Neti for Hay Fever
What we hear, how we are touched, what we see, taste and smell can reinforce or disrupt our sense of balance. Ayurveda encourages us to seek experiences that harmonise our senses in support of optimal emotional and physical wellbeing. Two practices that are deep-rooted in these principles are Neti and Nasya.
In this season of increased pollen in the air, the common way with most people who suffer with hay fever is to resort to anti-histamines. Many years ago, I used anti-histamine tablets and eye drops, which did the trick. However, they sometimes caused drowsiness, and if you're a contact lens user, you couldn't use the drops except when you took the lenses out. When I studied Homeopathy, I found remedies that helped better. However, with homeopathy, you need to start taking them before the season starts as the principle involves taking small doses that are most effective to the problem and least debilitating to the body.
Since learning Ayurveda, I've discovered that using a Neti Pot and Nasya have helped me live more comfortably with higher pollen counts in the environment as the pollen is flushed out from my nasal passage. While unpleasant to view and not the easiest of practices to engage in, I do find the benefits to be tremendous. I don't sneeze so much, my eyes don't itch and stream so much and my nose is not congested at bedtime enabling me to enjoy a restful sleep.
Using a Neti pot and Nasya is a traditional method to purify and revitalize the breathing passages. It is the healthiest and most effective method of getting rid of all the dust, pollen and external particles that the nose traps inside whilst breathing normally. In the same way that massage nourishes and rejuvenates the skin, Neti and Nasya nourish and rejuvenate the breathing passages. This process reduces allergies and decreases chances of contracting upper respiratory infections. It is also useful when engaging in activities in anywhere where the air is drier, such as before taking a plane flight.
A Neti pot is a small container with a spout that can be gently just outside your nostrils through which warm salt water is administered. Usually made from a ceramic material, a typical Neti pot holds about 2/3 of cup of water to which 1/8 teaspoon of salt is added.
Place the spout of the Neti pot in one nostril, tip your head to one side and gently pour in the warm salt water. Any remaining liquid in your nasal passages is expelled and the process is repeated on the other side. To derive any benefits a once weekly cleanse is a baseline requirement. However people who suffer with higher counts of pollen and other nasal infections, such as colds, will need to do this more often and will have to establish their own suitable regime. Watch the video below to see how to use the Neti Pot.
Nasya involves the application of a few drops of organic oil to the nasal membranes. Edible grades of sesame, almond, olive or herbalized aromatic oils that contain small amounts of camphor, eucalyptus and menthol have been shown to be suitable. Apply a drop of oil inside your nostril, then gently sniff it up and repeat on the other side.
The technique is not as hard or uncomfortable as it may seem and you should be pleasantly surprised at this simple and effective method of health maintenance within a short space of time. The practice that takes only minutes is one that integrates easily into your daily routine of body cleansing.