Although practicing Neti pot or Jal Neti therapy is a simple, safe and cost effective procedure, it’s important that it should be done in a proper way. Following the correct procedures and taking all safety measures helps prevent infection or re-infection.
In this article, we’re going to look at how to use a Neti pot correctly. Follow the step by step instructions to learn the correct handling and practicing of Neti pot or Jal Neti therapy. To ensure maximum benefits please read and follow the instructions carefully.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this article.
The Neti Pot (Jal Neti) How To Use A Neti Pot Correctly Precautions And Limitations How Often Can You Use A Neti Pot? Benefits Of Jal Neti: The Yogic Perspective Research In Support Of Nasal Irrigation When To See The Doctor
READ MORE: Neti Pots For Colds, Sinus Infections, Tinnitis, How To Fight The Flu With Ayurveda
The Neti Pot (Jal Neti)
The Neti pot or Jal Neti therapy is an ancient technique. It’s been passed on for thousands of years by yogis for both physical as well as deeper spiritual benefits.
According to the Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, the ancient yogic text, it is one of the six purification techniques of Shatkarma Yoga.1 Yoga experts advise this therapy in problems related to the supraclavicular region (urdhvajatrugata roga). Its practice is on the rise in the U.S. and many allergy and sinus sufferers are turning to it as an alternative to overcome the unpleasant side effects of medication.
The Neti pot is a specially designed simple irrigation pot with a capacity of 200 ml, about 7 ounces. It has a long tapered stout to facilitate nasal irrigation (neti kriya) using lukewarm saline water.
Here’s a step by step procedure to illustrate how to use a Neti pot correctly. It’s important to use a Neti pot correctly, so be sure to follow the steps.
1. Wash The Neti Pot
In order to prevent any germs from entering into the body, one should first wash the Neti pot with hot water and soap. Dry it completely before using.
2. Make The Salt Solution
After the Neti pot completely dries, it is filled with lukewarm water. Now, non-iodized salt is mixed into this lukewarm water in the proportion of one teaspoon for every half liter of water. This is called an isotonic solution, the same as human blood. Ensure the salt is thoroughly mixed with the water.
3. Choose The Location And Posture
Traditionally, Jal neti therapy is performed while squatting on the toes in crow posture (Kagasana). However, many yoga experts also suggest that it can be performed over a sink, over a bowl on a table, in the shower or outside.
4. Observe The Nostrils
First, check through which nostril the breathing is clear by drawing air in and out separately through each nostril. Insert the spout into the nostril through which the breathing is open and clear and take the head position for nasal irrigation. To clarify, the spout of the Neti pot is first placed in the nostril through which the breathing is easier.
The spout of the Neti pot is first placed in the nostril through which the breathing is easier.
Ensure to point the spout straight up in line with the nasal passage so as to prevent the blocking of the tip of the nozzle inside of the nose. Open the mouth and breathe gently through the mouth only and bend the head in the opposite direction to facilitate the flow of water out from the other nostril.
5. Begin To Flush
Now start pouring the water from the Neti pot slowly, by slightly tilting it at a 45 degree angle, allowing the water to slowly seep inside the nostril. Keep the nozzle of the Neti pot fully sealed into the nostril so that it doesn’t leak. Keep the whole body relaxed and let the lukewarm saline water come out the other nostril.
6. Breathe Only Through The Mouth
During this procedure, open your mouth and breathe gently through the mouth. Try not to sniff, swallow, laugh, talk or have any movement of air through the nose while the water is flowing through.
7. Remove Excess Water
After half of the water is used, remove the neti pot, remain bent forward, center the head and let the water come out of the nose. Before changing sides, blow out gently through both nostrils to clear any remaining water and mucous from the nasal cavity. If the saline water runs down into the throat simply spit it out.
Repeat the same process from the other nostril. Use the other half remaining saline solution and repeat steps 4 through 8 to clear out the other nostril.
9. Dry Out The Nose
Drying the nose properly is a very important part of this practice. Otherwise there are chances one could catch a cold. For this purpose, follow these three steps.
a. Forward Bending: First bend forwards from the waist and hang the head upside down with the nose pointing towards the floor. Let any residual water drain from the nose. Then point the nose towards the knees. In each position, gently breathe in the mouth and out the nose about ten times. A few droplets of water may run down.
b. Breathing Technique (Kapal Bhati Pranayam): Sit comfortably with spine erect. Place your hands on the knees, palms open to the sky. Take a deep breath in. Now start exhaling. During exhalation, pull the stomach along with the navel backward towards the spine comfortably. As you relax the navel and abdomen, the breath flows into your lungs automatically. Practice this for ten breaths.
c. Rapid Sniff Breathing: Rapid continuous sniffing for at least ten times is done through both the nostrils alternately by closing the other one at the same time with thumb. Finally, do ten breaths again through both nostrils together. This process clears and dries the nose.
10. Clean The Neti Pot
Wash the Neti pot with hot water and mild soap, and rinse it well after each use, leaving it open to air dry. Avoid sharing your Neti pot with anyone else.
