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.
Q. How long does it take to see results
in the clearance of the nasal passage?
|Burning and Stinging|
Q. Does the solution burn during and/or
|Blockages of Nasal Structure|
Q. Can you tell me if Neti is contraindicated for those with deviated
Q. I have a deviated septum which makes me have nasal blockages pretty often
usually in my left nostril.
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?
Q. I want to know if Neti is helpful in straightening of the bone in
Q. How would you suggest making a child comfortable
with the process of irrigation?
Q. Will the Neti pot be a good thing to use if I have
an ear problem?
Q. Can the water spread an infection into the
Q. A friend has an ear blockage she got while Scuba
diving. Would neti help for this?
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?
Q. In what ways might Neti affect my eyes if I do it?
|Fear and Reticence|
Q. Isn’t running water through your nose dangerous,
after all, the nose wasn’t designed to take in water?
Q. I think I'm a little nervous, having never used one before. Do you have
any tips for first time users?
|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?
|Elevated Blood Pressure|
Q. Is neti dangerous for moderate or high blood
|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?
Q. To me it seems so unnatural to put water up your
nose. What's the point?
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?
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?
Q. Is the neti flushing process helpful in regard to
Q. I have nasal polyps and wonder if I should be
cleansing with this technique?
|Neti Pot Issues|
Q. What are the differences between the different
types of Neti pots?
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?
Q. There are other more expensive nasal irrigators
that are marketed. What advantages does the Neti Pot have over the other
|Sense of Smell|
Q. Would you expect the technique to improve a patchy
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?
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?
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?
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?
|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?
Q. What additives should be used in the Neti pot? I have instructions from
another site to use salt and baking soda.
Q. Can I practice this technique without any yoga
Q. How do you breathe while pouring the water in your
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