Adventures in Neti Potting

Via Kelsi Coia
on Jun 1, 2010
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Neti Pot: Useful tool for health and hygiene or personal water-boarding contraption?

Hello Elephants!

Welcome to allergy season!! For many of you this wonderful time of year is filled with stuffy noses and itchy eyes. I am so lucky to be one of those blessed nose-blowing, sneezing few. Each year, I promise myself that I will stop relying on various over-the-counter allergy meds and try something less chemical and more “natural.”

I’ve tried eating tons of honey. Although this method was delicious, it did not work. I kept sneezing and itching.

I’ve tried chugging water and apple cider vinegar. This method was not delicious and did not work. (So gross)

I’ve tried eating bee pollen. This method was not delicious, did not work, and, in fact, made me feel worse. I went into a mildly-serious allergic reaction where my throat swelled up and I got very nauseous. Awesome.

After hearing all the hullabaloo about these Neti pots, I figured I might as well try one out. What’s the worst that could happen?

Neti pots are originally from India, although now you can find them at your local grocery, like I did. They’re known to help with allergies/hay fever and sinus infections, or anything else you may need some “nasal irrigation” for.

To use a nedi pot, you fill it with warm water and a small (approximately 1/4 teaspoon) of non-iodized salt (or you can buy fancy “nedi pot salt”). Then you stick that sucker in your nose, tilt your head and water comes out the other nostril. For an awesome demo, please enjoy this video…

I’ve always been a little weary of neti pots. To  me, they seem like a torture mechanism. I don’t know about you elephants, but generally I don’t enjoy getting water up my nose.

But, like I said, I’m trying to kick the benedryl and still be able to function in society.

So tonight I pulled out my new sea-foam-green neti pot, filled it with the appropriate salt/water mixture and hopped in the shower (I’ve been told it is easiest to neti in the shower). I leaned my head left, smooshed the neti spout into my right nostril and started tipping. At first, I felt like my brain was going to drown. Water kept pouring into my nose, and none was coming out. Then the stream started out the left nostril, and ahhhh release. I have to admit, it felt pretty darn good. The inside of my head felt cleaner than it ever has.

“Deeee-lightful!” I thought as I prepared myself for the left-side hose-down. I inserted the neti spout and tilted my head, just like the right side and started pouring. I felt the same “drowning brain” sensation like before, only it just kept getting worse. I decided to keep pouring, in hopes that maybe I could reach a point of enough pressure to push the water out…

Wrong. Instead of coming out my nose, the water came out my mouth.


Not only do I still feel stuffy from allergies, I know feel like I’ve undergone some sort of water-boarding experiment gone wrong. One side of my nose is happy and clean, and the other is a stuffy mess. I’m unbalanced. And as a Libra, that is just not something I’m OK with.

So I’m writing to you all, dear elephants. Help me!!! Do you have any neti-tips? I’ve tried different head and pot positions, but nothing is working yet. What do I do? I’m ready to give up completely and resign to a life of antihistamines and drowsiness for the next four months. I’m desperate. I’m stuffy. I’m a mess!



About Kelsi Coia

Kelsi is a geography nerd who researches tourism and cowboys. She is currently halfway through a master's program at Wageningen University.


7 Responses to “Adventures in Neti Potting”

  1. KelsiC says:

    Hi Medea! Thank you so much for the help (obviously I need as much of it as I can get). I'm going to attempt another round of neti tonight, and I will definitely use your suggestions. Thanks again!!! 🙂 Kelsi

  2. Clontarf yogi says:

    Kelsi, go high tech neti, check out Sinu rinse, so simple its brilliant. Plastic bottle with dip tube and nozzle. Simply fill with solution, hold up to nostril as in traditional neti and squeeze bottle.

  3. ARCreated says:

    Yep Yep Yep…I usually do my rinse at the end of my shower to allow the steam to help loosen things up. I lean WAY forward and I use the "high tech" neti (hehe clontarf) I find the squeeze bottle allows me to break through more stubborn issues.
    and PLEASE use the filtered water. Although I was getting "good" results with my neti wash for years I found I nearly trippled my results with filtered water…I just know the chlorine was aggravating my sinuses. NO anhistamines 🙁 I would suggest taking a allergy relief supplement that utilizes natural histamine blockers in addition to the neti pot (allerrelief works for me) Don't give up it is totally worth it in the long run. Let us know how it goes!

  4. I like the comments. Here are a few more. I find that it's good to do some gentle neck rotations first, in both directions before using the neti pot. That's especially helpful, since people tend to use the neti pot fairly soon after waking. I heat the water a little, and get a sense of the right temperature by feeling it with my finger first, then sampling a little on the outside of my nose, first before inhaling the liquid.
    I think that regular use of the neti pot really helps my breathing — it's one of the things that really helped me with asthma, another being a breathing technique from the Buteyko method, very simple, deserves it own posting. I've also eaten macrobiotically for a long time, and that's also very cleansing to the body. Hope that folks give the neti pot a try, if they haven't used it before.

  5. KelsiC says:

    I'm on the hunt for one! Thanks for the tip!

  6. […] Neti pot: Also known as a ‘nose bidet’, a neti pot is used to pour warm, slightly salty water through the nasal passages and sinuses. Neti pots are used in India and South Asia as a safe and effective way for treating eye complaints, sinusitis, asthma, the common cold, nasal congestion and respiratory ailments. […]

  7. It truly is much better to give than to be given!