Over the last several years the neti pot has gotten a lot of media attention. For three years I had the great pleasure of working with and living next door to the man who designed and developed the most popular neti pot on the market. As such, I have a few insights on the matter. The neti pot saline rinse is classified as one of the primary Karma Kriyas, or cleansing actions, in India’s medical system. Saline rinse has been a part of many cultures throughout history, but our current neti pot health trend stems from the growing popularity of yoga. For yogi’s, neti kriya is an important preparatory practice that leads to pranayama, or breath control practice. While most of us won’t be doing pranayama, the health benefits that the
neti pot offers make it worth having.
There is one key word that you need to think about with neti pot: mucus. Basically, by using the neti pot regularly, you support a healthy mucus layer in your nose. This nose mucus is part of our immune system. One of its functions is to capture and hold large debris and other icky things that enter our nose as we inhale. This sticky fly-paper property keeps pathogens and debris from getting deeper into our sinuses and lungs. Our body naturally restores and cleanses this mucus by pushing the old debris filled mucus down into our stomach to be burned. Problems arise when our nose mucus becomes dry and thick. This causes the mucus to lose its stickiness, and thus decreases its effectiveness. Once the mucus thickens and dries, our bodies have a harder time moving it down into our stomach, which leads to further build-up. Consider any pathogens trapped in your mucus as time bombs. Do you want them lingering? So how does the neti pot work? The answer is very simple. By running salt water over the mucus membranes, you keep them healthier and your mucus thinner. Thin mucus flows more easily to the stomach. The immune system components at the nose work at peak performance. You stay healthier. End of story. We buy a “neti pot” mostly so that we don’t make a HUGE mess while trying to get the salt water rinse up into our nose. Trust me, it’s worth it. Neti kriya practice is not for everyone. However, it is a viable wellness option. Many people report that it increases their immunity and mental focus, minimizes sinus irritations, eliminates some of their headaches, and creates a deeper energetic balance throughout their whole being.
REMEMBER: Several food categories cause the body to create excessive mucus. Unfortunately dairy is one of the worst for this. Mucus also dries out when we breathe lots of dry air. Like, when our home heating systems are turned on all winter long. Basically, we live in a climate and are part of a culture that makes us susceptible to those exact nose mucus problems that the neti pot helps regulate.
CAUTION: Neti has very few side effects. However, it can create too much dryness in the nose and sinuses from its frequent use. If that happens, talk to an expert about nasya practice. In my many years of using it, the most common issues people have with neti pot practice are simple mental obstacles and aversions.