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Introduction

The advice and answers in this FAQ are provided by Swami Omananda Saraswati, a Jala Neti practitioner, user, researcher, Integral Yoga therapist of some 25 years experience. Swami has been one of the major forces responsible for Jala Neti and neti pots becoming more well known throughout the world over the last 15 years since his original Jala Neti Website first appeared on the Internet in 1992. At that time there were only 7 entries returned in a worldwide search engine for neti, jala neti, nasal irrigation, neti pot. Today there are over 70,000 pages discussing the technique and 215,000 pages talking about the benefits of neti pots.

Swami’s approach to the ancient yoga practices is pure and traditional. He feels that, although modern Western medicine has much to offer people for the management and cure of many ailments, yoga techniques like Jala Neti should be preserved and disseminated in their original forms, just as they have been for thousands of years by the masters in these sciences. His style of teaching (as you will see in this FAQ) is direct and no-nonsense, incisively analytical as well as broadly experiencial, compassionate and humourous, and ultimately practical and results-based.

He would also like to remind people that Jala Neti is part of the broader yoga system of Hatha Yoga, a rigorous system of self-purification. It is not just something recently discovered or re-invented by ENT doctors in the last few decades. As Jala Neti has been picked up and popularised by non-yogis, renamed, modified, medicalised and commercialised, some people have sought to “improve” upon it, by changing its formula, by hybridising it with medical science. But in truth, Jala Neti does not need improvement. It has been developed and trialed by the master yogis over thousands of years and has already evolved to a point where any so-called improvements will only serve to take it further away from its original purposes – that is, a method of purifying the physical AND mental faculties of human perception in readiness for meditation and self-transcendence.

Swami says that it is good that yoga has spread out from the caves and ashrams of the Himalayas and is now reaching far and wide, helping to improve the lives of many people who would never have otherwise been exposed to such ideas and practices. However it is not so good that yoga's original intents and purposes are being forgotten and ignored in exchange for commercial returns and mundane benefits such as sinus relief.

In time-honoured tradition, long before books and the World Wide Web, Jala Neti (and all yoga practices in fact) were passed on by direct transmission, direct teaching, word of mouth, from guru to disciple, so that (i) the practitioner learned the technique properly without complications and adverse side effects, and was therefore qualified to pass it on to others; (ii) the practitioner gained the full and intended benefits for their physical and spiritual journey; (iii) the reputation of yoga did not become tainted by charlatans or exploiters.

But what we see in this day and age, due to the disintegration of this direct teaching tradition, is that all these things are happening such that: (i) people are not learning the technique properly, despite all the books and documents available on the topic. Many are experiencing learning difficulties and adverse side effects. Some then go on to badly teach others. In this way the knowledge is becoming degraded. (ii) The full and inherent benefits are not being experienced. Most people just think Jala Neti is for mucus reduction, thus people drop the technique when their cold or their sinusitis has cleared up, or else those with severe nasal problems way beyond the capacities of salt water therapy say - “that yoga irrigation thing doesn't work”. (iii) Charlatans and exploiters are renaming it, remodeling it, de-mystifying it, over-charging for it, all to make massive commercial profits from the sale of this traditionally free knowledge and its associated products.

So, as you mix your warm salty water each day to pour through your runny or your blocked up nose, spare a thought for the gift of improved health that the kindly yogis have bestowed upon your life.

 

Allergies

Q. How long does it take to see results in the clearance of the nasal passage?

A.
The amount of time in which any therapeutic method takes to effect changes in one’s symptoms depends on several factors such as: the causes of the illness (which might be environmental, or food-based, or other); the severity of your condition; and your general health and constitution.

 

Burning and Stinging

Q. Does the solution burn during and/or after irrigation?

A.
When the irrigation solution is made correctly and the technique is performed correctly, very few users report any stinging sensations.

 

Blockages of Nasal Structure

Q. Can you tell me if Neti is contraindicated for those with deviated septum?

A. Jala Neti is not contraindicated at all for a deviated septum, rather is a most advisable practice to help keep your restricted airway better open and free of mucus. However, it will only ever have limited effectiveness until the structural issues are properly addressed. Structural deviations are often accompanied by fleshy build up of scar tissue which further constricts airflow in one or both nostrils. I highly advise you to get it fixed. Then, after surgery you will have two fully flowing nostrils and many things in your health will improve. Jala Neti will be a necessary practice post-surgery and should be continued after that for general breathing health.

