Yogis have known about its beneficial effects for centuries, and
contemporary Western medicine is slowly catching on: Nasal
irrigation with an isotonic solution (meaning, a saline solution
similar in salt content to the body's fluids) is becoming
For a recent cold-and-flu-season story, ABC News interviewed Dr.
Ralph Metson, an ear, nose and throat specialist at both the
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School, and
co-author of the Harvard Medical School Guide to Healing Your
Sinuses. Sinusitis--an inflammation and infection of the sinuses,
whose symptoms are often mistaken for a cold or flu--can be
prevented by using a bulb syringe and squirting warm salt water into
your nostrils on a regular basis, says Metson. "The salt water will
run up the nose and run out right back out the same nostril, and
bring with it the infected mucus or allergy particles that are
So how does it work? Here's the standard technique:
First, make an isotonic solution by stirring ¼ teaspoon salt
in an 8-ounce glass of warm water and adding a pinch of baking soda.
Alternatively, you can buy sterile saline at the pharmacy or grocery
You can use a porcelain Neti pot, a bulb, syringe, or nose spray
bottle. Lower your head over a sink and turn it so that your left
nostril is down.
Make sure that your nose is slightly higher than your mouth and
breathe continuously through your mouth to prevent the solution from
running down your throat.
Pour solution from the container into your right nostril. It should
then--here Metson didn't get it quite right--drain from your left
nostril into the sink. Gently blow your nose and repeat the process
with the other nostril. Optimally, nasal irrigation should be used
once or twice a day.
That's it... even though some experts disagree on how to irrigate
Simple flushing just doesn't cut it, says the father of pulsatile
nasal irrigation, Dr. Murray Grossan, former chairman of the Ear,
Nose and Throat Dept. of Centinela Valley Hospital in Inglewood, CA.
On his comprehensive website http://www.ent-consult.com/, Grossan
explains that the reason for nasal and sinus problems is slow cilia
function ("the cilia are tiny oars that move the mucus out of the
"If the cilia slow down, the mucus in your nose becomes stagnant,
and like a stagnant stream, grows scum. Once the cilia speed up and
the mucus of the nose moves properly, then the bacteria are flushed
away and not allowed to enter the body. Healthy cilia are absolutely
the key to sinus health."
Only pulsatile irrigation, says Grossan, will do the trick. He
claims that with his special technique--"not to be confused with
introducing salt water into the nose any old way"--many of his
patients have been able to avoid sinus surgery.
In contrast to ordinary irrigation, pulsatile irrigation utilizes a
pulsating stream of water to prevent and fight infections. Grossan's
patented and FDA-registered Hydro Pulse Nasal and Sinus Irrigation
System can be purchased over various
health product sites and, says
its proud inventor, is now used "by thousands of doctors and tens of
thousands of patients around the world."
Grossan stresses that most of his patients who regularly perform
pulsatile nasal irrigation haven't had a cold in years. And there
may be something to it, even though mainstream medicine is clueless
why nasal irrigation works against viral and bacterial infections.
Nonetheless, research has proven that it does--even the regular
In 1998, doctors Richard Ravizza and John Fornadley of Pennsylvania
State University in University Park, PA conducted a study of 294
college students who were divided in three groups: One group flushed
their noses with saline daily, one group took placebo pills, and one
group did nothing at all. Compared to the other two groups, the
"irrigators" experienced a significant reduction in colds.
So, whichever method you use, it's good to know that there's an
effective remedy for clogged sinuses and colds that's non-addictive
and has no side effects... which is a lot more than Big Pharma has
going for it.
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12-13-2005 2:16 AM