What is a Neti pot used for?
Ever wondered what the heck a Neti pot is used for? Perhaps you’ve seen them in pharmacies or advertised on TV but didn’t know what you could use them for.
A Neti pot is a popular home-based therapy for improving the microbial ecosystem and health of the nasal and sinus passages. Many people use it as one of the tools to help manage sinus congestion, reduce allergies and even to improve the microbial communities downstream in the gut.
If you are experiencing issues that are related to nasal ecosystem imbalances, it is easy to find Neti pots and sea salt nearly anywhere today. This is the one I currently use. Using a Neti pot correctly can clear out mucus and temporarily restore ease of breathing. Regular use and adjusting your lifestyle may be needed for more permanent relief. Keep in mind that regularly using a Neti pot is considered safe as long as you follow safety guidelines and use the device as directed.
How does a Neti Pot work?
The Neti pot has been used by people to clear out their nasal passages for hundreds of years! I take that as a testament to the easy use and easily gained benefits of using this simple tool.
A Neti pot looks very similar to a tea pot but unlike a tea pot, it requires the use of room temperature water with sea salt poured into the nostrils to flush out mucus. The sea salt with water creates a saline solution that can reduce microbes to some degree while breaking up mucus for easier removal.
Benefits of using a Neti pot
According to a 2009 study, saline solution may:
- cleanse your nasal cavity
- remove inflammation-causing elements (like microbes and dust, etc)
- improve the ability of your respiratory system to self-clean
In most situations, you can use the Neti pot once a day if you have sinus congestion. However, if you find it to be an effective tool for this issue, you may want to try it twice a day until your symptoms are relieved.
You can then use it regularly to help maintain the relief.
Guide to Using a Neti Pot
Use the Neti pot in a room with a sink.
- Add the saline solution to a clean, dry Neti pot.
- Bend over the sink and look straight down at the sink basin.
- Turn your head at a 45-degree angle.
- Gently press the spout of the Neti pot into the nostril closest to the ceiling.
- Make sure you create a seal between the Neti pot and your nostril. The Neti pot should NOT touch your septum.
Breathe through your mouth only during this step.
- Tip the Neti pot so that the saline solution enters your nostril.
- Keep the Neti pot tipped while the solution runs through your nostril and leaves through your other nostril into the sink or basin.
The solution will drain out of the nostril closest to the sink basin. This can feel odd initially but you will adapt to the sensation.
- Continue to pour the solution into your nostril until the Neti pot is empty.
- Once you’ve used all of the solution, remove the Neti pot from your nostril and bring your head up.
- Breathe through both nostrils to clear out your nose.
- Use a tissue to absorb any remaining saline solution and mucus that drips from your nose.
Now repeat the steps above to use the Neti pot on your other nostril.
Neti Pot Safety Tips
Neti pots can be a great solution for congestion, but it’s important to use caution when trying this form of nasal irrigation.
Here are some tips to help you use the Neti pot safely:
- Use distilled water, tap water boiled for several minutes and left to cool to a lukewarm temperature, or properly filtered water. Regular tap water may have many irritants like metals, chlorine and microbes that will interfere with your ability to benefit from this process.
- Don’t use water that’s too hot or too cold. Water that’s lukewarm or room temperature is best when using your Neti pot.
- Always clean and dry your Neti pot after each use. Wash the Neti pot with hot water and soap. Dry it thoroughly with a fresh paper towel or let it air dry.
- Discontinue use of your Neti pot if it stings your nostrils, causes ear pain or doesn’t improve symptoms. Consult a trusted health care provider to help figure out what is happening.
- Talk to a trusted health care provider trained to work with children before using a Neti pot on a young child and do NOT use a Neti pot on an infant.
Making Your Own Solution
Preparing a solution for a Neti pot can be done at home.
When doing so, it is important to use the right type and temperature of water. Remember, use distilled water, tap water boiled for several minutes and left to cool to a lukewarm temperature, or properly filtered water.
Follow these steps to create your saline solution:
- Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt to a 16-ounce glass of lukewarm water.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of gluten free/aluminum free baking soda to the glass. You can use the salt without baking soda too.
- Stir the solution.
Important note: Start with half the salt initially in a solution and gradually increase the salinity as your nostrils adjust to the process.
Summary on using Neti pots
Using a Neti pot is a safe, effective way to reduce upper respiratory congestion from the comforts of your own home. Make sure to prepare your saline solution with appropriate ingredients and clean your Neti pot well after every use.
And remember, you should only continue using a Neti pot if it relieves your symptoms. If you find the Neti pot to be ineffective after a trial use for several days or if it irritates your nasal passages, talk to a trusted health care provider for more advice.
Neti pots are only one tool for helping to manage complex health issues and may not be the right tool for your particular condition. If you need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me.