Prepare your neti pot using purified warm water and raw salt (approximately 1/2 teaspoon to one cup of water; the aim is for the warmth and salinity to mimic our blood)
- Firmly block one nostril with the neti pot, tipping the head the opposite way
- Swallow once and then breathe steadily through the mouth. Depending on how blocked the nose is this may take a little while, or it may pour easily through.
- Repeat on the other side.
- If desired, this technique has a third stage that involves pouring water into the nose, and letting it out through the mouth.
- Softly blow the nose afterwards to clear any remaining water.
The first line of nasal defence is the tiny hair called “cilia” which should block larger particles entering the nose. These cilia are usually cleansed by normal breathing and if necessary blowing the nose, but sometimes,, they can become clogged and may require washing out. The second line in the entire nasal passage is a layer of mucus which traps smaller foreign particles and bacteria. This mucous is also either blown out, or swallowed and broken down in the stomach. The sinus passages then have an even finer mechanism of filtering.
In the first stage, the water simply flows up one nostril to just above the bridge of the nose where the usual air flows meet, backwards into the middle cavity and then the water flows down and out the other nostril. On its route, it passes through and cleans the frontal and mid nasal sinuses. If correctly carried out there should be no flow of water back towards the throat or into the mouth.
In the latter stages, the water flows through the entire nasal cavity, down the back of the naso-pharynx to exit the mouth. In this route, it additionally passes by the post-nasal sinuses. Ideally, at no stage, should any water go up into the sinus passages or the Eustachian tubes, however, this may happen if the practitioner breathes incorrectly or blows too strongly when drying. This can be uncomfortable, but is not damaging.
The water helps to cleanse the nasal passages both directly by flushing the area, but also, indirectly by creating a vacuum effect that then draws build up from the cavities of the sinuses.
Finally, we do not advise that this is a daily practice for you if this is not necessary. As with anything, over use of this technique will both reduce its efficacy when it is needed, and risks dampening your bodies natural mechanisms of cleaning the sinuses.
About the Author
Chris founded YogaTherapies in 2015 with the intention of building a diligent, and dedicated space for the highest quality of practice and study to develop in.
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