Since the nose is our first line of defence against potentially harmful invaders it is important, whenever possible, to take air in through your nostrils. Air entering through the mouth is drawn directly into the lungs, via the pharynx and trachea, without being cleansed, moistened or warmed. All of which are essential for healthy and efficient breathing.
It is also essential to drink plenty of water to ensure your mucus remains moist. The dryer it becomes the more vulnerable you are to air borne infections and pollution. At the same time, you should avoid too many starchy dishes or dairy products since these reduce the system’s effectiveness by thickening the mucus and making it more viscous. Avoiding milk, cheese, butter, bread, pasta and so forth is especially important when suffering from colds, flu or any infection that already affects mucus production. Dry air in combination with an overly thickened mucus can cause a crusting within the nasal passages that results in discomfort, irritation and possibly inflammation.
Cleansing Your Passages With a Nasal Wash
To prevent a build up of muck and ensure their mucus membranes remain clean and healthy, more and more health conscious people are now using a nasal wash. This involves pouring a small amount of water into one nostril and allowing it to flow out of the other one.
To anybody who has accidentally sucked in water through the nose whilst swimming or bathing this may seem a highly undesirable thing to do. They know just how painful and disagreeable are the consequences of inhaling water. In fact there is a world of difference between a nasal wash, using water raised to body temperature of 37o C and with sufficient salt to give it the same composition as tears, and an inadvertent inhalation of chlorinated or chemically treated water.
Some people who regularly employ a nasal wash make use of a specially designed little container, called a Neti Pot, which is shaped rather like Aladdin’s Lamp with a long, narrow spout. While this makes the procedure slightly easier, any small pot with a sufficiently narrow spout to direct the water accurately up your nostrils will prove satisfactory. Try a nasal wash and you’ll be delighted how much more clear-headed and energetic it makes you feel. When doing so follow these simpl procedures carefully.
- Take a quarter of a teaspoon of fine salt – table salt is fine – and mix it with a cupful of warm water. There is no need to use a thermometer to check the exact temperature so long as it feels about blood heat. Ensure the salt is completely dissolved before pouring half of it into your Neti Pot or other receptacle.
- With your head tilted to the right side and raised slightly, bend over the basinand gently pour the liquid into your left nostril. Adjust your position so that the fluid pours freely from your right nostril.
- When all the fluid has been used, blow through both nostrils to remove excesswater and mucus. Never close a nostril whilst doing this or you mayunintentionally force the fluid into the ear.
- Should you experience any problems in clearing your nasal passages, kneel downwith your forehead touching the floor and, turning your head whilst doing so,blow air through your nostrils.
- Now repeat the whole process with the remaining portion of the warm salted water, this time tilting your head to the left and pouring it in through your right nostril.
- With practice it becomes possible to direct the water downwards and out through the mouth, which further cleanses the system.
A full discussion of the role of nasal washing and a practical demonstration of the procedure can be found on the Bo-Tau home training DVD.