Monday, September 10, 2012

Nasal irrigation. Ever done it?


Yes, you read right! Nasal irrigation involves washing out the nose to clear away excess mucus, pollen and debris. Those of you with sinus issues may know what I'm talking about, but you don't have to have clogged nasal cavities to enjoy the benefits of salt water rinsing.

So many of us live or work in buildings that have dry or stuffy air. In my case, I battle the dry polluted Los Angeles air; instead of reaching for a decongestant or allergy medication, I suggest giving nasal rinsing a try. I usually rinse weekly just because it leaves my nasal passages feeling, um…fresh?

Alright, I can hear the eye balls rolling on this one. I do push the limits of what 'normal' folks will tolerate—and I am passionate about composting and I probably talk too much about the need and beauty of solar power… I get it, I'm different. But seriously, nasal irrigation really does work!

Give it a try and judge for yourself. It's easy, it's cheap and can be a lifesaver. Here's how I do it.


- Warm water—only use purified or distilled—and sea salt. (see link below on why only sterilized water should be used for nasal rinsing).
- A good ratio is 1/4 teaspoon to 8 ounces of water. Mix to dissolve. The water should be lukewarm - not hot!


I like this simple plastic tube, which is technically called a “cup,” this model is small, easy to use and travel with. Neti pots are an option, although I have never tried them, they are popular.
Here’s how to use the cup/tube: Fill with dissolved salt-purified water solution, cover the hole with your thumb, place the spout into one nostril, tilt your head slightly forward and to the side—in the same direction as the nostril you are rinsing (to avoid water going into your ear canal); lift your thumb off the hole, which releases the water. The water flows in one nostril, passes through the sinus cavity and out the other nostril, moisturizing and gently cleansing away dust and pollen.





Fill with the salt and purified water solution, place your finger over the center hole, placing the other part in your nostril.



Then lift your finger to start the gravity flow of water. When you want to stop or need to take a break, place your finger back over the center hole.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions exactly. A few main things to remember:

  • tilt your head forward and slightly to the side so that the water doesn't flow into your ear canal
  • do not breathe in through your nose while rinsing, breathe through your mouth.
  • stay relaxed; it’s a strange sensation, but try not to panic
  •  to stop the flow of water, simply place your thumb back on the hole
  • blow your nose very gently, just to clear away any accumulated mucus
Give it a try! Trust me, you'll appreciate the relief when the heat is blasting and the winds are kicking around dust, pollen, pollution and who knows what else. It's nothing to sneeze at!

Here's more info and a picture on nasal rising: Wikipedia.





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Click on the link below to read what the FDA has to say about nasal rinsing:

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm316375.htm?source=govdelivery