Precautions And Limitations of Jal Neti
The Neti pot is generally safe and effective when performed in the right way as described here. However, Yoga therapists opine that there are some limitations and precautions which one should follow while performing this procedure.
Those suffering from chronic nose bleeds or high blood pressure should not perform nasal irrigation (Neti) without expert guidance.
One should not practice or attempt to teach anyone else unless fully competent and confident in this technique.
Water, salt and the Neti pot itself should be clean.
Generally, water should not be very hot, very cold or very salty. Sterile water, boiled then cooled (lukewarm) is used to prevent any chances of infection. Warm water, mildly higher than body temperature, eases the dissociation of mucus without causing any irritation to the mucosa. An isotonic concentration of saline water is preferred as a hyper- or hypo- tonic solution can cause nasal irritation. Non-iodized salt for salination of water is generally used as iodine present in iodized salt may increase nasal inflammation.
Salt should be fully dissolved in the water before pouring it into the nose.
During the procedure, adjustment of the position of the head and the pot should be at the correct levels. That is, one should not hold the Neti pot in a very low position.
One should not try to inhale through the nose during this procedure.
When drying the nose, all the steps should not be done very forcefully. If one feels dizzy while drying the nose then this step can be done while standing upright.
Generally, there can be a slight stinging sensation or mild irritation during the first few attempts at the Neti pot. But this will disappear as the nose tissue becomes accustomed to being in contact with saline water.
Ears can pop while doing Neti pot or Jala Neti therapy. This may happen when the water is flowing through and the pressure in the eustachian tubes is released, or during blowing out and drying the nose. This is nothing to be concerned about, according to the yogic literature.
Benefits Of Jala Neti: A Yogic Perspective
Neti can remove all the dirt and bacteria filled mucus from within the nose.
It helps to drain the sinus cavities which can help in preventing nasal infections, fever, allergies, sinusitis and other upper respiratory complaints like sore throats, coughs, inflammation of the tonsils and more.
It aids in dealing with asthma and bronchitis as it eases the breathing process. It can be beneficial in headaches, migraine, epilepsy, high temper, hysteria, depression and general mental tension conditions as it has a cooling and calming effect on the mind and nervous system.
It helps to flush out the tear ducts and encourages clear vision. It helps in reducing tinnitus and middle ear infections. It helps to clear the nasal passages and improves the sensitivity of the olfactory nerves thereby restoring the sense of smell. It also benefits the relationship with taste and the digestive processes.
Yogis believe that regular practice of Neti affects the psychic center which helps in awakening higher states of meditation.
It helps to stimulate the power of concentration and gives a feeling of lightness and clarity to the mind.
It helps in quitting a smoking addiction since it aids in re-sensitizing the nose to the actual pollution of ingesting smoke, thereby de-programming the brain to physical and psychological addiction.
According to Yoga therapists, practicing Neti pot for general nasal cleanliness, as a preventive measure once or twice a day is usually sufficient. Further it is said that nasal cleansing is best practiced first thing in the morning to clear out the night’s grogginess and to prepare the body for the day’s breathing activities. It can also be practiced in the evening time. It is practiced on an empty stomach.
Research In Support Of Nasal Irrigation
Multiple studies have concluded that nasal irrigation “improves sinus-related quality of life, decreases symptoms, and decreases medication use in patients with frequent sinusitis.”2,3
Another research study shows that topical saline can be used as an alternative treatment for symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis.4
READ MORE: 8 Step Ayurvedic Morning Ritual, An Ayurveda Breakfast: 10 Healthy Breakfast Ideas From Ancient Indian Wellness
When To See The Doctor
Before following this blog on what is neti pot and how to use a neti pot, seek the advice of your doctor or health care provider to determine whether nasal rinsing (Neti pot or Jal Neti therapy) will be safe or effective in your current condition.
If symptoms are not relieved or worsen after this procedure or if you suffer from fever, nosebleeds or headaches while practicing Neti pot or Jal neti therapy, please see a doctor and discontinue use.
Please note that Neti pot or Jal neti therapy when done in a proper way is considered safe and effective according to the yogic science. But like any other yogic practice it is advised to learn this therapy from an expert yoga practitioner before trying this at home.
References 1. G.S. Sahay, Swami Swatmarama (15th century CE) Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, Chapter 2, verse 30, Yogic Heritage India. 2. Rabago. D,“Efficacy of daily hypertonic saline nasal irrigation among patients with sinusitis:A randomized controlled trial”. The Journal of family practice 51(12): 1049–1055.PMID 12540331. 3. Rabago, D,“The Efficacy of Hypertonic Saline Nasal Irrigation for Chronic Sinonasal Symptoms”. Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery 133 (1): 3–8.10.1016/j.otohns.2005.03.002. PMID 16025044. 4. Harvey, R.; Hannan, S. A.; Badia, L.; Scadding, G. (2007). Harvey, Richard. “Nasal saline irrigations for the symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis”. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (3): CD006394.10.1002/14651858.CD006394.pub2. PMID 17636843.