relax and take several breaths and then repeat the procedure on the opposite side.
- After you have completed both sides, stand over the sink and blow through both nostrils, several times so as to clear out any remaining saline solution and mucus form the nose.
Image Credit: Breigh Hammarlund
Things to Keep in Mind While performing NetI:
- While performing neti it is likely, at first that some water will trickle down into the mouth and throat. The remedy for this is to lower the head slightly.
- If your nose stings, reduce the salt levels.
- If the water doesn’t come out the other side or comes out very slowly, stop, blow your nose and try again. It might take several attempts, over the course of a week or so before you master the technique. So expect restrictions and either no flow of water or to much. After a few days you will get the hang of it and slow the blocked mucus and debris will begin to wash away after a few attempts.
- Also watch out for sinus headaches. If you keep your head too low, some water might enter the frontal sinus area and cause a headache. So don’t keep your head too low, rather keep your head slightly lower than your nostrils, but not by much.
- Watch out for blocked ears. This can happen if you turn your head too much to one side. In which case try moving your head from side to side and yawing a little, so as to remove this block.
So in summary, getting neti right requires some trial and error. You have to have your head at an angle, but if it’s set too much of an angle problems will occur. So just learn by trial and error, give it a week or two to get into it and you will be ok
Precautions when using Neti:
1). Clean Water: Always use either sterilised water or boiled water and mix into a saline solution. Do not use tap water or water lying around in a bottle somewhere for months!
2).Clean the Neti Pot: The nostrils are powerful filters which protect the body against all sorts of infections. But this also means that they possess a large quantity of bacterial and viral properties. So each time you use the neti pot, make a point of cleaning it properly. Ideally in a dish washing machine, if not then use a good quality washing up liquid or soap bar. Wash thoroughly and leave to dry. Do not share with others, keep your net pot just for you own use and clean overtime.
3). Overuse: Like all hatha yoga techniques neti is really powerful, and many people who suffer from a blocked nose get a great benefit from neti. However, some research by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 1, suggests that people who perform neti on a daily or near daily basis, are far more likely to suffer from rhinitis on a regular basis. This may sound unusual but just think about it for a minute. When we go to the pool often the water over activates the sinuses resulting in either a lot of mucus release and or a blocked nose. So it is reasonable to expect that if neti is used too frequently that it may result in inflammation of the sinus.
So what is the cure?
The cure is to use neti intermittently, as in no more than 3 weeks straight. Use neti to cleanse the nostrils and of course to bring about a release of build-up of toxins and tension, in the head, and then take a break for a few weeks. Use but don’t abuse neti!
Neti in Daily Life
Neti is a relatively simple procedure, which can do a great deal of benefit for anyone and is particularly beneficial for people who suffer from a blocked nose. It only takes a couple of minutes to perform and its discomfort and awkwardness, will give away within the first week or so of daily use.
Like many yogic practices, it feels a little awkward if you have not tried it before, but it really makes sense as a purification procedure. Certainly its worth your while giving net a try, especially is you suffer with a blocked nose, it will give you the relief you’re looking for as well as enhancing your body, mind and emotions on so many levels. So give neti an honest go for 2 weeks and see how it goes, if you like it continue it and if you don’t then s imply stop and of course follow the precautions listed above and remember use it, don’t abuse it
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Meeting, Miami Beach, Fla., Nov. 5-10, 2009.