Thursday, April 12, 2007

"What the hell is a neti pot?"

You ask. Well, I'm glad you asked...it's a little pot as the name implies, shaped more or less like a teapot, that holds about 8 oz. of water. Why would you want such a thing? Well, the spout--rather than dispensing tea--goes in your nostril. You lean forward over the sink (or whatever--if you want to collect your water and nasal secretions in a Mason jar, I suppose that's your prerogative), insert the spount in one nostril, and start pouring the water into your sinuses. Then--and this is the effing coolest thing ever--the water runs through your sinuses and streams out your OTHER NOSTRIL.

Cool bonus--I bought one three days ago at Greenstar (the health food store here in Ithaca) and have been using it once a day...my breathing was almost immediately freer, my allergy symptoms have improved many times over, and it's a damn cool thing to do. Not to mention that clinical studies (of the Western medical breed) have found that nasal irrigation can reduce sinus infections and improve overall quality of life for chronic sinus sufferers.
The images on the package were hilarious--there's a picture of the pot itself, which isn't so hilarity-inducing, but then there's a portrait of a woman actually using the neti pot. She's smiling like she just found out Oreos are vegan, and pouring this steady stream of water out her left nostril. Dadaists, eat your heart out: "Ancient Secrets" beat you to this one.

Fair warning, however--when you prepare the saline solution, DO NOT put in more salt than recommended (about 1/4 tsp. per 8 oz water). You will feel as though you have stuffed your sinuses full of wasabi. You will sputter and you will cry. The same is true for using water that is either too hot or too cold--it should be lukewarm, tepid if you will, lest the sputtering and crying commence. It still sort of hurts when I do it--like it did when I was a little kid and got water up my nose at the pool--but I'm hoping I'll get used to it, because the benefits are so profound. And each time, the wasabi factor diminishes somewhat. Maybe I just have sensitive sinuses--I'm a sensitive girl, after all.

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