Saturday, July 18, 2009

Nasal Washing (AKA Sinus Irrigation/Rinse)

Nasal Washing (AKA Sinus Irrigation/Rinse)

Why should you do a nasal wash?

I have become a big fan of nasal washing. This simple and easy to use tool can be very powerful when used regularly. For many years, I only emphasized nasal washing when an upper respiratory illness began. While nasal washing is quite useful in relieving the symptoms of infections, it is even more useful when used regularly. I now recommend anyone with any respiratory issues perform nasal washing 1-2x/day and increase to 3-4x/day if allergies worsen or at the onset of a respiratory infection. Regular nasal washing cleans mucus, decreases swelling and flushes out allergen which can make a dramatic difference in your health. You can expect to see:

· Less sniffing
· Less nasal voice
· Less clearing of your throat (post nasal drip)
· Decreased snoring and potentially better sleep for all J
· Relieve pregnancy rhinitis – the congestion during pregnancy
· Clears passages for CPAP users
· Children who wash have less missed school days and less doctor visits
· Improved ability to taste and smell
· Less infections
· Less asthma symptoms
· Less use of antihistamines, antibiotics and asthma medications
· More energy
· Better concentration
· Less use of antihistamines, antibiotics and asthma medications

What Rinsing Device Should I Use?

The 2 most popular units are the NeilMed Device and the Neti Pot. The Neti Pot is like an Aladdin’s Lamp that uses gravity. The NeilMed and another Product called Nasopure involve gently squeezing the bottle and uses positive pressure to provide more thorough rinsing. You can the NeilMed and Neti Pot devices in most drug stores. You can order the Nasopure device at and it is also in some stores.

A Picture is worth a Thousand Words
In order to really understand what rinsing involves you really need to watch a video. You can click on the links below (or cut and paste). They are worth your time.

Nasal Rinsing 101 (using the NeilMed):
Neti pot demonstration:
Nasopure Demonstration:

What is the correct nasal washing technique?

• Wash your hands
• Make the nasal wash solution using boiled or distilled water
• Make the saltwater, or saline, solution fresh for every nasal wash
• To make an Isotonic saltwater solution, mix ½ teaspoon of uniodized salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Uniodized salt is used because iodized salt may be irritating when used over a long period of time. Add a pinch of baking soda. A pinch is a small amount you can pick up between two fingers
• To make Hypertonic Saltwater Solution (more effective) use 1 tsp. of salt with ½ tsp. of baking soda per 8 oz.
• Use the entire 8 ounces of saltwater during the nasal wash
• Discard any unused saltwater and prepare a new saltwater solution before the next nasal wash

Isotonic Solution
An isotonic solution has the same concentration of salt as fluids in the body. While isotonic solutions do not have as many benefits as hypertonic solutions, many people like to begin nasal washing with these because they are milder.

Hypertonic Solution Studies show hypertonic solutions have benefits over isotonic:
Thins thick secretions most effectively
Removes 80% of allergens and can actually kill bacteria, fungi and viruses
Shrinks swollen membranes better

Do not use regular tap water without boiling first or use distilled water
Do not wash if nasal passage is completely blocked
Use only lukewarm water. Do not use cold or hot water
Avoid rinsing later than one hour before bedtime, in order to avoid any residual solution dripping in the throat
No Plain Water! Plain water without salt and baking soda will result in severe burning sensation
Can they brush their teeth? A person who does a nasal wash should be able to brush their own teeth. This ensures safe use of the product

Not in my nose!
I know many think “there is no way I am putting anything up my nose!” Nasal Washing really is quite easy and can even be pleasant. I encourage you to give it a try. Once you see the benefits, you will want to continue this simple wellness tool.