With the advent of winters we are troubled by colds upper respiratory ailments including allergies, asthma, and sinusitis. Our wellness expert Vineeta Gogia teaches you ways to keep these ailments at bay:
Called jala neti in Sanskrit, this user-friendly practice involves drawing a warm saline solution through the nasal passages with the aid of a neti pot (available online and at many health food stores). Jala neti prevents-and treats-colds, respiratory ailments, allergies and sinusitis. In addition to washing away mucus, dust, bacteria, viruses, and fungi, the nasal wash helps balance the flow of the breath through nostrils.
Jala neti uses a warm saline solution that's the same temperature and salt concentration as your bodily fluids, soothing to the sinuses. Here's a basic recipe: Mix one heaping teaspoon of pure, noniodized salt with two cups of warm water until the salt dissolves completely. Adjust the mixture to your own salinity-it should taste like warm tears. Then experiment with the following neti washes: one for beginners and another for the more experienced.
Fill your neti pot and lean over a sink, face downward. Keeping your nose slightly higher than your lips, twist your head to the right. As you breathe through the mouth, insert the spout into the upper nostril until it forms a tight seal. Raise the handle of the neti pot and let the water flow back through the nose and out the lower nostril. Repeat on the other side.
If the water flows into your mouth, lower your head slightly. If the water does not flow into the other nostril, you may need to raise your head or twist further. With a little experimentation, you'll get the hang of the head position.
Fill your mouth three-quarters full with warm saline solution. Lean over the sink, face down. To expel the water, tuck your chin toward your neck and press your entire tongue against the roof of the mouth, forcefully exhaling the saline into the sink. Keep the opening from the throat to the nose relaxed through the entire procedure. Repeat several times.
To clear loose mucus and water from the nose, make 10 moderately forceful exhalations into the sink with both nostrils open and the face relaxed. (Note: blocking one or both nostrils during these exhalations can force water and mucus into the Eustachian tubes.) Next, do a simple forward bend, turning the head from side to side as you do another round of vigorous exhalations. Then do the triangle pose, turning your head up to the ceiling and then down toward the floor. If water drips from your nose, do another forward bend and another round of exhalations.
The sensitive lining of the nostrils secretes mucus, which, in addition to trapping dust and dirt particles, contains antibodies that help protect against infections.
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