Neti pots have been around since ancient times. Know the history, science behind it and its numerous health benefits including getting rid of allergies. Allergies and sinusitis are very irritating and nagging health problems that we come across very commonly. Here is one very easy and sure remedy to get rid of this problem — Jal Neti.
Well, to put it simply, Jal Neti or Saline Nasal Irrigation or Nasal Wash can be as routine as brushing your teeth or as you take shower and it is very easy to do. So, clear your nostrils and start the day breathing freely. The aim of the process is to purify and clean the nasal path right from the nostrils to the throat using water. The process may sound unimaginable and the very first reaction would be, “My God, how can I do this, putting water inside the nose…?!” and you may be tempted not to learn this at all! But once you do it, you will say, “Oh, this is so easy and wonderful!”
History of Jal Neti
The ‘nasal wash’ has its origin in ancient India and has been practiced for ages by ancient yogis and people for the cleansing process. Yogis have practiced it for centuries for its innumerable and powerful benefits. Jal Neti is one of the six-purification kriyas or procedures or ‘Shatkarmas’ mentioned in Hatha Yoga Pradipika, an ancient yoga text. Cleansing kriyas prepare the body for higher practices of yoga.
Over time, our sinus cavities get clogged with impurities which can cause infections, headaches, and inflammation. This is a natural technique used by the yogis to stay disease free and most importantly to use the breath well for their yogic practices without any blocks. It is all about nasal hygiene just like brushing teeth is about dental hygiene. The aim of Jal Neti is to purify and clean the entire upper respiratory passage right from the nostrils to the throat using water.
In yoga, it has been also used for its extremely powerful physical, psychological and spiritual benefits. However, in the modern world of instant results – Jal Neti has gained immense popularity because of its dramatic effect on the sinuses and allergies.
Medical guidelines in both the United States and Canada are now recommending nasal and sinus saline flushing for a variety of conditions. It’s an effective and well-tolerated form of treatment for sinus congestion and nasal drip due to the common cold, allergies, and sinusitis. By using this natural method of healing, people have found they need less medication to control their symptoms. Some are even able to abandon pills and steroid sprays completely.
Science of Jal Neti
The nose is the “air conditioner” of the body. One of the many functions of the nose is to regulate the temperature and humidity of the incoming air. Some people have “dry noses” and suffer dry, crusty, nose bleed, and allergies type problems. Others are “wets”, with the constantly running sinuses and always carrying tissue paper or handkerchief as a companion! Others have perpetual stuffy and “blocked nostrils”. Regular practice of Jal Neti helps to establish the correct working environment of temperature and humidity in the nose. It is a kind of “moisturizer” for “dry noses”.
Jal Neti rinses out the dirt and bacteria filled mucous lining as the warm water loosens and dissolves any internal build ups, and takes them outwards. It also can whisk away bacteria, thin mucus, and cut down on postnasal drip. Due to gravity and a venturi-effect, the sinus passages are also drained by the vacuum pressure flow of the water. Whereas it would normally be impossible to drain a “dead end” cavity like the sinuses, Jal Neti achieves this ingeniously and simply.
How to do Jal Neti?
It is a simple practice and can be done along with your daily routine, say right after brushing your teeth in the morning. It takes just a few minutes. It is recommended that you learn this wonderful process under the guidance of an expert or your yoga teacher. Once you learn it is very easy to do. I am sure you will start feeling better and in much better control over your nagging allergies and sinusitis. Do it daily and enjoy breathing freely and fully this season!
What you require
Jal Neti is easy to do at home and elsewhere. Traditionally performed with only a cupped hand of salt water and a sniffing action, the technique has evolved for comfort and efficiency. Modern Jal Neti is performed by using a neti pot with a pinch of salt and lukewarm water. Neti pot is usually small and has a long spout on one side, which is small enough to be inserted gently into one of the nostrils during the process. It is commonly available in any pharmacy.
