Jala Neti, or nasal cleansing using warm salty water, is a very ancient technique which has been passed on for thousands of years by the Yogis for both physical as well as deeper spiritual benefits. Now is possibly a time of the greatest need for such a practice by modern people. With the ever increasing incidence of respiratory illnesses such as asthma, allergies, hayfever, sinusitis, colds, influenzas, etc, as well as the rapid degeneration of spiritual consciousness in some sections of society, the practice of Jala Neti could serve as a panacea for helping to improve the lives of many people. Neti is a practice which is very beneficial to the cleanliness of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, lungs, as well as the thinking processes.
Benefits of Neti
· Neti removes all the dirt and bacteria filled mucus from within the nose.
· It also helps to drain the sinus cavities. This, in turn, will help to reprogram the body's natural mechanisms against nasal infections such as hayfever, allergies, sinusitis and other upper respiratory complaints like sore throats and coughs, post nasal drip, inflammation of tonsils and adenoids.
· It is beneficial for illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis as it reduces the tendency for mouth breathing by freeing the nostrils of mucus.
· It has a cooling and soothing effect on the brain by drawing out excessive heat, and is therefore beneficial for headaches, migraine, epilepsy, temper tantrums, hysteria, depression and general mental tension.
· Neti is of great benefit for problems associated with the eyes. It helps flush the tear ducts, encouraging better vision and gives a sparkle to the eyes.
· It can be beneficial for certain types of ear disorders such as middle ear infections, glue ear and tinitis.
· Neti improves sensitivity of the olfactory nerves, helping to restore lost sense of smell, and thereby benefits the relationship with taste and digestive processes.
· It has subtle effects on the pineal and pituitary glands which control the hormonal system. This has a harmonizing effect on emotional behaviours.
· Neti affects the psychic centre known as Ajna Chakra which helps in awakening higher states of meditation.
· It helps to stimulate better powers of visualisation and concentration and gives a feeling of lightness and clarity to the mind.
· Neti is excellent for those trying to give up smoking. Since it reduces the tendency for mouth breathing, Neti re-sensitises the nose to the actual pollution of ingesting smoke, thereby de-programming the brain of the physical and psychological addiction.
It is well known that drinking milk and consuming other dairy products can cause nasal blockages. Also it is known that this trapped mucus is an excellent breeding ground for viruses and other infectious disease.
Anatomy of the Neti Practice
For those who may not have much idea of the internal workings of the nasal cavities, it may seem like a stupid or even a dangerous thing to pour warm salty water through one's nose. But when examined with an open mind and a simple picture of the physiological structures involved, fears and misunderstandings can be cleared up. The first line of nasal defence are the tiny hairs called “cilia” which should trap larger particles entering the nose. These cilia are usually cleansed by the act of normal breathing and by blowing the nose, but sometimes, due to a gradual build up of dirt they can become clogged and may requiring washing out. The whole of the nasal passages from nose tip to throat (and beyond) are covered with a layer of mucus. This mucus is secreted from within the mucus linings and its function is to trap smaller foreign particles and bacteria. The dirty mucus is normally blown out, snorted and coughed out or swallowed. The sinus passages are an even finer mechanism of filtering which, if infected, secrete a runny mucus to evict the germs. This is generally called sinusitis and can be a short term symptom or a chronic condition. Neti nose cleansing activates all the mucus membranes in the body, also in the stomach and in the eyes.
Professor Paul Stoksted states: "The movement of the cilia hairs can be paralysed by virus and allergy provoking substances, and also when it dries out, the mucus becomes tough and crusty and looses its function. Cleansing with salt water keeps the mucus moist, the cilia hairs are stimulated and encrustations, dust as well as allergy provoking substances are removed".