Q. I have a deviated septum which makes me have nasal blockages pretty often usually in my left nostril.

A.
Firstly: As a yoga, breathing and meditation teacher, as well as yoga therapist of some 25 years experience, I strongly advise all people who have a deviated septum to go and get it fixed. Don’t procrastinate – just decide to do it. I know it may sound like an expensive and possibly painful thing to do, but it really is the best thing you can do for your health – to get your nose flowing fully on both sides. All doctors and ENT specialists will agree with this fact. None will advise you to “just leave it”, unless they sense you are too poor or too afraid to consider it. So, book in tomorrow! In a few months you’ll be very, very glad you did. It will change your life like you wouldn’t believe. Secondly: Until such time as you have the operation, keep up with daily Jala Neti, to help clear out the dirt and mucus which will be accumulating in your nose and restricting what little air flow you have through the limited side. Every little bit of air through each side is important, so trying to maintain the best flow you can until the operation will help very much in general health as well as upper respiratory ailments like sinus, hayfever, allergies, headaches, etc.

Q. I had my nose broken when I was a kid. I always have the feeling of oxygen deprivation when I am breathing in yoga sessions. When I suck in through both nostrils my left side completely collapses in and my right side does not. Maybe I have a deviated septum or something. What do you suggest?

A.
It is highly likely that you do have a deviated septum, and/or fleshy growth like cartilage or polyps inside the nose which is restricting airflow. I recommend having it professionally examined and fixed as soon as possible. Your yoga practice (either in asanas or pranayama breathing) will never improve until it is, and your yoga teacher should have already picked this up and told you that, but then it is a well known fact amongst we yogis that people with a chronically blocked left nostril don’t listen well to others anyway.

Q. I want to know if Neti is helpful in straightening of the bone in our nose.

A.
Aaaah, no. Salty water is not known for its abilities to bend bones back into place.

 

Child Neti

Q. How would you suggest making a child comfortable with the process of irrigation?

A.
Teaching Jala Neti to children is not difficult and will equally have the same benefits as for adults, but care must be taken so as not to accidentally give them bad impressions or a bad experience of the practice. Depending on the age and breath control of the child, Jala Neti must initially be done “to them” until they are skilful enough to hold their own pot.

 

Ear Problems

Q. Will the Neti pot be a good thing to use if I have an ear problem?

A. There exist far too many possibilities of “ear problems” to answer such a general question. You should ask that question of an ear, nose and throat specialist. If they recommend that regular nasal irrigation would be a good thing for you to do for your condition, then yes, Jala Neti will be an effective practice to adopt.

Q. Can the water spread an infection into the eustachian tubes?
Q. Could my sinus infection move to affecting my ear with neti?
Q. . Is it safe to use a Neti pot while I have bilateral middle ear infections? I have some fluid behind the eardrum. Is there any way that the ear can trap fluid from the neti pot?
Q. I have had congested ears. Can using the Neti make the congestion worse?
Q. Is Jala Neti dangerous and what can be done if someone somehow inhales the solution so that it gets from the sinuses into the ear?

A.
The short answer to whether Jala Neti can spread a sinus infection to the inner ear is – “Yes, if performed poorly; no, if performed correctly”. The chances of this occurring can and must be avoided, and the technique is quite safe, if all the points of procedure listed in the previous answer are observed with special attention to not letting the irrigation solution run into the ear canals in the first place plus special attention to not blowing water backwards into the ear canals when drying. These are the two most likely cause of nasal-to-auditory infection spread. With ear problems (as well as sinus problems and nasal mucus blockages) it is often a help to have a nice long hot shower before doing Jala Neti. This helps to loosen, thin out and pre-remove stubborn mucus and bacteria in the head. Any infection in the head - be it in the front of nose, back of nose, upper throat, middle ear or inner ear - can all benefit from Jala Neti, so long as the only direction of flow of the water and mucus is outwards and downwards. The method to achieve this is care and sensitivity to head angle and not rushing or blowing. With time and practice you will master the best way to use the technique most effectively and without any danger.

Q. A friend has an ear blockage she got while Scuba diving. Would neti help for this?

A. Your friend should consult an ear specialist before trying any method of home remedy upon a ear problem sustained whilst scuba diving. If the doctor should recommend that regular nasal irrigation would be a good thing for her condition, then yes, Jala Neti will be an effective practice to adopt.

Q. I have a hearing problem because of sinusitis. I am so afraid that the water will go to my ear and reduce my hearing ability. Would it be safe for me to use Neti?

