With steadily rising levels of environmental pollutants permeating the air, it is no surprise that, according to the Center for Disease Control, sinusitis currently affects 30.6 million American citizens—and that number is growing daily. Since this and other upper respiratory infections, including hay fever, have become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, many have turned away from pharmaceuticals and have opted for more holistic treatments. While the neti pot is a seasoned, safe and effective therapeutic tool, there are holistic alternatives available.
Nasal Wash Bottles
Similar in concept to neti pots, nasal wash bottles are simply bottles that come in all shapes and sizes and hold saline solution for cleansing the nasal cavity. After tilting the head all the way to one side, the user pours the solution into one nostril, through the sinus cavity, and allows it to come out the other nostril. While adequate for superficial nasal washing, the effectiveness of nasal wash bottles is often limited, as their construction isn’t often conducive to creating the good vacuum seal needed in the nostril to break down biofilm—or thick mucous resulting from chronic allergies or sinusitis—in the nasal passages. Additionally, their imprecise construction can make using them a very messy business.
Nasal Bulbs and Syringes
Nasal bulbs and syringes also use saline solution to irrigate the nasal passages, but offer a more precise nostril fit, thus introducing more positive pressure into the sinus cavity and usually resulting in a more effective cleansing—without the added discomfort of having to hold the head to one side for an extended period of time. These devices, also called nasal aspirators, are especially effective for young children and those new to nasal cleansing, as they are typically made of comfortable, flexible material and come in a variety of sizes.
Pulsatile Irrigation Devices
These devices combine to produce a machine that sends an intermittent, pulsating stream of saline solution through the nasal cavity to clean and restore moisture to the sinuses, massage the inner membranes of the nose, and remove foreign matter. According to a study in the October 2006 edition of the "Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery," pulsatile irrigation is up to 100 times more effective at removing bacteria and restoring ciliary function than the steady stream irrigation used by nasal wash bottles, bulbs and syringes.
Brianna Ladapo is a writer and editor based in New York City. Her feature articles, award-winning poetry and works of fiction have been featured in several publications nationwide, including "Change Magazine" and "Natural Health Journals." Ladapo holds a master's degree in English from Harvard University and is pursuing further studies in naturopathic health and wellness.