Tuesday, May 3, 2011

To neti pot or not?

Last week I had a nasty cold. (This is the last time you'll hear about it. It was just that bad.) It had been going strong for about five days when I started to feel weird pressure in my cheek bones. I have never had sinus pressure before, but this was it. What a yucky feeling! I told Husband about it, and he decided it was time for me to try his neti pot.


I first saw the neti pot several years ago on Oprah with Dr. Oz. You see, I tried it a couple of years ago, and I vowed to never do it again. It was a horrible experience. It felt like I had pool water not just up my nose but sloshing around in my head, and I thought I was going to drown myself. Such an uncomfortable feeling. I had no interest in repeating that.

Husband has been using a neti pot for several years. He's had sinus problems ever since he had a second round of wisdom teeth surgery, and the doctor nicked a hole into his sinus. He uses his neti pot several times a week and tells of his great results.

After five days of stuffy nose annoyance and the beginnings of a sinus infection, I was starting to get desperate. Husband, or should I say my neti pot Master Sensei, as he referred to himself, convinced me to give nasal irrigation another shot and offered to show me the ropes.

I was nervously laughing and not sure I could do it, but I did. It worked, and it was a success. I'll spare you the gory details, but let's just say I could finally breathe after getting all that gunk out and the sinus pressure was gone. It worked so well that I have used it three times since with great results each time. I'm finally, FINALLY, feeling better today.

Master Sensei's top tips:
  • Use warm water. I made the mistake of using water that was too cold the first time. It burned like crazy. You want it warm but not hot. Something similar to body temperature is best because it will be the most comfortable going inside your body.
  • Add enough salt. I also made the mistake of not adding enough salt the first time I tried it. This also made it burn. Your body appreciates a nice saline solution much more than plain water because it's less irritating. A general guide is 1/4 teaspoon salt to 8 ounces of water. You can also add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda which can make the solution a little more gentle.
  • Tilt your head forward. Don't lift your head up to watch in the mirror. Water doesn't come spilling out of your nostrils like this very often, so you'll be interested in watching, but keep your head tilted forward so the water doesn't run down the back of your throat instead of out your nose. You'll figure the angle out pretty quickly, and you can probably still get a quick peek.
  • Blow. Blow that gunk out with full force, both nostrils at the same time. You'll be amazed.
The great benefits of nasal irrigation are simple - you clean out the gunk and dust in your nose. This allows you to breathe easier, relieve pressure, and simply feel better. It's great for when you are sick, and it will also help with chronic sinus problems and allergies. I think Husband didn't get the nasty cold like the rest of the family did because he rinsed it out of his nose early on and avoided the full-blown version.

I just might be a nose rinsing, neti pot convert.

Have you ever tried a neti pot?
Have you had success with nasal irrigation?


  1. Hi Laura! I'm Spence's friend, Winter. He shamelessly plugged your blog the other day, so I thought I'd come check it out. Neti pots = LOVE! I have the same problem that he does, the hole in my sinuses... the neti pot does wonders! I'm so glad it worked out for you! :)

  2. Hi Winter! Thanks for stopping by. It's fun to hear about other people that love neti pots. I thought they were weird and freaky until I finally got the hang of it. Now, I think they are fantastic.

  3. Oh man, maybe I am doing this wrong. I got an ear infection from using this. Any suggestions for next time?

  4. Yes lots of people using netty pots in a wrong way than they complain that the netty pots are not working well. You are describing them the proper way how to use them. In-fact I am one of them :)

  5. crazybeautifulteaching - Oh, ouch! That's no fun. Try using the suggestions above and see if it helps next time. Like I mentioned, I had an awful experience the first time I used a neti pot, too. Good luck!


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