A technique for washing out the nose and sinuses.

How to use a Tibetan nose pot

  1. Buy a Tibetan nose pot at your local hippie store. (If you are a hippie, or pretentious, or Tibetan, you will want to call it a neti pot.) Or, get an empty plastic sports bottle – the kind with a squirty nozzle tip. Having used both, I prefer the plastic bottle; but I insist on still calling it a Tibetan nose pot, for the sake of tradition and comedy. If your nose pot is ceramic, as the hippie version usually is, fill it with hot tap water to pre-warm it.
  2. Put a quarter teaspoon (or a few big pinches) of salt in your (empty and warm) nose pot. I always use unrefined sea salt. Use what you like.
  3. Run the hot water tap until it feels close to body temperature. Add about three-quarters cup to your nose pot.
  4. Swirl, shake, or stir the salt water until all the salt is dissolved. SERIOUSLY. The last thing you need is chunks of salt in your sinuses.
  5. Taste the water. It should be as warm and as salty as tears. If not, adjust to taste. If you do this well, you’ll feel no stinging, just lovely comforting fake tears in your sinuses. Nobody likes stinging, so do this well.
  6. You’re ready to irrigate! Stand over the sink, and bend your head forward slightly. Then rotate your head to the left. Imagine that your right eye is now directly above your left eye – doesn’t matter it if really is. Hold your nose pot to your right nostril and keep inclining your head (to the left) and the pot (upward) until fake tears flow into your nose, filling your sinuses. You may find it helpful to hold your throat in a “swallow” position, holding your breath; or keep your mouth open and breathe. Whatever works. I’ve done this hundreds of times and have never choked or drowned, so relax. You may feel some postnasal drip at the back of your throat.
  7. Your goal is for the fake tears to flow out of the opposite nostril. If you’re using a sports bottle, don’t be tempted to try squirting the water forcibly up your nose! However, a tiny bit of gentle pressure can be helpful.
  8. Put the nose pot down and gently blow the water out your nose. Most likely, some colorful stuff will follow it. (You might be lucky enough to see more stuff than you realized could fit in your entire skull. You lucky, lucky dog.)
  9. Repeat with the other nostril, and so on, as many times as you feel like it.

Why use a Tibetan nose pot

  1. Brings sweet relief during stuffy nose season.
  2. Washes bacteria from the sinuses, probably.
  3. Produces temporary sensation that oxygen is hitting your mucus membranes for the very first time.
  4. Provides interesting biofeedback into the actual, heretofore unsuspected extent of your nasal passages.
  5. Is less expensive than over-the-counter saline nasal flushes, and easier than snorting salt water out of a bowl.
  6. Could be a cultural experience, if using Tibetan nose pot in Tibetan monastery.
  7. Is entertaining.
  8. Just feels good.