The world is generally divided up into two parts: those who use nasal irrigation faithfully, and those who have never heard of it. Although the second group is larger, the first group is stridently vocal in its support of this home remedy.
What is nasal irrigation? The term refers to any practice, such as using a neti pot, which involves pouring or squirting liquid up through the nose and maxillofacial sinuses in an effort to loosen and dislodge hardened mucus. Almost all versions of nasal irrigation use warm saline water, which has the benefit of encouraging drainage without stinging or burning the sensitive tissues of the mucosa.
Much of the support in favor of the neti pot has been anecdotal, if powerful. But recently a study examined just how well the practice works, and the researchers came away duly impressed:
Symptoms scores decreased for all groups, but moreso for people who were using nasal irrigation than for those who weren’t. Most of this benefit was seen in the group combining nasal irrigation and steam inhalation, but steam inhalation alone did not appear to improve any symptoms other than headache.
Conclusion: nasal irrigation lessons symptoms and increases comfort. If you have sinus pressure, pain, or chronic congestion, try a neti pot and see if it helps. Just remember to use purified water each and every time!