Does Nasal Irrigation Really Work?

Does Nasal Irrigation Really Work?

No one wants to have a runny nose or a stuffed-up head.  If fall allergies have you down, think twice before you reach for antihistamine or decongestant drugs like Allegra, Claritin, Benadryl, Neo-Synephrine or Sudafed.  There’s an all-natural and inexpensive treatment that really works.  Try nasal irrigation at home and get relief quick. 

Lots of people with colds, the flu or allergies swear by nasal irrigation. They rely on it to flush away nasal congestion and banish post-nasal drip. Holistic practitioners have been recommending nasal irrigation for years as a way to remove pollens and bring relief.  

Nasal irrigation referred to as Jala neti by yogis—male yoga masters—was very important for yoga as it was one of the six cleansing practices or “kriyas.” The yogis thought a clear nose was crucial for clear thinking. If you have allergies, you would agree! 

The University of California’s School of Medicine in San Diego California conducted a study of 211 people who were diagnosed with seasonal allergies and 20 people who were symptom-free as a control.  Each group irrigated their nasal cavities using a hypertonic saline solution twice a day for 3 to 6 weeks. The participants rated their symptoms and completed a questionnaire before starting the irrigation regimen and again at the end. Those who were diagnosed with the nasal disease before the trial showed significant improvement in 23 of the 30 symptoms included in the questionnaire. 

The University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health also looked at nasal irrigation. They studied patients who were already using nasal irrigation for chronic sinus symptoms to determine if these patients experienced any associated relief with their allergies or asthma. They performed an in-depth review of 28 participants in a prior nasal irrigation study. The patients were receiving daily nasal irrigation. They found that 12 of 21 subjects had improved symptoms; 2 of 7 patients with asthma had improvement, and 1 of 2 subjects with nasal polyps reported a positive association between nasal irrigation and asthma or nasal polyp symptoms. 

How Nasal Irrigation Works

The oldest form of nasal irrigation is the neti pot and it is still popular today. It was developed in ancient India. The word “neti” is Sanskrit for “nasal cleansing”.  Neti pots look a bit like Aladdin’s lamp or an elongated teapot. They work by using the force of gravity to send a stream of warm saline solution into one nostril and out the other. 

Nasal irrigation gently floods the nasal passages with a liquid solution that removes dried mucous and other particles.  Not only does the rinsing process remove pollen, but it also reduces inflammation. This makes breathing easier.  Ideally, you should use a sterile saline solution (more on this later). 

Nasal irrigation takes what we know about physical science (gravity) and applies it to what we know about anatomy (the nose is divided by the septum).  The result is a simple at-home procedure that uses a small amount of pressure to push water up one nostril and over the septum where gravity can pull it down.  It’s not hard; it’s not gross. and it does bring relief. 

Step by Step Guide for Nasal Irrigation to Remove Pollen, Dust and Other Allergens 

Mix Your Solution.  Always start with a sterile saline solution.  You can use table salt, but do you really think the salt in your kitchen is sterile?  It has been hanging out in your kitchen.  Buy packets or bottles of the saline solution made specifically for nasal irrigation.  They are easy, cheap, and sterile. 

Assume Your Position.  Lean forward over the sink and then turn your head at a 45-degree angle.  Tilt your head slightly so that one nostril is pointed back. Do NOT tilt your head backward. 

Start Your Rinse.  Place the tip of your nasal irrigator in the top nostril.  Open your mouth slightly and start breathing through your mouth.  Gently squeeze the solution out of the bottle.  It will flow up the nostril, over your septum and drain down into the sink. As the solution flows it will gently rinse away pollen, dust, and dried mucous and anything else stuck in your nose. Remember to breathe through your mouth during the process. 

Spit Don’t Swallow.  Let all the fluid drain from your nose into the sink. If some of the solutions gets in your throat or mouth spit it out. Do not swallow the solution.  Swallowing sterile saline solution will not hurt you, but it can make you sick to your stomach. 

Blow and Repeat.  Gently blow air out of your nose over the sink to remove the last bits of water and ick. 

Nasal Irrigation Options 

When it comes to nasal irrigation, you’ve got choices.  You can use the traditional neti pot or an easy to use squeeze bottle system like the SinuAir Nasal Wash System.  If you are into the latest equipment, check out the SinuPulse Elite Nasal Irrigation System.  

Neti pots rely on the force of gravity to send the saline into one nostril and out the other.  A neti pot delivers a steady stream. A pulsing action is more effective for dislodging pollens and debris, and dislodging pollen is the aim of irrigation for seasonal rhinitis. 

The SinuAir Nasal Wash System squeeze bottles allow you to get a little bit better pulsing action.  They also allow you to add additional force by squeezing the bottle.  This allows the solution to have more “scrubbing” action in the nasal passages. 

The SinuPulse Elite Nasal Irrigation System is capable of delivering both a gentle pulsating mist spray for soothing moisturizing relief and a more thorough cleansing pulsating rinse to clear the sinuses of pollens and other debris. 

Nasal irrigation is the first-line treatment for common nasal and sinus symptoms. It’s a natural, drug-free way to relieve your allergy and sinus symptoms caused by sinus infections, allergies and the common cold. 

Don’t Let Pollen Poop Your Party 

Pollen is here to stay until late in the fall. Don’t let pollen get you down.  Just wash it away with nasal irrigation therapy.  Those little hairs in your nose will appreciate the big assist and you will feel better. You might even find you sleep better at night and have more energy.  You’ll certainly breathe easier!

Wishing you the best of health

The Allergy Store

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