A. Many people with sinusitis have partial hearing problems. Yet many don’t realise it. It would be safe and beneficial for you to use Jala Neti but my advice is, (i) since you are afraid, and (ii) since you have a difficult nasal pathology, that you seek qualified Jala Neti instruction to avoid any chances of making your problem worse. We are constantly adding more people to our “Community Instructors List” for Neti learners to track an experienced user in their area.

 

Eye Problems

Q. In what ways might Neti affect my eyes if I do it?

A. If the technique is followed correctly only benefits for the eyes will follow. The correct mixture of water and salt (0.9%) is the same as tear salinity, so it cannot be harmful in any way, even if there are eye problems. Jala Neti has the proven effect of flushing the tear ducts, removing dirt and mucus from them, thereby encouraging clearer eyes through better self-moistening and draining. It brings back their sparkle. Salt is as great cleanser of all the body parts and regularly rinsing the eyes with warm, body saline is a good thing to do, no what the condition of the eyes. Artists and meditators often find Jala Neti improves their clarity of visualisation and concentration by improving their “inner eyes”.

 

Fear and Reticence

Q. Isn’t running water through your nose dangerous, after all, the nose wasn’t designed to take in water?

A.
Jala Neti is in no way a dangerous practice. When properly instructed and done according to tradition, it will bestow only benefits. However, if misused or performed incorrectly, at best, it will not work in the reputed way, or at worst, it can lead to minor side effects such as headaches, colds, nasal infections, earaches. Of all the people who have used it properly, and from all the research we have conducted, there have been no harmful side effects. But proper instruction is the key. All the reports about problems with Jala Neti have come from those who self-teach or those who try to improvise beyond the traditional methods. This is why it is best to receive instructions personally from a qualified teacher and to stick to the traditional methodology.
But water in the nose is not unusual. Remember the way you feel after a swim in the surf? A good flushing of the nose with salt water is a good thing. Stage 1 of Jala Neti is no more than that – a flush out of the frontal nose passages, except that the water is warm, 4 times less salty than the ocean, and you are in control – not like when you get dumped in the surf and come up spluttering half-drowned! That’s what people are afraid of when they first hear about saline nasal cleansing – their memories of nearly drowning at the beach. But its nothing like that. Admittedly there are certain internal nasal orifices in which the salty water should not go. It may take a few attempts to get the head angle correct so that this does not happen, but the results of a few bad attempts are not serious.

Q. I think I'm a little nervous, having never used one before. Do you have any tips for first time users?
Q. I'm afraid of the possible discomfort involved with pouring water directly into my nose.
Q. Nasal irrigation looks quite scary. The thought of having warm salty water up my nose doesn't really appeal, and I'm not brave enough to give it a go for fear of choking.
Q. I think that actually doing Neti sounds disgusting but I would like to do it for the benefits. How can I get over my resistance?

A.
Such fears and reticence are common and understandable. But they are irrational. That is not to say they are easily overcome! Sometimes in life the intellect says - “Yeah, that’s a great idea” but the feelings are disgusted or afraid of it. Often people have a remnant memory of an unpleasant swimming event as a child; of being dumped by a wave; or of being thrown in a swimming pool for fun and nearly drowning. A part of their mind has since created fear about water in their nose or lungs. One way to get over fears is to read all the literature about it so as to strengthen your rational argument for doing it. This way can work for some people. But for others, deeper fears surrounding the learning of Jala Neti are best alleviated by hands-on tuition with an experienced and confident user who will take into account your fears and nervousness and prove to you in about 3 minutes just how easy it really is. It also helps if you can actually see someone doing it in front of you, then you will see just how effortless and un-scary it really is. Without tuition it is risky that you will just “have a go”, then “mess it up” through nervousness, and then leave the technique alone and run around telling everyone else that it is “yucky” or “dangerous” or “hard”. So please, find a confident instructor and then all your worries will be overcome through practise and through the eventual beneficial experiences you will gain from the technique.

 

Getting Outside Help With The Technique

Q. Do you know of any websites/other places where you can email or talk to someone to make sure you are doing the procedure correctly?
Q. Who can I learn from in my area?

A.
  We are currently compiling a “Community Instructors List”. Neti learners can seek out an experienced user in their area and they can make contact and make their own arrangements to meet and share the technique.
If you are an experienced user of Jala Neti and would like to share your experience with others, please Enter your details here to be added to the “Community Instructors List”.

 

Elevated Blood Pressure

Q. Is neti dangerous for moderate or high blood pressure?
Q. I saw some place that there are precautions for people with high blood pressure.
Q. What possible danger does the salt have for those with high blood pressure?


