Nasal Irrigation: Does It Blow?

Girlfriend@Gaiam by Girlfriend@Gaiam | January 30th, 2009 | 18 Comments
topic: Girlfriend@Gaiam, Health & Wellness

What's a Neti Pot?Nope, not Aladdin’s lamp. … It’s a neti pot.

I believe alternative healthcare works. I try to use natural methods to ease my family’s symptoms before reaching for over-the-counter or prescription meds. But there’s just something about the neti pot that’s kept me from going there … What was it again? Oh yeah: It seemed too gross! (“You want me to put this where?”)

But when I saw the neti pot in action on Oprah, I realized I was being sort of ridiculous. So I tried it. And guess what: It’s transforming!

Okay, so the first time felt a teensy bit like waterboarding, but it wasn’t traumatic. And the second time I got it. While I’m not quite as efficient as this woman, it’s not the disgusting mess I anticipated, and you do feel better afterward, like you do after a workout. Alright, not that good. But really good in the sinus/nose area — like when you take your first big breath of fresh air on a beautiful, crisp day.

I’m not prone to sinus infections, but if you are, a good “blow-out” with a neti pot is probably miraculous. And it’s cheaper than a doctor’s visit to give it a try!


  1. My mom says that if you use the neti pot in the shower it’s so much less gross.

    Mary Jo Cameron | January 30th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  2. I’ve been using a neti pot for 10 years, rightst the time I started my yoga practice. it works wonders. I’ve also gotten other people to use them. they thank me every time.

    aquababie | January 30th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  3. Has anyone tried the Himilayan salt inhaler that boasts some of the same advantages of the Neti pot but without the water?

    suzanne | February 18th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  4. I switch back and forth from the neti pot and another nasal irrigation product. I love them both. I use the neti pot when i am in the shower and the other if I am using the sink.

    I love it! I feel so much better everytime I use it (almost daily). I have really bad allergies and this has helped me so much more then any nasal spray I have ever used.

    It might seem werid at first, but once you get use to it, it becomes a part of your daily routine.

    Barb | February 18th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  5. I finally tried the neti pot and almost immediately got a cold with congestion that lasted for WEEKS! Coincidence, maybe, but using it actually seemed to prolong the congestion. I WANTED to like it, but now I’m concerned about using it… I also found that it burned (the instructions said it shouldn’t)… Any insights out there?

    Jennifer | February 18th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  6. For Jennifer–

    It should not prolong the congestion. What you may have done, as I did, was not tip my head forward quite right and the water backed up into my sinuses. Hence the burn, I remember it was quite painful because I was already congested. But do try it again, it does take a bit of practice. Just make sure that you have your head tipped at an angle to the side and slightly forward. A few times I’ve had to blow my nose on one side to loosen the congestion so that the water could pass through easily and not back up into the sinus cavity. Once you have irrigated on both sides, you should dry out the excess water by bending forward at the waist and inhaling and exhaling quickly through the nose. I found this website very helpful in explaining the techniques:

    I hope that helps!

    Pim | February 18th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  7. Also, for Jennifer,

    It might also burn if you use too much salt…my instructions say 1.4 tsp w/one cup warm water. You have to make sure the water is the right temp. If it’s too cool, the salt will not dissolve (make sure it dissolves before you use it. If the water is too warm or if it’s hot, it will be VERY uncomfortable.

    Terri | February 18th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  8. Sorry that was suppose to be 1/4 teaspoon…not 1.4.

    Terri | February 18th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  9. Make sure you don’t use iodized salt. Just use pure sea salt. Also, make sure you use pure water – not chlorinated tap water.
    Iodine, chlorine, and other contaminants can bring on congestion.

    Heather Marie | February 18th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  10. I love my neti pot and always feel like I should use it as part of my everyday routine. I don’t suffer from allergies or anything but it really does clean out the sinuses and nasal passages when I use it weekly. I use distilled water and sea salt. It only burned the first few times I did it. After your nose gets used to it it feels great. But it’s similar to getting ocean water up your nose. If it does continue to sting I read that you can add a little bit of baking soda to the mixture and that will take away any of the stinging.

    Karen | February 18th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  11. I like the Neti pots. They do wonders for me when I am getting a cold, especially a head cold. A good irrigation with the Neti when I feel the cold coming on generally helps reduce the duration of the cold and congestion.

    Rebecca | February 18th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  12. I live in a very dusty and dry area and found the the neti pot is the only thing that keeps me from developing constant sinus infections. My fiance has continuous colds and won’t let me show him how to use the neti pot, which I know would help him. Any suggestions on convincing a stubborn person to use it?

    Jessica | February 20th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  13. Hey, I’ve honestly tried to do the whole Neti Pot thing to get rid of my KILLER but have had no luck doing so. It seems like they just get worse after they get better. Ya know what I’m talkin about? Have you got any 100% natural suggestions for me?

    Matthew HATES his sinuses | January 14th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  14. I think the hardest thing about nasal irrigation is getting the gumption to actually try it. But once you do, you’re usually hooked.

    To chime in with what others have said, if it’s causing discomfort, check the salt level. A good standard recipe is a slightly heaping 1/4 teaspoon of pure non-iodized salt to 8 ounces of warm, pure water. If you omit or reduce the salt, it will definitely hurt. And if your water has too much chlorine in it, you can irritate the sensitive nasal passages. Using a neti pot should never hurt or make you feel worse afterwards.

  15. I think Oprah really boosted the popularity of the neti pot — the number of people using them is on the rise in the U.S. We recently did a post about them on our blog ( As I understand it, there are three different types of nasal irrigation– saline lavage, using a warm liquid solution; humidified warm air lavage (hyperthermia); and large-particle nebulized aerosol therapy, which uses an aerosolized saline solution. Do you consider certain techniques/types of nasal irrigation better for certain conditions?? Also, there is research indicating that overuse of neti pots or other nasal irrigation techniques can actually cause more sinus infections. Are you familiar with such research? And what, I wonder, constitutes “overuse”? I would be interested to hear your thoughts!
    Thanks so much, Lee

    Lee | February 21st, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  16. … relieving sinus pressure can be address in many ways. Some of them may be unconventional but they can work.

    Connie Myers | May 23rd, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  17. I like the Neti pots. They do wonders for me when I am needing a nasal irrigation, especially a nose problem.

    Anonymous | July 19th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  18. When I feel my sinuses dripping down my thoat and I get a sore throat I use my neti pot. I have not found yet the right combo so it does burn, but I can handle the burn more than the sore throat. Have to say I love Neti and I will take the burn.

    Sandyy | December 12th, 2011 | Comment Permalink

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