Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Using a Nose Bidet

I pulled out my nose bidet today for the first time this spring. My son had a stuffy nose yesterday, I believe because of allergens in the spring air, and usually when he starts showing symptoms, I know it won’t be long before I am too. So as soon as I start feeling that slight scratchy feeling in my sinuses when I swallow, I get out my nose bidet. It works wonders!

In case you’re not familiar with a nose bidet (pronounced “bih-dey”), it’s a small, usually ceramic pitcher-type container that actually looks like a miniature watering can for plants, and even kind of like Aladdin's magic lamp. It is used to flush out your sinuses with warm water, ridding them of any foreign particles that might cause allergic reactions that lead to sinus infections. How do you use a nose bidet? It’s really very simple. Put warm, distilled water and pharmaceutical-grade, non-iodized salt in it, then pour the solution into one nostril with your head tipped to one side. The water should flow into your nostril, up through your sinuses, then out the other sinus. Blow your nose, then repeat on the other side. It’s that easy!

It might sound strange to you if you’ve never heard of it, but nose bidets have been used in yoga practice since ancient times, and washing the nasal passages has been a practice in many cultures for many years as well. Even though it’s a new concept in the U.S., it works extremely well. What it does is to physically remove the allergens from your sinuses before they have a chance to react defensively. Without using a nose bidet, your sinuses start to produce a lot of mucus, in an attempt to trap the allergens, making your nose run and sometimes get stopped up. When your nose gets stopped up and you can’t even blow your nose to get it all out, bacteria begins to build up in the mucus, causing an infection. When you use a nose bidet at the first sign of a problem, you get rid of the allergens before they can cause a problem, reducing or even completely preventing allergy symptoms.

I got my father a nose bidet this past Christmas. Ever since I can remember, he’s had problems with his sinuses, always getting infections that would spread to his ears. One memory of him when I was growing up was the constant clearing of his throat, that I now know was an attempt to get allergen junk out of his sinuses. I talked to him the other day, and to my delight, he said he no longer takes any sinus or allergy medications at all! He uses the nose bidet 3 times a week, and it has completely wiped out his sinus problems!

I first heard about nose bidets a few years ago on an episode of Oprah, in which Dr. Oz introduced me to the idea. I knew I had to try it, and I’m so happy I did! I used to get one or two sinus infections every year, and now I get zero! It’s wonderful!

So if you’ve been thinking about getting a nose bidet (sometimes referred to as a “Neti Pot,” which is one of may brands of nose bidets), GET ONE. Not having to take medication, or even reducing the amount you have to take, is such a wonderful, and in some cases, life-changing experience! Abandon your skepticism and give it a try. I think you’ll be so glad you did!

Here are some tips for your first few times using a nose bidet, that might help you as you get used to using it:
  • Use only pure, distilled water. You don’t want to use tap water, putting chlorine, and who knows what else in your nose.
  • Use only pure salt. You can get pharmaceutical-grade salt at a health food store, and I’ve also heard you can use “canning” salt. It’s important to make sure it’s non-iodized, and that it’s pure, without any additives that regular table salt has.
  • If you have a hard time with water flowing through your sinuses, feeling like you’re drowning, try this: You want to make sure you’re breathing slowly while your doing this process. Breathe slowing and deeply through your mouth, not your nose. If you try to breathe through your nose while water is flowing through your sinuses, it will be very unpleasant, like when you accidently got water in your nose in the swimming pool as a child. Just take it slowly, calm down and breathe through your mouth.
  • Don’t give up if you can’t get the hang of it the first time. It’s a new concept and a new sensation for a lot of us, so it may take some time to get used to. Practice until it comes easily. 

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  1. I have been using a neti pot for a few months now. I cannot believe the difference it has made! I actually survived February without a sinus infection which always turns into a respiratory infection. I use sea salt in mine with a few drops of echinacea and golden seal root. It seems to help with the allergies even more.

  2. I never thought of putting herbs in the water. I have to try that. Thank you, Amy!