A. Jala Neti is in no way dangerous for those with elevated blood pressure. These confusions arise in two areas.
(i) Some people think that running salty water through the nostrils might effect their blood pressure. This is completely impossible. Firstly, the salt in the irrigation water is at a level equal to the body’s own blood salinity (0.9%) therefore, according to the nature of osmotic pressure it cannot enter the bloodstream. Also, neti water is ¼ as salty as sea water and even less salty than the food you would eat for dinner. The amount of salt in contact with the body linings during Jala Neti would be less than going for a swim in the sea! Secondly, the water is only running around the insides of your upper respiratory tract mucus linings for a few moments, and not being drunk so it is not going to be absorbed by your stomach and ever get into the arteries. Thirdly, the miniscule amounts of salty residue which are left inside the nasal passages after drying is too little to have any effect upon blood salt levels. In short, isotonic nasal irrigation cannot cause the minimal amounts of salt in the irrigation water to be absorbed into the body and affect blood pressure.
(ii) The other issue is that of dizziness. During the drying process, it is normally recommended that one should completely bend forwards at the waist to let the head hang down towards the knees to drain the nose of water droplets. However, the recommended precaution for those with elevated blood pressure or any tendency toward dizziness is NOT to bend forwards with the head any lower than the heart. Such people will have to dry out their nose by bending only partially forwards; by turning their head several times to each side whilst gently blowing out of the nose; and they may need to do this a lot more than others who can fully bend over. If you discover that water is not cleared and dried in this way, you will just have to blow and sniff lots more until the nose is fully dry.

 

Headaches and Pains

Q. Will the Neti-pot help so I won't have to take medication with its side effects to prevent my headaches?

A.
The number and severity of the above queries might lead a reader to conclude that Jala Neti is giving lots of people lots of very nasty headaches lots of the time. But this is far from the case. Only in very, very few people does Jala Neti create the side effect of a headache. The actual causes of headaches are many and varied and are little understood by doctors, so it is difficult to diagnose why this is happening and how Jala Neti might help you. You may just have to try it to find out. We cannot guarantee it will, but many users do report great lessening of headaches from the nasal cleansing practice. 

 

Miscellaneous

Q. To me it seems so unnatural to put water up your nose. What's the point?

A.
Unusual yes, unnatural no. From the yogi’s point of view, smoking cigarettes (actively or passively), eating junk food, late nights of mind numbingly bad television, modern cities and their pollution, sleeping on thick spring mattresses, sitting in chairs at computers all day, working in chemical factories, and getting stuck in traffic jams, are all pretty unnatural activities for the human body. What’s natural and what’s unnatural all depends on where you are at. Yoga says, that like medicine which may be a bit distasteful or which may at first seem unnatural, when you are sick, unusual methods may be necessary to heal oneself.
The Hatha Yoga cleansing techniques (of which Jala Neti is only one of about 30) are all just non-medicinal ways of maintaining the body and overcoming illness. The ancient yogic methods are really the most natural ways to help the bodily systems heal themselves. All you need is some water and some salt! They cleanse all the orifices and improve the function of the 6 senses. Note that we include 6 senses. Yoga cleansing is not just for flesh and blood but also for the mind, the sixth sense. These cleansing techniques really are very simple and commonsense ways of keeping every organ and function of the body working to its best possible potential.
These yoga cleansing methods may seem weird or funny to many people, but this is only because in modern Western culture, most people have been conditioned to think that anything inside the body is odd and distasteful. Most people are fairly ignorant of their own body’s functions and many choose to remain so. These days, when it comes to medical repairs after years of personal neglect, a lot of people prefer to just have an anaesthetic and get someone else to do the “dirty work”.
The nasal hairs, the mucous lining and the sinuses, help to cleanse the air coming in, and to protect the lungs, the blood and the brain from germs, cold air and dangerous (non-odorous) gases in the environment. Modern 21st century living has all manner of germs and pollutants which we really shouldn’t be breathing in in the first place. It is these things which are unnatural. Some of the smog chemicals city people inhale all day are plainly cancerous in even tiny quantities. Our environment nowadays is far from what the “respiratory designer” had in mind. It is certainly no crime against nature to help the body’s cleansing processes along a bit.

Q. I have done a similar thing to this neti practice you advocate for many years. I take water from a bowl in my hand and sniff it up my nose. Some times I use sea water. Is It like that?

