The Scoop on Neti-Pots and Rinsing Your Sinuses

net_pot_headerEven though it doesn't officially start until Dec. 21, I think it's safe to say that the weather, moods, and health afflictions of winter are upon us. 

It's rare for me to have patients these days who don't come in with a sniffly nose; it seems to be just a by-product of the season.

There are a ton of preventative things you can do to boost your immune system, but what about when you've already succumbed to a cold or flu and your nasal passages are full of pressure and mucus? While you should definitely keep pumping your immune system full of good nutrients, a natural way to help treat sinus related symptoms is the Neti Pot, or what we call "sinus irrigation."

You may have seen Neti Pots on TV or in the store, and you may even have been a bit grossed out by them! I'll admit it's a little strange to see at first: what looks like a small tea pot is filled with warm saline solution and poured into one's nostril. The solution runs through your sinuses, flushing them out and exiting through the other nostril. The technique is making waves these days, but it's actually an ancient method from the Ayurvedic tradition in India, and has been used for thousands of years.

I'm not going to lie, it feels strange the first few times. But Neti Pots are worth the hype: research backs up their ability to reduce sinus-related symptoms of cold, flu, and allergies for some people. Some physicians actually prescribe them - or another technique for sinus irrigation - post-sinus-surgery, to reduce the crusting that can occur in the nasal passages.

The biological explanation for how it works is actually pretty simple. There are small, hair-like fibres that line the sinus and nasal cavities called cilia. Their job is to move mucus and other allergens either to the nose, for blowing, or the back of the throat, for spitting or swallowing. A nasal flush like the Neti Pot will simply speed up the process, dislodging anything that might be stuck in the passages and creating pressure.

So there you have it. Yes, you may feel a little weird pouring a tea pot into your nose, but if you're interested in clearing your sinuses in a natural way, the Neti Pot might be your best friend this winter!