Dry brushing, oil pulling and juice fasting – we’ve mastered these cleansing practices, detoxing our skin, mouth and body, but we’re entering a time of year that is all about the sinuses. Bookmark this story for a day between now and 2015 and we guarantee you’ll be glad you did. One Tuesday in November you’ll be happy to have everything you need to know about detoxing that stuffy nose!
The sinuses are made up of four pairs of air-filled pockets that sit in each cheek, between our eyes, and on each side of the forehead. They have the important role of capturing pollutants, micro-organisms, dust, pollen and dirt, preventing their entrance into the body. In other words, they act as both a filter and humidifier, cleaning the air we breathe. Considering the quality of our air is more toxic than ever before, it is imperative that sinuses are doing their job effectively. The problem is that for most of us, they aren’t. And how can you tell? If you suffer from hay fever, a runny, stuffy nose, chronic sinus infections, and allergy attacks, then your sinuses need some lovin’. And the best way to start is by using a neti pot. But let us make note, even if you are not exhibiting signs and symptoms of sinus complications, using a neti pot weekly is a great practice. It can help prevent illness, while aiding your body in detoxifying harmful toxins and invaders.
How it Works: A neti pot is a teapot-shaped pot that you use to flush a saline solution through the nose, much like a nasal lavage or squeeze bottle. You run the salt water solution in one nostril and out the other. The passing solution both soothes and cleans the nose, taking with it mucus, while rinsing away irritants and infectious agents that make their way into the body.
The Benefits: By clearing the sinuses of irritants such as dirt, viruses, bacteria and other unwelcome toxins, you are able to lower the total load of irritants and toxins ingested. This helps reduce symptoms such as allergies, congestion, sinus pressure, post-nasal drip, headaches and inflammation, while helping to fight upper respiratory and sinus infections and colds. Regular use of the neti pot can also improve the sense of smell and lessen the incidence of allergy attacks and illness. In addition, the clearer the sinuses, the more effectively they can protect the body from inhaled pollutants.
Start Practicing: The first step is to purchase a neti pot and a finely ground non-iodized salt. Our favorite ceramic neti pot is by the Himalayan Institute, which we use with the Sea Spray Nasal Rinse by Pursoma.
How to use a neti pot: Add about 8 ounces of lukewarm, filtered or distilled water to the neti pot and mix in 1/4 teaspoon salt until dissolved. While standing over a sink, lean forward and turn your head to one side, keeping the forehead at the same height as the chin, or slightly higher. You will then gently insert the spout in the upper nostril. It does not have to be inside of the nostril, but close enough so that a seal is formed.
Next, slowly raise the pot until the salt water begins to flow in through your upper nostril and out of the lower nostril – begin to breathe through your mouth. Now, it may sting for a moment, or cause slight pressure in the head, but this will subside. Continue to tilt the pot until the total water contents of the pot have passed through the nasal passages. Once finished, blow your nose into the sink without pinching the nose.
Now, refill the neti pot just as you did the first time, and repeat the same process on the other side. Again, blow the nose once finished to clear the nasal passages.
The Prescription: If you have been suffering from conditions of the sinuses, begin to use the neti pot at least four times a week, although it can be practiced daily. If you are using the neti pot for preventative purposes, then aim for once or twice weekly. We suggest increasing the frequency around wintertime, or when traveling when the potential for inhaled toxins is greater.