A.
No, not at all. We know that many people have tried this. Some say their grandmothers or grandfathers used to do it. Some use cold water and some use warm. Some use salt and some do not. But those methods can’t possibly work as well as Jala Neti as the water and salt for neti match the human blood in both temperature and salinity. Any sniffing method also runs the risk of leaving water up in the sinus cavities or ear canals which will irritate for some time afterwards or of spreading an infection deeper into the system. Many people do say your method works in clearing the nose, and it may somewhat, but after these people have tried Jala Neti, they are always impressed at how much easier, more comfortable, safer and more effective it is.

Q. Isn’t it more useful to blow out through both nostrils at once using a handkerchief when one has a runny nose rather than using water to go in the nose?

A.
No. Blowing the nose is a very primitive and only partially effective method of clearing out the junk in the upper respiratory tract. Blowing is only going to remove the largest of particles at the front of the nose which may be caught by the cilia (little hairs) and catch a bit of the runny fluids which the sinuses are expelling due to some invader in there. Depending on where you live and work, and how you live and work, your nose and sinuses are bombarded daily with masses of germs and particles. In olden times, when our ancestors just lived where life was clean air, clean water, clean land, good food, hard outside work, with only native trees rather than lots of exotic pollens all around, nose blowing (and a bit of swimming and face washing) might have been sufficient to clear out nasal congestion or the occasional sinus allergy. But, let’s face it, how many more things does the nose now have to filter out from modern life these days? Do you realise that in air-conditioned buildings (for reasons of refrigeration economy) only about 10 - 15% of the air is freshly changed each hour? This means that all the germs in that stagnant soup of air which others breathe all day long (and blow out into their handkerchiefs every few minutes) are circulating for 6 - 9 times longer than if you were outside in the breeze. As you cross the road, how much exhaust pollution is going up your nose? How many times a day can you stand blowing your nose in this life to counteract modern pollution? And what of the causes of a runny nose? Does not that indicate there is something amiss either within your body or around it? Nasal irrigation once or twice daily should be a regime of dirt removal and nasal mucus replenishment for all people in dusty, dirty, air-conditioned environments. There are all the comments of so many users saying that regular daily nose flushing has become a boon to their everyday preventative health and, as well, there is now the clinical research to back this up. Such people don’t even carry a handkerchief. Now wouldn't THAT be nice?!

Q. Is the neti flushing process helpful in regard to cold prevention?

A.
Yes. See the above questions and answers. But let me add, that there are many, many other things in life which are equally effective at cold prevention, namely: good food and eating habits, keeping out of air-conditioned places, keeping away from others with coughs and colds, not smoking or breathing passive smoke, increasing one’s inner life force (ie heat and strength) through exercise and discipline like yoga, not hiding inside all winter in artificially heated stuffy environments but rather getting outside to make the body heat up in order to fight off winter colds and flu. Many people who are exposed to bacteria daily in their lives don't get those "colds that are going around". That is because their immune systems are stronger than those who do get the colds. Therefore, it is not the nasal irrigation which is the best prevention, but rather it is your lifestyle and your inner body health which wards off colds, of which Jala Neti can be made a small part of the larger package and the bigger picture.

 

Nasal Polyps

Q. I have nasal polyps and wonder if I should be cleansing with this technique?

A.
Nasal polyps are growths of fleshy tissue inside the nasal system which may be benign or may be malignant. People who have been on medical treatment for polyps (usually corticosteroids, antihistamines, or surgery) usually have very sensitive nasal linings which nasal irrigation may tend to irritate. However, some people with polyps report a soothing affect from nasal irrigation. The resultant feeling and effects of Jala neti upon polyps will therefore depend upon the number, severity, position, age of the growths and side effects of medication. You should follow the advice of your physician as to whether saline nasal irrigation is appropriate for your condition.
Whilst some people have had their polyps diagnosed and are on treatments for them, many people may actually have them but would not know it, and thus they experience discomfort in the nasal cavities and may report stinging when doing Jala Neti from time to time. Therefore, should nasal discomfort persist, a medical practitioner should be consulted to ascertain their presence and their condition.
Polyp development has been linked to long term inflammation, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, and genetic predisposition and from illnesses such as hayfever, allergies, rhinitis and sinusitis. Jala Neti per se, if performed properly, does not worsen or aggravate nasal polyps, neither can it be guaranteed to cure them. The main advantage of saline irrigation is to remove excessive mucus to help free up breathing. Over the long term, the salty wash-out can help to restore membrane integrity, but only if the powerful medications are cut back and discontinued. If your medical advisor permits irrigation, those who have a combination of known polyps and sinusitis should begin neti very gently at first, perhaps several times a week, watching for discomfort. If all goes well – that is, if there is no pain and a decrease in the symptoms of sinusitis – then it is OK to increase the frequency up to once daily. After some time increasing to twice daily may be advised. If pain is experienced, the technique should be ceased and professional medical assistance sought. But always the correct procedures for Jala Neti must be observed.

