Yoga for Allergies and Sinus: Neti Nasal Flush for Symptom Relief

Just about everyone’s heard of neti by now. It’s received significant media attention. National Public Radio broadcast a morning story about it, and it made the Oprah Winfrey show in May of 2007.

Now that it’s main-stream, neti pots are readily available at most pharmacies. Many family physicians, 87 percent in one survey, are prescribing neti pots for chronic sinus and allergy problems. Medical guidelines in both the United States and Canada are recommending neti for a variety of sinus conditions.

What many people haven’t heard is that the simple, natural, and inexpensive technique of neti originates from within the system of Yoga. A description of it can be found in the Gheranda Samhita, a classic text from the late 1600s or early 1700s.

side view of nasal cavity and sinuses

How does neti work to unblock congested sinuses and alleviate symptoms of nasal allergies?  By…

  • mechanically flushing out bacteria, viruses, dust, and allergens
  • thinning remaining mucus so that sinuses and ostia don’t clog
  • decreasing swelling of the nasal mucosa
  • removing histamine, leukotrienes, and other inflammatory substances
  • increasing the frequency that cilia beat to remove mucus, crusts and debris

 

I’ve found that flushing with neti greatly alleviates my allergy symptoms so that I rarely, if ever, need to take an allergy pill even at the height of ragweed season when my nose and throat itch severely and my nose runs like crazy. If you suffer from hayfever or nasal allergies, give neti a try. You’ll be glad you did.

For scientific references, see here.

If you would like to see a great instructional video on how to perform neti, the University of Wisconsin has one here.

Has anyone else had a great experience with neti they would like to share? Has anyone had trouble with it? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.

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