Neti washing is an ancient Ayurvedic technique for clearing the nose and nasal passages. A specialised pot known as a neti is used for neti washing. This is basically a small container with a spout on one end, which can fit into the nostril. The neti pot is filled with clean body temperature water mixed with a little salt. The water needs to be salty like regular body fluids (isotonic) otherwise the delicate tissues of the nasal passages will get irritated and dry.
There are many health benefits from having a regular neti wash:
- Helps to clear and decongest a blocked nose,
- Eases nasal, eye and throat irritation
- Reduces congestion from colds within the head, eyes, nose, ears and throat
- Eases symptoms of allergies, hay fever and asthma
- Promotes sleep
- Promotes better breathing
How to Do A Neti Wash
- Mix 1 teaspoon of unprocessed salt like Celtic sea or Himalayan salt with 8 fluid ounces of warm body temperature water, which has been previously boiled (9 grams of unprocessed salt/litre of water)
- Fill the neti pot with the salt water
- Tip your head to one side and forward.
- Gently insert the spout into the outer nostril, so that a seal has been made. The water drains though the nasal passages and comes out through the other nostril. It's a strange feeling as the water pours out through the other nostril.
- Then tip your head forward and gently blow out to help the water drain.
- Repeat the process by tipping the head to the other side and slightly forward.
- Use the neti pot to pour the salty water into the other nostril.
- After this tip the head forward and let any excess water drain out. This is a very important step otherwise if some fluid is left in the nasal cavity it can create an uncomfortable feeling.
It is beneficial to include a neti wash as part of the morning and bedtime routine but if there are issues like sinus congestion then a neti wash may be repeated 3-4 times in a 24 hour period. Don't overdo though!
Origins of Neti Wash
This technique stems from the ancient Ayurvedic teachings of India. It has been traditionally used to support breathing during meditation and yoga.
I love this picture of these Indian school girls doing the neti wash.