Science Supports Neti PotsI am continually telling my friends, family and patients about the wonders of using a NETI POT (probably ad nauseam). While I have managed to convince many, my determination to win over the world continues. In case you aren't familiar, a neti pot is a tool used in Ayurvedic medicine to clean the nose and sinuses. It looks like a little tea pot and is filled with warm saline solution (see picture below). A person uses a neti pot by tilting their head sideways over a sink and then placing the spout to their upper nostril and allowing it to flow through their nose and sinus cavity and come out the lower nostril. The process is then repeated with the head tilted the other way (see video link below).
I know I know, it sounds gross (maybe even beyond gross), but as a person who plugs her nose before jumping into a pool and who can somehow manage to get water up her nose in the shower I can say... although it took me a year or two to give in and try it I can't live without my Neti and my allergies and sinus infections are SO much better now that use one regularly. (and I used to have LOTS of allergies and multiple sinus infections a year, so that's saying something!) It really doesn't feel uncomfortable... you won't believe me until you try it, but if you get the temp and salinity right it actually feels good... I promise!
Here is a little blog attempt to scientifically back up my argument...
Several scientific studies have found benefit in nasal rinsing aka using a neti pot. Here are just a few:
One study published in the Ear, Nose, & Throat Journal in 1999 showed that nasal rinsing does a better job of reaching the sinuses than standard nebulizers.
Numerous studies conducted over the past 20 years have shown that nasal rinsing improves hay fever symptoms and chronic sinusitis.
A 2001 study performed at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine determined that daily nasal irrigation using a bulb syringe or neti pot resulted in improvement in the symptoms of chronic sinusitis in more than 70 percent of subjects. Medication usage was decreased in approximately one-third of subjects.
Photo courtesy of Nathan Bryant,
A 2004 study published in The Laryngoscope compared nasal rinsing with metered nasal spray and nebulization, and it determined rinsing was significantly more effective in penetrating the maxillary sinus and frontal recess and should be the method of choice.
A 2004 study found that nasal irrigation could provide a reasonable and effective alternative to sinus surgery.
An Italian study of 20 children with hay fever found that nasal rinsing with a hypertonic saline (high salt) solution was tolerable, inexpensive and effective. The kids had fewer symptoms and required lower doses of antihistamines.
A 2003 review study, published in Canadian Family Physician, concluded that “Nasal irrigation is a simple, inexpensive treatment that relieves the symptoms of a variety of sinus and nasal conditions, reduces use of medical resources, and could help minimize antibiotic resistance.”
And a review paper from the Department of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, summed it up. “Nasal irrigations should no longer be considered merely adjunctive measures in managing sinonasal conditions.
Here's a blog entry I like that talks more about the neti pot
and a video showing you how to use a neti
And lastly.... a bit of humor forwarded on to me by a patient who knows my love of the neti. I had to laugh... not that I agree, but it is darned funny :)
Sorry that I don't have a name to give credit to for creating this. The link to it is: http://thisisindexed.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/card2210.jpg