Step by step instructions
1. Take five deep breaths and relax as you prepare yourself for Jalneti.
2. Put lukewarm water into the neti pot and add a little salt in it. Tilt the neck and touch the tip of the spout to one of the nostrils. Open the mouth and continue breathing through it.
3. Gradually pour water into the nostril. Since the breathing is continued through the mouth, the water straightway goes through the food pipe into the throat to the stomach. Just as we drink water through the mouth, in the same way it can be drunk through the nose. When some water is drunk through one nostril, perform the process with the other one.
4. To help flow water out of the other nostril, tilt the neck further. It is essential to find the pose of the neck here. When the pose is found, the rest of the process is easier. If you have a 1/2 liter pot, then you can fill the vessel again for the second nostril.
5. The stream of water from both the nostrils will not be the same depending on the blockade or nervous spasms. Do the whole exercise gently and in a relaxed posture. One can wipe the nostrils with a clean towel in between while changing the nostrils.
6. Having finished with the water part, just keep both arms at the back and start gently blowing the nose from each nostril(15-20 times) to remove every drop of water. Now look up for 15 seconds and while looking up again blow 10-15 times to blow off any residual water left.
15 health benefits of Jal Neti
- A daily practice helps maintain the nasal hygiene by removing the dirt and bacteria trapped along with the mucus in the nostrils.
- At the immediate level, neti is a great tool for any kind of respiratory disorder – sinusitis, allergy, asthma, hay fever to name a few. People invariably notice an immediate relief and sustained results AND without side effects which prescription medications fail to achieve. Neti helps to reprogram the body’s natural mechanisms against respiratory complaints including sore throats, coughs, postnasal drips etc.It pacifies the sensitive tissues inside the nose, which can assuage a bout of rhinitis or allergies.
- It is very effective in dealing with asthmatic conditions making breathing easy.
- It reduces tinnitus and middle ear infections.
- It helps abate sinusitis or migraine attack.
- It can alleviate upper respiratory complaints like sore throats, tonsils and dry coughs.
- It helps flush the tear ducts, encouraging clearer vision and gives a sparkle to the eyes.
- Clearing of nasal passages helps improve sense of smell and thereby improves digestion.
- It may help with better sleeping and less snoring.
- It actually calms the nervous system and the mind. Helps relieve stress and brings clarity to the mind.
- Neti has a cooling and soothing effect on the brain and is therefore beneficial for headaches, migraine, depression, mental tensions and temper tantrums.
- People have experienced reduction in their anger by practicing Jala Neti regularly.
- The yogis practice this as it improves the quality of their meditation. It is very effective for meditation as it works on the subtle effects of the olfactory bulb, and the psychic center, which is known as the Ajna Chakra in yoga.
- It is excellent for those trying to give up smoking. It reduces mouth breathing and re-sensitizes the nose to the indecency and discomfort of ingesting smoke, therefore deprogramming the brain of the physical and psychological addiction.
Practice with some precautions
- The nose should be dried properly after the process. People with high blood pressure should be careful during this part. If one feels dizzy while drying the nose then it should be done standing upright.
- Take care that you do not leave any water in the nasal passages as it might cause an infection.
- Like any other yogic practice, learn it from an expert practitioner.
- Jal Neti goes much beyond nasal cleansing and helps in aligning your body, mind and soul. Hence, it should be practiced daily and not when one has a nasal blockage or cold.
Get ready to consider shedding your apprehension and trying this wonderful practice. If you wish to reap maximum benefits from the ‘Jal Neti’ kriya and get rid of long-term sinus and throat issues, Art of Living and Sri Sri School of Yoga offers yoga retreats where you can learn this wonderful technique under experts’ guidance. Here apart from the ‘Jal neti’, you will also learn other cleansing kriya like Shankh Prakshalan and give yourself a complete detox which ensures the effective functioning of your body and mind.
Breathe free because you were born to do so!
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.