The 10 Best Neti Pots
A Brief History Of The Neti Pot
In the West, the neti pot didn't start to take hold until the early 1970s, which is when the first mass-produced ceramic model became available.
Created by the founders of Yoga International, this pot was designed to augment yoga's newly-widespread popularity.
Nasal irrigation was first mentioned in Hindu scriptures as early as 1700 B.C.E., when it was considered an important and necessary part of daily hygiene. In yoga, using a neti pot is part of one of the six daily cleansing practices, or kriyas. Yogis believe that keeping your nasal passages clear was especially important, as they link clear breathing with clear thinking.
In the West, the neti pot didn't start to take hold until the early 1970s, which is when the first mass-produced ceramic model became available. Created by the founders of Yoga International, this pot was designed to augment yoga's newly-widespread popularity.
Still, the practice wouldn't be mainstream for another 30 years or so. It was up to the most important figure in the history of Western civilization —Oprah — to introduce the neti pot to a wide audience, covering the practice on her show in 2007 and again in 2009. Once nasal irrigation had the blessing of the Queen of Daytime TV, its popularity exploded, and the practice gained a following among soccer moms and PTA members instead of just hippies.
Dr. Oz has also promoted the use of a neti pot, and its use is starting to gain a foothold in Western medicine, as well. While it may have taken some time for the neti pot to find its way into our modern lifestyle, all signs point towards it sticking around.
How Neti Pots Work
Using a neti pot is actually quite simple: all you do is warm up some salt water, pour the water in one nostril, and let it flow out the other one. The feeling takes some getting used to, but once you've felt how clear and unobstructed your nasal passages can be, there's no going back (there's probably no going back once your partner sees you use one, either, so make sure the relationship's on solid ground before revealing this aspect of your daily life).
But how does that help you? The basic mechanism may be obvious: water goes in, mucus comes out, everybody's happy. However, the benefits of nasal irrigation can go deeper than that.
Using a neti pot is actually quite simple: all you do is warm up some salt water, pour the water in one nostril, and let it flow out the other one.
Your nose is lined with tiny little structures called cilia. These hair-like arrangements (that's right - you have even more nose hair than you thought you did) help to push mucus along to the stomach or out the nose. This helps speed up the elimination of allergens and pathogens, boosting the healing process and keeping your body humming healthily along.
The saline solution that's used with neti pots helps the cilia do their job more effectively. Since you're directing a powerful flow of water through your nasal cavity, all those tiny microbes and pollutants are washed away, leaving behind clearer nostrils and cleaner cilia.
Doctors often prescribe the use of neti pots after any sort of nose surgery, as they help to prevent clotting inside the nasal cavity. They can also help with conditions like chronic sinusitis, rhinitis, and respiratory infections, as well as preventing halitosis and reducing seasonal congestion.
One of the hidden benefits of using nasal irrigation to treat sinus issues is that it reduces the need for antibiotics. This lowers the risk of the patient developing antibiotic resistance, and that can pay dividends for your health in the long run.
Getting The Most Out Of Your Neti Pot
While using the neti pot may be simple — just shove the spout up your nose and pour — that doesn't mean that there aren't ways to improve its effectiveness. These tips and tricks will ensure that your nasal passages stay clean and clear.
Trust me — you absolutely do not want to stick a crusty, disgusting spout up your nose if you're trying to stay healthy.
First off, don't use tap water if you can avoid it. While most municipal water has cleansing agents like chlorine in it, that won't always kill all the bacteria inside, and the last thing you want to do is introduce an infection into your respiratory system while you're trying to flush it out. Instead, use distilled water, or if you have one, use the water out of your filter.
Since you'll want to add sodium to your water, it's important to find the right salt for your nose's tastes. Many pots come with pre-mixed packets made of table salt and baking soda; these are your best bet if you're just starting out. Once you really start to depend on your neti pot to get through the day, you can research the best sodium to use, but I'd wait until you're sure you're going to stick with it before you interrogate your grocer about nose salt.
Finally, keep your pot clean. Rinsing it out after every use is mandatory, and you get extra credit if you use boiling water when you rinse it. You should wash it with soap and water every few days, or put it in the dishwasher if yours is safe. Trust me — you absolutely do not want to stick a crusty, disgusting spout up your nose if you're trying to stay healthy.