By Kristina McDonald
Originating many years ago in India, the Neti Pot can now be found down an aisle in your neighborhood convenience store. It may look scary and hard to use, but this little pot may keep you from getting sick.
The word neti means nasal cleaning in Sanskrit and is used to flush out nasal congestion in your sinus cavities. It is used by pouring purified water through one nostril while tilting your head to the side, allowing the water to run through your nostril, up into your sinuses and come out of the other nostril. You might feel pressure in your head for a minute or two after you are done, but that means it is working! The pressure shows that your sinuses were clogged and you are on your way to getting ride of whatever gross stuff may be up there. Some people also add salt or a saline solution in their Neti Pots when they are very congested and their nostrils are previously irritated. In most cases, just purified water works just as well.
However, it is very important to use only filtered, distilled or sterile water as tap water may contain traces of bacteria that you do not want swimming up your nose. The bacterium has a name, Naegleria fowleri, and it is often found in lakes and springs, but can rarely make its way into the water system. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that even if by some crazy chance that bacterium is in your water, an infection through your nose and into your brain can be prevented if you use pre-boiled water. They also discuss how your neti pot should be rinsed out and dried after use.
The United States Food and Drug Administration also studied Neti Pots and informed the public of their dangers as well. “The devices are generally safe and useful products, says Steven Osborne, M.D., a medical officer in FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. But they must be used and cleaned properly.”
“The nose is like a car filter or home air filter that traps debris,” Osborne said. He understands that cleaning your nose out is crucial for optimal health.
Sarah Gourley, a junior studying nursing at the University of Florida, said that Neti Pots are not taught into UF’s curriculum as a cure for colds or sinus problems, but that she would recommend them to her future patients.
“I use mine at least a couple times a month when I am on the verge of being sick or having allergy problems,” Gourley said. “I would tell my patients to use them if they come in with a slight cold or clogged nostrils because they just get rid of all the bacteria in seconds.”
I hope the warnings of Neti Pots did not scare you away, because when used properly the benefits are tremendous. From stopping that cold from turning into a sinus infection, to helping those with sinusitis breath better, many are grateful for its transition into the United States. If this makes you feel better about buying one, Dr. Oz is a strong component and even showed Oprah how it’s done.
“They have gone from holistic happenings, to a mainstream movement,” Dr. Oz said.
After buying your Neti Pot, please watch this video demonstration for more information on how to use yours properly and get rid of those germs.