 

Neti Pot Issues

Q. What are the differences between the different types of Neti pots?
Q. Why is stainless steel the best choice?

A.
There are many different arguments and preferences for the many different styles and materials of neti pots available all over the world today. The advantages of the Health and Yoga Stainless Steel Jala Neti Pot over the others are the following:
(i) unbreakable under normal conditions – will not chip on the sink, will not break if dropped;
(ii) can be dishwasher cleaned and autoclaved in medical situations;
(iii) hygienic so germs cannot penetrate the surface or crevices;
(iv) no artificial smells or chemical plastics involved in manufacture;
(v) very light and strong for travelling;
(vi) lightweight when empty, therefore not too heavy when filled like clay pots;
(vii) economical, as they will last a lifetime;
(viii) our large size contains 400 - 500 mls capacity which is a good quantity for a normal washout, whereas so many other pots around are 150 - 250 mls which we consider far too small for a good wash through, or else it necessitates making 2 batches of water.

Q. I am currently using a ceramic pot but I am concerned it might break. I am considering purchasing a stainless steel one. Is it difficult to keep the pot clean?

A.
Stainless steel is obviously stronger than ceramic and will not break or chip if bumped. It is the easiest of materials to keep clean as it can be boiled or baked until sterile, autoclaved, put in dishwasher, or scoured clean inside and out.

Q. There are other more expensive nasal irrigators that are marketed. What advantages does the Neti Pot have over the other systems?

A.
(i) Firstly, we believe that the traditional method of Jala Neti (originally using a handmade, unfired clay neti pot) is the best system ever invented, purely for the fact that it is a technique which has been developed and handed down over thousands of years by some very clever and highly evolved individuals, namely the masters of yoga who have selflessly kept this system of yoga alive since man first swam in the sea and realised that salty water was a Very Good Thing for the upper respiratory system and bodily health in general. No doubt, with lots of experimentation over millennia; in lots of different situations; upon all sorts of illnesses; the yogis worked out that body temperature water worked better than cold; and that ¼ of the sea’s salinity was the same as human blood salinity; and that all these factors worked the best over the long term than all the other possibilities.
(ii) Whilst we yogis are not all luddites who think that anything modern is stupid (I am typing this on a computer), it is beyond my comprehension why, when there is a perfectly good gravity irrigation system available and that body saline is the most neutral solution one could use, anyone could think up a need to force water thought the nasal cavities with a mains (or battery) powered machine carrying a concoction of pharmaceutically manufactured chemicals. All the time and effort and cost and complexities of such a device all seems so unnecessary.
(iii) Although the benefits and results, side effects and after effects of the traditional Jala Neti system of nasal irrigation are all well known and tested for many years, despite a bit of modern research on them, these expensive and complicated systems have yet to prove themselves over the long run. Why not play it safe and easy and cheap?
(iv) And if you really want the advantages of the simple Jala Neti system spelled out, consider these practical points: no batteries, no power points, no expensive motorised machinery to buy, no plastic tubes or adaptor fittings or little bits and pieces to clean or lose, no noise, no chemistry, no scientific understanding required to buy and mix the ingredients.

 

Sense of Smell

Q. Would you expect the technique to improve a patchy sense of smell?

A.
In general, nearly everybody people who takes up Jala Neti finds their sense of smell improves. To what degree and in what time frame this occurs would depend on the extent to which the olfactory nerves are damaged and how often one uses the technique. Salt is a great neutraliser. It is one of nature’s greatest remedies. But it may take a while for it to do its thing and for your smelling nerves to recover from years of medicinal abuse. Neti is one possibility to help restore balance to the membranes and nerves of the nose. I can only suggest you commence trying the practice and, as your nasal symptoms improve, begin lessening the use of medications you are on. Over time you will be able to assess if your sense of smell is returning. I do not know of any other reports of other natural remedies restoring a lost sense of smell.

 

Sinuses and Sinusitis

Q. I read that chronic sinusitis can be cause by a fungal infection caused by allergy to moulds. Does the Neti work the same way if the infection is fungal instead of bacterial?

