Have you heard of a Neti Pot? A few years ago, my yoga instructor briefly mentioned the power of the pot. But I knew little about this contraption. Let’s learn together!
After battling my third, lingering sinus infection of the year, I decided to look for alternatives to traditional medicine. With each infection, I have been prescribed antibiotics and taken over-the-counter decongestants, Flonase, and Nasonex with little to no relief. When I did get relief, it was short-lived, lasting only a couple of hours. Well, I am very ‘anti-prescription’, be that good or bad. The fact is we are an over-medicated society. A medication to definitively eradicate a problem, I can understand. But multiple antibiotics, that seem to have no effect, in an antibiotic-resistant world… Now please understand, I am talking recurrent, long-lasting sinus infections, not necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating bacteria). Everything must be taken into context. I would chew a truck-load of amoxicillin to stop flesh-eating bacteria! Anyway, I took my journey to work (wonderful, enlightened co-workers) and the internet. That’s where I came across the Neti Pot.
The Neti Pot has been around for generations. It has been used in Asian countries forever to treat sinus troubles effectively. No medication. No pain. It is simple to use, inexpensive and easy to find at any local drug store. And best of all, Dr. Oz stands by its use (Oprah show in 2007, I believe). (2) Who can argue? Well, me! Let me explain. The Neti Pot looks like a little teapot. Into this pot, you place a lukewarm (never cold) non-iodized saline solution. Most pots come with little packets of non-iodized salt, so you only need add water. Lean over a sink. Tilt your head. While closing off the back of your throat (think of making the ‘k’ sound), you insert the spout into one nare and slowly pour. The water will flow into your sinuses and out the other nare. I know. It sounds nasty. My initial thought is that I hate getting water into my nose in the pool, at the beach, or when rinsing my face. And that’s just a little. Now, I’m going to be pouring the liquid into my sinuses? It does not sound like fun!
The Neti Pot works by, essentially, ‘cleaning’ the cilia in your sinus cavity. Cilia are tiny little hairs that line your airway and help to trap irritants and debris. The theory is by rinsing the debris away, you allow them to better do their job. It is important to note that serious brain infections, leading to death, have occurred with Neti Pot use due to the use of tap water. It is important that distilled, bottled, or boiled (then cooled) water should be used to prevent this deadly amoebic infection (1). It is as important to thoroughly clean the pot after each use and not to share your pot with anyone.
Well, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Neti Pot user that doesn’t swear by them. My doctor swears by its use. If you can’t smell, you can’t taste. As I head to the drug store to make my purchase I realize that I will try almost anything for the joy of tasting food again. Update to come…
UPDATE: Well, I tried the Neti Pot. Two things…it felt very weird. Not painful at all, but something that will take some getting used to. Also, it worked! I have done it twice each day and was able to smell and taste Easter dinner. This is something that I will continue to try.
The information in this article is to be used for informational purposes only. It is NOT to be used in place of, or in conjunction with, professional medical advice. Anyone with questions regarding this or other medical issues discussed on this site must consult their physician for further information and treatment.