Saturday, August 15, 2009

Nose Wars

This post is about an Indian technique for preventing and clearing up colds, called jala neti. Last year my husband finally convinced me to try it, since allergies were making me a dripping fount of misery.

No, I don't use a neti pot... tried it... can't stand it. But I do use the more ancient form of irrigating the nose, which is much easier and much less, well, disturbing. And it works. I have had absolutely no sinus infections or colds or allergic rhinitis since starting this daily practice 1-1/2 years ago, and when I do have allergies, there's pretty much no congestion or drainage.

Here's what I do once a day:

1. Heat 1/2 cup distilled or sterile water in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to get it warm. Put it in a bowl.

2. Dissolve in 1/4 tsp. sea salt... anything other than sea salt isn't okay for this.

3. Add 1/2 cup more water, not heated. The overall temperature in the bowl should be lukewarm.

4. Dip your finger into the bowl and then wet the front of your nose. (This prevents the dreaded tickle.)

5. Breathe gently out of your nose, and then stick your nose into the water in the bowl, over a sink.

6. Click your glottis once or twice to pull a little water up into your nose.

7. Take your nose out of the bowl and let the water run out into the sink.

8. Repeat steps 5 - 7 twice more.

9. If one of your nostrils seems a little clogged, do it once more, but with a finger closing the other nostril.

10. Blow your nose gently into a tissue, each nostril separately.

11. With the tissue over your nose, bend forward at the waist and exhale through the nose 4-5 times in the following 4 positions: with your face pointing straight ahead and top of the head up, then top of the head pointing to the front and face pointing to the right, next same but to the left, and finally with your head hanging straight down and facing your legs.

12. Sit or stand with your head upright and breathe deeply and slowly, inhaling through your tongue curled to form a little tube, and exhaling as completely as possible through the nose. Do this 5 times.

When I started doing this, I did it 3 times a day because I had a lot of fluid and nasal congestion.

This does not cure my allergies or prevent my sinus headaches. It does prevent fluid buildup and infection for me.

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