Pouring salt water in my nostrils was never my idea of a good time. However once I started the interesting, soothing art of jala neti, my life has not been the same.
Jala neti is the name for nasal irrigation that has been done by yogis and ayurvedic professionals in India for generations. Using a neti pot, you pour salt water into one nostril until it drains out of the opposite nostril. This cleans and soothes sinuses, relieves pressure and congestion, helps prevent colds and most importantly, practically eradicates allergies (it did wonders for me). The "wash" generally consists of approximately 8oz water and approximately 1/2 tsp of salt. Sea salt should always be used instead of table salt which has been subject to a lot of processing. I use a flaked salt, which dissolves more quickly, and add essential oils to it (recipe below). I bought my neti pot and bulk salt from dhyana Center. Neti pots are becoming more readily available at health food stores and yoga centers. The pot made by a small woman-owned company in California called Red Hot Ceramics (you can call them directly at 866-REDHOT2).
When I first tried jala neti, it was weird and I had drainage down my throat as well as my nostrils. Tilting my head into a better position and breathing in a different way solved that problem. Now I have the pot in the shower and do it every day (sometimes twice). I used to have the worst allergies, now I rarely have an incident. It is easy to add it to your daily hygiene routine and so beneficial for your sinus and immune health. If you scroll to the bottom of this page, it will give more detailed directions on how to use the neti pot and salt. Don't give up if it's not completely successful the first time because it's worth the effort to get it right.
A great book on the subject, Neti: Healing Secrets of Yoga and Ayurveda. It discusses various forms of neti including jala and advanced uses.
Neti Salt recipe:
1c. flaked sea salt (preferably Himalayan)
10 drops Lavender essential oil
5 drops Rosemary essential oil
5 drops Lemon essential oil
3 drops White Camphor essential oil
1/4 dropper full Licorice extract
1/4 dropper full ginger extract (or 5 drops ginger essential oil)
Mix all together in a glass bowl and store in an air-tight container (preferably glass).