The Benefits of a Neti Nasya Rinse & Gargle with Sudha Carolyn Lundeen
Now, more than ever, we’re thinking about how to support the immune system. COVID-19 absolutely has us wanting to support our health in as many ways as possible, but even with the pandemic aside, allergy season is creeping in and bringing all sorts of annoying symptoms with it.
To tackle both of these angles, we can use the holistic practice of a nasal rinse and throat gargle to clear out pathogens and irritants and calm those precious mucous membranes that are so important to strong immunity.
WHAT IS NETI?
Neti is the traditional method of passing warm salt water through the nostrils and upper respiratory tract to clear them of bacteria, viruses, and pollutants. It is done with a little pot that has a long spout.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS? There are many. Neti is remarkably effective in clearing the nasal passages of bacteria, viruses, allergens, and preventing them from becoming established in the lungs. They reduce mucosal inflammation and support the ability to take full breaths. Gargling with salt water does the same for the back of the throat.
WHAT IS NASYA?
Nasya refers to using an herbal oil to lubricate the nasal cavity, keeping the mucosa in the nose healthy and free from cracks which would allow viruses and bacteria to imbed in the mucosa. Saltwater can be very drying and can dehydrate the delicate nasal mucosa if not followed by a drop of moisturizing oil. It is best done immediately following neti. (Once you spread one drop around the nasal mucosa, you might tip the head back and drop 3 drops of oil into each nostril, then sniff deeply.)
WHEN TO USE?
You can use neti and nasya anytime, but it is most needed during flu/cold/allergy season or times you want to clear the nasal sinuses. Once in the morning is ideal but if you’re congested or worried about being exposed to something you can do it again in the late afternoon.
WHAT ABOUT GARGLING? Gargling for 30-60 seconds with warm to hot salt water soothes a sore throat and acts as an antiseptic.
- Neti pot, non-iodized salt, Nasya oil
- Filtered or distilled water
- Soap & water
- Alkalol: A solution containing various herbs, is especially helpful for breaking up thick mucous.
WHERE TO GET SUPPLIES?
Banyanbotanicals.com, OrganicIndia.com, AyurvedicInstitute.com are all reliable sources. Most co-ops, drug stores, and supermarkets sell the neti pots and Alkalol solution.
- Wash your hands.
- Place approx.1/2 teaspoon salt into a clean neti pot and fill with warm water. Stir well. add a 1 teaspoon Alkalol if mucous is thick.
- Gently Insert the tip of the neti pot into the right nostril, just enough to create a seal.
- Breathing through the mouth, lean over the sink. Rotate head to the right. Lift the handle of the neti pot to a 45-degree angle. Experiment with various head positions/angles to find the best position for water to come out the other nostril. If there is a stinging sensation, it likely means you have too little or too much salt. Adjust accordingly.
- Repeat on the left side.
- GENTLY blow nose until water no longer comes out.
- Place a drop of herbal infused Nasya Oil on your little finger. Coat the inside of nostrils to help keep mucosa moist and prevent drying.
- In a separate glass, gargle with hot salt water for 30-60 seconds.
- Clean the neti pot with soap and water.
- Wash your hands again.
STEAMING: If the nostrils are too congested /swollen to do neti, try “steaming.” You’ll need a bath towel, a pot of hot water and if available, and eucalyptus or tea tree oil. With the pan of water on a table or countertop, place ONE drop of eucalyptus or tea tree oil into the pot. Place the towel over your head and lean over the hot water, breathing as deeply as possible for 3-5 minutes. Lift a corner of the towel to release heat if it is too hot.
Sudha (Carolyn Lundeen) RN, E-RYT 1000 – Sudha is the Meditation and Stress Management Specialist at Dr. Mark Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA., and a senior faculty member at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. She has led trainings, retreats, and Ayurvedic lifestyle coaching for the past 30 years. www.sudhalundeen.com