Two Effective Ways to Solve Nasal Congestion
Nasal congestion is all too common. And with winter upon us and the increased risk of sickness all around, it’s important to manage the entire area. Here’s a few ways to do just that.
Oil pulling is a method that has been utilized for thousands of years in India as a way of promoting health, clearing the sinus and nasal pathways, improving dental and gum health and even aiding digestion.
I mentioned last week that I had a problem with my ear canal. Specifically, this is the Eustachian tube within the ear. The Eustachian tube is a canal that links your nasal canal to your ear canal underneath the maxillary sinus. The purpose and function of the Eustachian tubes is to equilibriate air pressure to prevent the eardrum from collapsing. It also functions as something of a drain for the inner ear as well. When it is blocked with congestion from the nose, this is a pathway for infections to develop as well. When it gets blocked, it can cause pain in the ear, hearing loss, and even vertigo.
It is very common in cold and flu cases to have a lot of nasal congestion and oil pulling is a good way to draw the congestion out of the sinuses, and indirectly, the ear canal as well. The two ingredients are coconut oil and sesame oil. The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil have anti-microbial properties and the sesame oil has antibacterial properties as well.
It’s a good idea to start in the morning before eating or drinking. The method is very simple.
You take a half spoonful of raw coconut oil and a half spoonful of sesame oil. Put it in your mouth and allow the coconut oil melt. Swish it around your mouth, like a mouthwash, for 10-20 minutes. When you are done, spit out into a trash can. You will be amazed how much comes out! Rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth afterwards.
You want to purchase organic, extra virgin coconut oil. It should be solid and white. You also want to get good quality sesame oil as well. You can find both at most grocery stores these days.
The Neti-pot a more direct way of clearing the sinuses and nasal pathways. The Neti-pot is a small pot with a large spout on it which is filled with salt water. It is inserted into the nose with the head tilted in the direction of the nostril being filled over a sink so the water can come out of the nostril on the other side. Repeat on the other side and do this in the morning.
It is important with the neti-pot to use as directed. Use only distilled water with the salt-pods provided. I don’t recommend that you use anything else in the neti-pot! Do not use tap water or filter water, as the pH of these can attract potential pathogens that are dangerous if accessed directly into the nasal pathways.
To clean the netipot, I boil about 1 cup of distilled water and I pour it into the neti-pot with a cap full of hydrogen peroxide. I let it cool before pouring out, rinsing with boiling hot water and letting it dry. It’s very important to keep it clean and not risk any contamination to the neti-pot!
In recent years, I am noticing more doctors are suggesting the neti-pot. In the past, it was considered a “no no” b/c of the risk of microbial infection from an amoeba called Naegleria Fowleri. But these risks are really low with the neti-pot, especially if you are using them correctly – with distilled water and salt. So while I still don’t recommend it as a first resort, many people do experience a lot of relief using the neti-pot. But I was really surprised with both my primary doctor with my ENT even strongly recommended using the neti-pot. I asked them about the risk of infection, including the amoeba but they said the risks are really low and now they are recommending it.
So now, I’m changing my attitude about the neti-pot and recommend it.
There’s also Navage!
There’s also a device called the Navage which I’ve heard is good as well. It’s quite a bit more expensive than the neti-pot but it is mechanical and it’s easier to clean, I believe. However, it is made of plastic, which I like to avoid if possible. I have no personal experience with this, but if you do please feel free to share with us if you liked it or not.
What are some of your experiences with nasal and sinus congestion? What kinds of things have you tried at home? Please feel free to reach out to us and let us know. We would love to hear your feedback.
Also, if you suffer from chronic nasal congestion and sinus pain and need a little extra help, please schedule an appointment with us.
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