Sunday, October 24, 2010

Addicted to the pot

Now you might think that the title above referred to marijuana but you would be wrong in thinking so.  In fact it refers to a neti pot, which both Wendy and I have been using lately to help clean gunk out of our heads.  This may sound bizarre but the idea of it is to pour saltwater into one nostril, have the water wander around through your sinuses and nasal passages and then pour out the other nostril.  The pot itself looks like this:

There are a plethora of videos on youtube explaining it, here is a link to one that gives you an idea of what using it looks like.  Wendy first found this on the internet, tried it out and immediately attempted to recruit me.  We had some really strange conversations about it, particularly because of the drowning aspect.  You see, while using the neti pot it can feel like you are drowning because there is water moving through your nasal passages.  Unlike drowning there isn't any sense of panic and it feels more just 'weird with a flavour of drowning' than 'I'm a' gonna die!' but we talked about how strange it was to introduce that feeling into another activity.  The other thing that was extremely remarkable was how incredibly effective this was at dealing with congestion.  I sometimes get pretty unpleasant sinus headaches when I get a cold and using the neti pot completely stops them while getting all the mucous out of me at the same time.  I use the pot, blow my nose and then am truly flabbergasted at the sheer volume of icky stuff that was residing inside my head clogging me up making me feel miserable.  Instead of blowing my nose constantly and feeling like everything inside my head is stuck to everything else I feel remarkably normal which is a tremendous upgrade to using cold medicine from the drugstore that makes me feel high as a kite.

I use the neti pot only occasionally when I get sick to fix myself up but Wendy uses it constantly.  It helps her sleep better and breathe easier at night so I heartily approve of its use but it does seem a little strange for her to be needing her pot fix every morning and night.  She gets grumpy and feels terrible if she doesn't get it like any other addict but at least she admits it.  Of course she doesn't want to quit and shouldn't quit, which isn't much like other addicts, so I suppose the analogy isn't really particularly strong.

For anyone curious, yes, you do have to use warm saltwater.  If you don't it burns and feels terrible but the warm saltwater, if salted and warmed to the correct degree, feels really quite comfortable and normal.  I am often fairly derisive of 'natural' health remedies but this one passes the test.


  1. I've been considering getting one of these for a while now but it seemed a little hocum. Nice to hear it actually does something for the two of you.

  2. I suspect I have some mild allergies, and using this once a day seems to keep them totally under control. Elli absolutely *loves* watching me use it, thinks it is the greatest thing ever.

  3. Allergies is the reason I'd been thinking about getting one. I spend pretty much all non-winter months sneezing from something or another. I take allergy pills which make things manageable but I'm not a big fan of taking pills so if rinsing with salt water works it would be awesome.

    Where did you get the pot itself?

  4. Drug store has them. The particular one in the picture is from the one across the street from Davisville subway. They even come in pink...

  5. Just love my neti pot... was extremely fearful at first. But then read a lot and found some great questions answered here:
    That's when I got the courage and haven't looked back since. Kudos to the neti pot.

  6. Hey Sky!
    We (the ER residents) did a literature review on this topic. Far and away better than any antibiotic for any type of sinus infection (acute/chronic etc) in the ER setting is saline nasal rinses. But you'd be amazed how many people want to expose their bodies to antibiotics because they can't or wont let their minds get around the fact that washing their noses out will be just as good! I feel like I should direct them to this post to explain it!!