‘Jala Neti’ or Nasal Irrigation is a traditional Yogic way to clean the sinuses. It has been in use for thousands of years in Ayurvedic and Yogic traditions for prevention and management of sinusitis. Its an one time inexpensive empowering investment in learning, goes long way to help yourself to maintain your keep your cavities clean and provide faster repairs during frequent colds, chronic sinusitis and allergies. With a regular practice it can possibly eliminate your dependency on medicines and can also reduce economic burden on you and your insurance companies. David Rabago and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin authenticates this point in their study, which have shown that ‘daily hypertonic saline nasal irrigation improves sinus-related quality of life, decreases symptoms, and decreases medication use in patients with frequent sinusitis. They also recommended that primary care physicians can feel comfortable recommending this therapy’.
Neti is one of the six cleaning methods (Shata-Karma) described by Hatha Yoga. It is now advocated by many doctors and ENT specialists as safe and effective treatment for a wide range of nasal and sinus problems. A research study conducted by Dr. Diane G. Heatley, Associate Professor Otolaryngology and head and neck surgery University School of Medicine, Wisconsin on the safety and efficacy of nasal saline irrigation concludes, “Its safe and effective for wide variety of sino-nasal symptoms. Its effective in pediatric and adult populations and had shown 70-percent improvement in the symptoms. No side effects outside of mild and transient discomfort in the nose and ears have been demonstrated”. This view is supported by Dr. Marple, professor of otolaryngology at the University of Texas, who says, ‘that saline nasal irrigation is a highly effective, minimally invasive intervention for people suffering from nasal issues’.
The traditional pot used is made of brass, but now a days plenty of different plastic versions are available in the market. The pot is filled with clean, lukewarm water and salt is added to it. If you are irrigating left nostril, pot should be in your left hand and vice versa. Then gently insert the spout of the pot in the nostril, from which you are currently breathing. At the same time tilt your head to allow water to flow through nasal cavity and out from the other nostril. Then the procedure is repeated on the other side as well. The passage of hypertonic saline water through the nostrils washes and gives a soothing bath to the whole nasal mucus membrane and the structures and also stimulates the adjacent nerves and blood vessels.
Though this technique is recognized by science for its health benefits and I have personally used it many times and have trained my students how to use it. Still its always safe to get trained under an experienced hand. Special note for those- with nasal polyps, nose bleeds or deviated nasal septum should consult a specialist before performing neti.
Writing on ‘Yogic Nasal Irrigation or Jal Neti’ is in continuation of my reflection to contribute to Vibrant Healthy Communities. Share your thoughts, if you have tried Jal Neti and found it to be useful!