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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Do You Neti?

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).


Shephard said...

I would never have guessed I'd visit your site, and you'd tell me to pour salt in my nose.

But this makes perfect sense.
I bet I can find one of these pots at our Whole Foods.

Gonna tell my friend Wendy.

Shephard said...

Please tell me Kellie is also pouring salt in her nose, because for some reason, that thought just tickles me.


Jessica said...

I do believe WF does carry them. They may even have the salt.

Kellie has yet to pertake in this ritual but the thought tickles me, too!


Wendy said...

Well now ... Shephard told me to come check this out. My mom (a Reiki master) has been telling me for over a year now to use the neti ... she does and swears by it. I just couldn't get my mind around pouring water up my nose. It's uncomfortable enough when it happens accidentally in the pool or something! But, ... since my sinuses are full and my head aches right now, I think I'm willing to try it. Tell me ... how much of the essential oil mixture do you add to your neti pot? Do you use the whole 8 ounces of water at once? It seems like alot. Then again ... my nose is pretty big!!

Jessica said...

Mmmm...Reiki, that is such a great way to heal!

It's so different from getting pool, or even ocean, water up your nose. The salinity is different so it doesn't bother the nose. For me, the only thing that was a bit uncomfortable was when it dripped into the back of my throat; it tasted like salt water and freaked me out at first but the little bit of water actually soothed the back of my throat. Now if I get a sore throat, I just tilt my head to get the throat drip on purpose. It just takes a bit of getting used to.
I use 1/2 tsp of the essential oil/salt mix per 8oz. I pour between 4oz and 8oz in each nostril. My pot holds 8oz so usually I just split that between the two when I take a shower. You can do it several times a day and it wouldn't be too much. It seemed like a lot to me a first as well but you get used to (addicted to) it super fast!

Let me know if you try it!

Shephard said...

I poured salt in Golly's nose. He would like to talk to you.


Wendy said...

LOL! Shephard!!! Ok ... I guess I owe my mom a HUGE apology!! Though I still think it's pretty gross ... I CANNOT TELL YOU how GOOD my nose feels at this very moment!! I had Hub truck me on over to Wholefoods and I bought myself a Neti pot and a tub of the most expensive salt I've ever seen!! (Himalania Pink Salt) I just now used my pot and ... AND .. I didn't screw it up! I never swallowed a drop and I did both sides and and and ... well, WOW! My sinuses have been bugging the hell outta me lately. I will do this EVERYDAY from now on! I'll most likely do it at night though, as I don't have enough time in the shower in the a.m. You know, my pot (made by Ancient Secrets) said to use regular table salt, as sea salt can be irritating. I used Pink salt ... which does not say sea salt - or table salt. I guess I need to study salt next! Jessica .. thank you. SHEPHARD! Thank YOU for giving me that one last nudge that my mom had started!

Shephard said...

Ok, this is too funny. Because I come home from Whole Foods with my new Neti pot, and I open my email to find Wendy telling me to run right out now and buy a Neti pot... lol
I haven't tried it yet. But I think our calendars are open tonight.
We also have the pink Himalayan salt.
Thanks Jessica!
(it's only a matter of time, Kellie)

Jessica said...

Hello my little converts!! The neti invocation is tonight at midnight.

I'm SO glad your sinuses are feeling relief now, Wendy. It's great stuff.
That pink salt is the deal. In my humble opinion, I believe that TABLE salt is more irritating. The process that is goes through to clean it is enough to make you want to not even have it in your kitchen. You can't get more natural than sea salt. I've heard (but not tried it) that the black sea salt (WF has it) is pretty good if you have green gunk from the flu because they've added natural activated charcoal to it which is very "drawing" and removes a lot of mucus. I haven't had any green gunk or anything since using the neti so I may not even get to try it.

Shephard~let me know how it turns out...from your pic you sent, looks like you are getting the hang of it! :)

Jessica said...

P.S. Maybe Golly would prefer tuna juice in his neti

Wendy said...

Oh you guys crack me up! I'll be there at midnight! Yup - I love this pot and I even got Hub to try it. He loved it too!! We're converts!!

utenzi said...

Shephard allerted me to your post on this, Jessica. I've got lots of sinus problems and whilte the thought of pouring salt water into my nose scares me--I think I'll give it a try. Right now I use a hot-type humidifier and it helps but actual irrigation *gulp* would be more direct...

Thanks for a very interesting post!