Troubled by coughs, colds, allergies or sinusitis? Try the Neti Pot
Lots of people have been saying that they are troubled with catarrh, coughs and colds at the moment so I thought this might be appropriate for this time of the year.
Jala Neti, or Saline Nasal Irrigation (SNI), is a traditional method of self-administered nasal cleansing. It has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine (the ancient system of healthcare from which yoga originates) to alleviate nasal congestion, sinus and allergy problems.
What is a neti pot?
A neti pot is a small device, a bit like a miniature watering can, which is filled with warm, sterilised, slightly salted water and the spout of the pot is inserted into one nostril. The position of the head and pot are adjusted to allow the user to pour water in one nostril and let the water flow out of the other nostril.
How does it work and what do people say about it?
This video demonstration of the neti pot on the Oprah Winfrey Show shows how it is used and you can hear personal accounts of a few people who have used it.
When asked what he always took on holiday Frank Skinner replied as follows:
“A neti pot. It’s like a small watering can. You fill it with warm water and a little salt and you pour it up your nose in the morning. From the age of about 11 I seem to have had perpetual catarrh. Maybe it’s because I come from Birmingham and speak through my nose. But someone suggested the neti pot and it completely changed my life. It’s like a spring clean of the head every morning.”
I also use a neti pot whenever I feel a cold is threatening and generally it keeps it at bay.
What evidence is there that it works?
Numerous clinical studies have shown that nasal irrigation is effective at improving a variety of symptoms associated with nasal congestion, colds and sinusitis. This article summarises many of these studies.
One such study ends like this…
“CONCLUSION: Nasal irrigation is a simple, inexpensive treatment that relieves the symptoms of a variety of sinus and nasal conditions, reduces use of medical resources and could help minimize antibiotic resistance.”
All my favourite yoga things
Everything that you might want to buy to support your yoga practice is now available from the GuildfordYoga Shop and all the individual items are personally recommended by me.
Over the years, I’ve bought yoga clothing from almost every yoga brand available – some are excellent, they look good and feel comfortable to wear; some look good but are annoying when you practice; and some brands don’t seem to do anything well. My personal favourites are Prana and Asquith – have a look and decide for yourself.
There are thousands of yoga books and DVD’s available on the market, so I’ve recommended a few to help you get started and I’ll add further suggestions over the next few weeks.
Yoga equipment also varies tremendously in quality and price, so I’ve made a suggestion of where you should start looking. And here are some tips on what to look for when buying your yoga mat.
The Perfect Yoga Mat?
Finding the perfect yoga mat for you will be a trade-off. Think about the following criteria:
- Thickness – Too thin and you’ll feel uncomfortable when you are doing the supine poses and too thick and you’ll have problems with the standing balances. The older you are = the more cushioning you’ll need.
- Weight – Too heavy and it’ll be a drag to carry around, too light and it’ll probably be super thin and will offer no comfort. If you are travelling you’ll want a thin, light mat that rolls up neatly.
- Grip – Make sure that you won’t slip, many of the super cheap mats don’t offer a great deal of grip.
- Size – If you are over 6ft you should consider buying an extra long mat. Mats also vary in their width, check that the mat you are buying actually fits your yoga bag.
- Feel – Some mats feel soft to the touch, lie flat and roll nice and easily. These feel nice, but some people may prefer a more textured mat that offers better grip. Cheap mats often have a cardboard feel and don’t lie flat.
- Material – Some mats are made from natural rubber which is more eco-friendly (but heavier). PVC mats aren’t so eco-friendly and may have an unpleasant smell.
- Manufacturer – It is best to choose a mat made by a specialist yoga mat manufacturer as they have considered all the above criteria. Super cheap mats made by generalist sports companies don’t always offer the qualities you need.
- Price – Mats vary from as little as £5 to over £80. Buy a mid-range (£10-£35) mat unless you are totally sure what you want. If you are a committed yogi, buy two mid-range mats offering different qualities so that you can use a thicker, softer one for more gentle floor-based practices and a thinner, stickier mat for high energy standing practices.