Thursday, July 23, 2009

Neti Pot

I was really excited to get one of these. So excited, I bought another one as a gift for my step-dad. I couldn't help myself. I just had to share the joy of nasal irrigation with someone I love.

My headaches are often behind my eyes, and can resemble sinus headaches. I also have hay fever, which leads to feeling stuffy, itchy eyes and sneezing fits that leave people staring at me. The sneezing fits don't do much for my head pain, either. I've been hearing for years about the benefits of neti pots, how they clear the sinuses and can improve the immune system. I've always been a little hesitant to try them because of my past sinus issues. Besides worrying about introducing contaminants and washing away defenses, I was concerned that my sinuses may not be structurally the same as everyone else's, due to a birth defect that was corrected by surgery. I have no idea what's going on up there, honestly. But last winter, when I got my annual head cold, I got desperate and I decided to try it, carefully. I got in a steamy shower for a few minutes, for some preliminary loosening. (Whether this contributed to my success, I have no idea. I just report the facts.) I grabbed a bottle of water and some table salt and poured it in each nostril in turn, like I had seen in the neti demonstrations. It was only partially successful, due to clumsiness and some serious congestion, but I did experience relief and decided then that I would invest in the proper tools, as soon as I could afford it.

So, now I can, and I did, and I tried it for reals a few days ago and I looooove it. At first, it felt wrong, like getting dunked in the pool. Then something in my head kind of gave and I felt the water gently flow from one nostril, into my sinus(es) and out the other. I wanted to giggle when it first started working. The sensation is almost tickling, but if the salt content isn't right, it can burn. Once I had rinsed my sinuses via both nostrils, I did a some "forceful exhalations" to flush the rest of the water. I do this gently, as to not provoke my head. I always end up with some drip running down my throat. Somewhat unpleasant, but brief. At first, I usually feel the same, if not a little stuffier. But after a few minutes, I am as clear as I've ever been. A sixty second wash leaves my sinuses feeling like I just got out of an hour long steamy shower. My ears itch less and my eyes even feel a little clearer. The neti pot definitely helps. It isn't a cure for anything, by any means, but it clears me up and keeps the sneezes at bay, for a little while at least.

I can't wait to get sick so I can really see what this baby can do.