The yogic nasal rinsing with the nasal washing jug (neti)

The yogic nasal rinsing with the nasal washing pot (neti)

More and more people in industrialized countries are suffering from diseases of the nasal passages. In Germany alone, about 50.000 people undergo surgery on the paranasal sinuses. Other problems are diseases like allergies, hay fever, chronic rhinitis and sinusitis. Furthermore, irritations and incrustations due to drying of the sensitive nasal mucous membranes, which develop quickly in our often dry and overheated rooms, should be mentioned.

I would like to present a simple and inexpensive, yet very effective home remedy without negative side effects in the following article: the yogic nasal rinse with the nasal wash pot (neti).

The nasal region

Seven orifices open into the nasal region: two nostrils, two lacrimal ducts, two eustachian tubes, and the pharynx. In addition, we find the orifices of the frontal and maxillary sinuses. Over 20.000 breaths back and forth every day, and the free and good functioning of this region has considerable influence on our mental and physical well-being.

The tasks of the nose

The nose cleans and humidifies the air and warms it before it enters the lungs. These tasks are performed by the mucous membrane that lines our nose and our airways as a whole. Microscopically fine hairs, the cilia, continuously transport a constantly renewing mucus carpet through rhythmic movements – on the one hand from the bronchi and trachea, on the other hand from the nose – towards the pharynx. From there, the secretion, in which all foreign bodies such as dust and bacteria have been collected, passes into the stomach, where it is neutralized by enzymes.

This self-cleaning process also involves the paranasal sinuses, which are connected to the nasal cavity by fine channels. The mucous membrane of the inner nose thus has an important defense function against foreign bodies and thus against infections to fulfill. However, if the mucosal secretion is too thick, solidified or too liquid, the immediate removal of the invaded particles and microorganisms can no longer take place adequately. Sinusitis and chronic rhinitis are often the result, and foreign germs can easily accumulate in the throat and tonsils, leading to infections such as sore throats or tonsillitis.

Much more frequent problems are painful inflammations of the sinuses and paranasal sinuses, caused by clumping of the fine connecting channels in the nasal cavity. Lack of air exchange can lead to pressure problems (negative pressure) and pain. A non-bacterial inflammation can occur because secretion is accumulated. A bacterial infection can easily develop because bacteria grow secondarily into the sinuses. Then suppuration can also occur.

The principle of nasal washing

Slightly salted, lukewarm water flows through the nasal passages and rinses out impurities, pollen, viruses, bacteria, etc. Out. Encrustations are loosened and the normal functioning of the nasal mucosa is restored. Nasal lavage keeps the small openings of the connecting ducts that open into the nasal cavities clear. The mucous membranes swell, nasal breathing becomes freer again.

Since the nasal septum is not continuous up to the root of the nose, the water can flow through a passage at the top of the pharynx. Through this passage both nostrils are in connection; the water flows into one nostril and out of the other nostril again. Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of letting salty water flow through their nose.

However, if you remember that the tear duct opens into the nasal cavity, it becomes clear that this is by no means a strange affair: a continuous fine stream of salty tear fluid flows constantly into the nose as a natural nasal wash. Body-warm water, lightly salted water is thus fully adapted to the internal environment of the nose. It may take time to figure out the correct amount of salt to use. (physiological saline solution).

Too little or too much salt may cause a burning sensation in the nose for the beginner. After a few trials and some experimentation, the right amount of salt for the individual can be found. After that, any discomfort disappears. 9g salt to 1 ltr. Water (physiological saline solution) should be the guideline. Simple, iodine-free table salt is completely sufficient for washing the nose; I have also personally had very good experiences with Emser salt (Emser salt is expensive, however). Salt without chemical separating agents is recommended for particularly sensitive patients. Sea salt is often too large lumpy and finer table salt without additives therefore preferable. Care must be taken to ensure that the salt has really dissolved completely.

The filled nasal canister is then inserted into one nostril, the head is tilted forward over a wash basin and somewhat obliquely to the side. The salt water solution runs by itself quite easily out of the other nostril again. Breathing is done calmly and regularly through the mouth. If the solution partially drains into the pharynx, the head posture is still not completely correct; a slight downward posture change of the head also solves this problem. Afterwards the nose is dried by lightly blowing the nose.


– often stuffy or „runny“ nose
– frequent colds
– Tendency to inflammation of the sinuses
– Tendency to inflammation of the upper airways
– Hay fever
– frequently occurring sinus catarrh
– Activities in dusty, polluted or air-conditioned rooms
– frequent earaches due to inflammation of the middle ear.

Scientific research / colds

Some studies about the effect and benefit of nasal washing are already available. Scientists at the Hanover Medical School and the University of Magdeburg studied the effect of regular nasal rinsing on the incidence of colds. 88 recruits from the German armed forces volunteered for the project. 27 of the young soldiers also rinsed their noses in the morning and evening after brushing their teeth for six weeks. They were significantly less likely to get colds, sore throats, pharyngitis or tonsillitis than their 61 comrades who only brushed their teeth. The number of sick days decreased by six times.


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