A.
Yes. Jala Neti works on removing anything which is up your nose and in your sinus cavities which shouldn’t be there. Pathogens of many kinds enter the nose all day. It is the job of the cilia (little hairs) to filter out larger particles for blowing out; it is the job of the sticky mucous linings to trap smaller particles for blowing out; and finally it is the job of the sinuses’ runny fluids to flush out the tiniest germs which might get that far in. But where the nose is dry or extra clogged up, nasal irrigation can help greatly in removing the accumulated dirt and mucus in the front of the nose plus what is deeper inside, thereby causing fresh mucous linings to be produced thus preventing the germs from travelling deeper into the nasal cavities. Fungi, bacteria, viruses, pollen, dirt, dust, anything: it's all just grist for the mill to nasal cleansing. It works equally well on cleansing them all.

Q. I had a nose operation and I have had a sinusitis ever since and there is nothing I tried that can get rid of it. Would this technique of Jala Neti help?

A.
Without knowing more about the history of your condition, no-one can say for sure whether it will help or not. The experience of many users and the research of many studies indicates that saline nasal irrigation does in fact help to relieve the symptoms of chronic sinusitis. Under what conditions, over what time frame and in what lifestyle situations this is true, is all highly variable. My advice is to try it, according to the recommended procedures and frequency, and if you are not happy, then Health & Yoga will gladly refund your money as per our guarantee. To increase the chances of it working, and to avoid uncomfortable teething problems, I would suggest you find a qualified Yoga Therapist or teacher of the technique and follow their counsel towards a balanced and successful trial of Jala Neti.

Q. My wife has suffered with a severe sinus infection for the past 6 months and nothing we have tried has helped. She has been using a “Water Pic” and adding peroxide with the water. How does the neti pot differ from other nasal irrigation methods and what type of solution do you add to it to cure sinus infections?

A.
Firstly, Jala Neti does not claim to be a cure for anything, and I am not just saying that from any legal liability point of view or as any kind of marketing weasel words. All yoga methods (of which Jala Neti is but one of many for maintenance of upper respiratory health) aim to help the body recover its faculty of homeostasis, a state of balanced physiology where the body is able to effectively fight off endogenous (arising from inside itself) and exogenous (arising from outside itself) ailments. Such an aim can only ever be fully effective where the person takes into account the conditions of their supporting lifestyle which may also include the causes of the illness. However, experience and research shows that Jala Neti (that is gravity-fed, normal body saline from a hand held pot) can help to lesson symptoms of many upper respiratory illnesses and, over time, help to restore normal nasal functioning.
As for comparisons to other devices and nasal irrigation systems, most of the other systems are only variations upon the same basic system as Jala Neti. Some use different solutions, some use a more forceful approach, but we only recommend the time-honoured method of Jala Neti. If the Water Pic system has not helped (notice I use the relative term "helped" rather than the absolutist term of "worked") then it is unlikely that Jala Neti will assist any better. I suggest that your wife have a full medical assessment of her nasal pathology and if the doctor recommends that regular saline nasal irrigation would be beneficial for her specific condition, then Jala Neti with normal saline might be the one to use rather than a forced system with hydrogen peroxide. As well, a consultation with someone who will help her address any suspected lifestyle issues underlying her sinusitis would be most beneficial to the long term "cure" of her condition.

Q. Is it true that the solution doesn't enter the sinus cavities? It just flows past them? Is it possible for some to get in the cavities and not come out?

A.
When performed properly, the aim of Jala Neti is not to get water in the sinuses. Although many people do inadvertently cause this to happen by not having the correct angle of the head and pot or by not drying their nose properly. Many people misuse the word sinuses. They think that all the passages up in the nose are “the sinuses”, but this is not anatomically correct. People think that water up their nose is “filling the sinuses” but in fact the sinuses are specific dead end cavities, caves, cul-de-sacs, with very small entrance holes which are neither designed to have water in them and are uncomfortable should it get in there. If water should inadvertently go in them, it is no great disaster. It just takes a bit more effort in drying the nose and putting up with a bit of water run down until they are empty. The danger of water in the sinuses is of spreading an infection from one part of the system to another. Hence the importance of following exactly the proper procedure all the way through.

 

Substances Other Than Salt in the Neti Water

Q. Do you think it would be OK to put some drops of colloidal silver in the neti pot to clear up a sinus infection? If so, how many drops do you think?

