Neti Pot: A Natural High

February 26th, 2009

Despite all the effort and money people invest into feeling good, many neglect one of the most effective and inexpensive resources available – oxygen!

Although we often take it for granted, proper breathing is a foundational factor of good health. Each of our trillions of cells depends on oxygen which means that our health and well being do as well.

Even with excellent breathing technique, if our nasal passages and sinuses are restricted, we still won’t get the abundant amount of oxygen we need to support optimal health. Using a neti pot is a simple practice that can prevent this.

What is a Neti Pot

Shown to the right, a neti pot is a container used to clean the nasal passages and sinuses by pouring water into one nostril and letting it flow through the sinuses and out of the other nostril. This helps to eliminate germs, pollutants, irritants, and excess mucus, and in turn, frees up the nasal passages and sinuses for easier breathing.

The Natural High

Many of us live with nasal passages that are constantly restricted. Using a neti pot to clear the restriction reestablishes the ability to breathe deeply through the nose. Afterward, a deep and unrestricted inhalation can be so invigorating that it feels like a natural high. It’s amazing how much better this can make you feel, and based on the dire need our cells have for oxygen, it’s obviously good for our health as well.

Using a neti pot is such an effective way to improve breathing that it promotes mental clarity, relaxation, energy flow, and is commonly used prior to yoga practice and meditation.

A Balanced Nervous System

An interesting aspect of breathing is that each nostril is tied to an opposing side of the autonomic nervous system. This is the part of our body that allows us to function without thinking and is why forgetting to breathe is impossible. The right nostril is associated with the sympathetic nervous system which supports our reaction to stress and our capacity for stimulating activity, and the left nostril is tied to the parasympathetic nervous system and it’s control of immunity, digestion, and recovery.

As common sense suggests, it’s important to maintain balance between the two sides of the autonomic nervous system. The fast pace of modern life makes this hard enough without the added difficulty of restricted breathing. If one nostril is restricted more than the other, it can excessively stimulate a single side of the autonomic nervous system, and in turn, influence our behavior and our health. For example, a restricted left nostril may promote anger, anxiety, and aggression while a restricted right nostril can cause fatigue and lack of motivation.

Take a moment to push one of your nostrils closed and inhale. After repeating this on the opposite nostril, you’ll likely notice that one side is restricted.

Better Resistance to Allergies and Sickness

Many people who have sinus problems tend to also have allergies and easily get sick. Using a neti pot helps to mobilize the mucus that can become stagnant and allow germs and irritants to accumulate. For some people, this makes a tremendous difference and eliminates the need to use toxic medications.

How to Use a Neti Pot

Although it can take a bit of practice, using a neti pot is fairly simple. With your head above a sink or bowl, and with a neti pot full of water, you insert the end of it’s spout gently and securely into your nostril, tilt your head forward and sideways, and tip the neti pot so that the water pours into your nose.

To avoid irritating the lining of your nasal passages and sinuses, it’s important that you use warm water with dissolved salt to match the fluid content of your tissue. If possible, use filtered water with pure pharmaceutical grade salt or organic sea salt to avoid exposure to chemical toxins and irritants. The recommended amount of salt to use in one full neti pot is typically a quarter teaspoon.

It’s most effective to use an entire pot of water for each nostril, but if you’d prefer, a half pot for each nostril may be sufficient. However, if you have a lot of congestion, even a whole pot might not be enough to completely clear it. As such, it’s often necessary to use the neti pot on a regular basis, perhaps even several times a day. In my experience, consistent use has provided the best results.

Buying a Neti Pot

Neti pots are typically made of ceramic, stainless steel, or plastic. While ceramic and stainless steel are less likely to leech chemicals into the water, plastic is easier to travel with. The neti pot I use is made by Ancient Secrets.

You’ll also need to buy salt, and as I previously mentioned, you should use pure pharmaceutical grade salt or organic sea salt. I recommend either Himalayan Institute’s pharmaceutical grade salt or Celtic Sea Salt.

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