Jala= water (Sanskrit)
Nethi= clean (Sanskrit)
For the past few months I have been practicing Jalanethi. It is part of Yoga but to my surprise, I find people of other countries also practice it under different names: Nasa dusche or Nasal Irrigation.
It is a inner nose cleansing technique useful for those who are prone to common colds, nose blocks and air borne allergens. One warms water, adds a pinch of salt and flows it into one nostril, bending the head in a way that it comes out the other, during the process of which one breathes steadily through the mouth. This process is repeated through the other side.
It is done without salt by those who have blood pressure and need to minimise their salt intake. And recently, it is been recommended that the water should be preboiled to avoid any microorganism having direct contact with the inner sensitive epithelial cells. Processed city drinking water from the taps may contain certain types of amoeboids which pass the quality test for drinking because they can be broken down in the digestive system, but may still be dangerous for the inner nose regions and the brain.
The advantages of Jalanethi though are very appreciable! A friend of a friend has been doing it twice a day and apparently hasn’t been sick in years! I have an allergic reaction to European spring and summer grass pollen. Otherwise known as mild hay fever. My aim in learning this practice in September was to be good enough at it so I can use it regularly during the hay fever season. But once I got it right, my breathing and nasal clarity improved so much that I now do it once everyday (not with preboiled water or salt though!). In fact, if I don’t do it for a day, I get that uncomfortable feeling one gets when one hasn’t brushed one’s teeth or showered in a day. Both nostrils are clear and any sign of mucous build up is cleaned out. If the cold can get me anywhere it would be straight to my throat for which there is salt water gargling, which I may start to do more regularly in the future.
In the beginning I had the Nethi container, also called the Nethi Pot, which I brought here from India. I started apprehensively because the idea of having water up my nose wasn’t appealing. The first time I bent over the sink facing down. Bad idea! The water went straight to my eyes and stayed there until I gave up. I regained my breath and the redness in my eyes subsided. After a few attempts, I asked my parents and they told me that I should keep my face upright and only bend my head sideways. I also watched this video.
This is of course someone who has done it for a while now… I expected the water to flow out as easily as it does for him but it didn’t. My parents told me to be patient and that once I have the right angle, the water will have no option but to come out through the other side. I remember my elation when at first it did, in droplets and trickles. I did only half a container on both sides initially. Then, over the next few days, the flow increased, as did my comfort level and the amount of water I could allow through. I got used to breathing through my mouth; something I avoid doing since I learnt about the absence of filtering ciliated cells on the way to my lungs. The over all comfort level with this process has increased tremendously since then and I do it almost as a casual exercise now, as good as the guy in the video.
I recommend this practice to everyone just to breathe more freely and to maintain good respiratory health. Good luck!