A.
No, or more accurately, I don’t know if it would be OK for you to do that. Nor does anyone else on the Internet. We here at Health and Yoga, based on the traditional methods of yoga, do not recommend over the Internet that people put anything other raw sea salt in their nasal cleansing solution. For specific people, with specific conditions, and in specific circumstances, additives other than salt may be advantageous, but only a qualified health practitioner experienced in such areas should prescribe such things and only arising from a personal consultation. And besides, I ask you this: Was the nose designed to have colloidal silver put in it? If you want to go putting rare and valuable soluble metals up your nose, you should ask a chemist or a specialist ENT doctor, and not a simple yogi, an Internet seller of Neti Pots, or even a seller of colloidal silver.

Q. What additives should be used in the Neti pot? I have instructions from another site to use salt and baking soda.
Q. Some sources recommend using a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide as well as the salt and a pinch of soda.
Q. Is a product from another website, called Neti Wash Plus of any better experience than just plain salt?
Q. Someone suggested putting lemon juice in the pot to help cut the mucus? Would this be done with or without the salt?
Q. Other neti pot providers sell a product called Neti Wash Plus, which is supposed to enhance the effectiveness of using the pot. Why do you not sell this?

A.
Because we are traditionalist yogis and because we don't believe it is necessary to "enhance the effectiveness" of Jala Neti if done in the proper way. For thousands of years people have been washing out their noses very effectively by using the world’s cheapest, most effective, and most easily obtainable cleansing substance – sea salt. It is renowned in all cultures as the primary medicine of prevention and cure. That is all that is needed for effective saline nasal irrigation. Salt is the great leveler. In different ways, and when properly used, it helps bring the body back to a more neutral state. We do not see the need for complex new fandangled compounds made by people in laboratories with white coats with degrees in pharmaceutical science to improve upon the ancient solution of normal body saline for nasal irrigation. ENT specialists and medical scientists may well have discovered some minor variation to normal saline which they conclude works better in nasal irrigation for patients with chronic rhino-sinusitis or in post-ENT-surgical situations. But this might not be the best solution for all people. It may only be the best for a selected few who are prescribed that by their doctor. So who are we to say – “Yes, go ahead and use this or that”. And this is often the medical way, the way of medical history – to take an old-fashioned, well-proven, layman’s recipe, modify it with bits and pieces of modern pharmacopoeia; sell it off as a new miracle substance at exorbitant costs; when the results over time have not been proven. Some years later, most people will have reverted to the traditional recipe because it simply works better (and always has). But we at Health & Yoga choose not to promote that way of Jala Neti. If you wish to try other substances in your pot go right ahead, but don’t call us when you have side effects or lesser effects from that solution. You can go through your pantry, your medicine cabinet, even your garden shed, trying one item at a time mixing a bit into your neti pot, experiencing all the horrid side effects along the way. Then when you are done, you will discover there is no other better solution than warm (body temperature), isotonic (same as body blood) saline solution for Jala Neti.
Whilst there are other solutions that yogis have been using over the years, we do not reveal these to the uninitiated via the Internet. If you really want a stronger therapeutic and time-honoured nasal irrigation solution, then find yourself a traditional yoga teacher to instruct you in Amaroli Neti (neti using one’s own urine) – but that’s a whole another story! (PS. Do not just try weeing in your pot and pouring it through your nose. It isn’t that simple). And once again, no lab rats in white coats could invent such a good solution for therapeutic purposes as one's own urine. It was already there, in nature, right up close, for us to use for effective healing.

 

Technique Problems

Q. Can I practice this technique without any yoga teacher’s guidance.

A.
Although we recommend on the Health and Yoga website and in our documentation that people should find a suitable instructor from whom to learn Jala Neti, at this point in time there are not that many Jala Neti instructors nor even enough yoga teachers experienced in the technique to reach everybody. So lots of people do self-teach. Of these, around 50% have teething problems with the technique – not because the technique is difficult but because some people have “difficult noses” and chronic nasal pathology, and because many people fail to follow the instructions properly. In our Users Instruction Booklet and in this FAQ, we try to provide all possible advice to cover the usual difficulties and issues people have when self teaching. Yet, for many, problems still arise. ....So if you have fears about self-learning, or a long history of nasal problems, please feel free to scan our “Community Instructors List” to track an experienced user in your area.  Failing that, you can attempt to teach yourself in the hope that all goes well. But we hold no responsibility for those who self teach and then have problems with the practice or with their nasal health.

Q. How do you breathe while pouring the water in your nose?

A.
Through the mouth.

 

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