Sinusitis and Sinus problems and acupunctureToowoomba Acupuncturist Discusses use of Acupuncture for the Symptomatic Relief of Sinusitis and Sinus Problems

Toowoomba in south east Queensland is known as the Garden City due to the rich diversity in plant species, and is known internationally for the annual Carnival of Flowers festival, and as such is subject to numerous pollens that can cause sinus flare ups and sinus problems including  Sinusitis and Allergic rhinitis (perennial & seasonal), which is also called “hay fever”. Toowoomba is the gate-way to the Darling Downs agricultural area and is subject to the numerous pollens from grain crops grown on the beautiful rich soils of the Darling Downs. Subsequently, the area is known for the large number of sinus sufferers due to the large diversity of pollens present throughout the year.  I have been a qualified Acupuncturist in Queensland, Australia for over 3.5 decades, and generally patients derive a good outcome for their medical condition of Allergic rhinitis (perennial & seasonal). I inspire confidence and trust from my patients because I am highly qualified in Acupuncture. I am also a former sinus sufferer, so I know exactly how debilitating the medical condition is. I have found that using Jala Neti or Nasal Irrigation using a neti pot along with a course of acupuncture treatment is one way that blocked and irritated sinuses can be cleared naturally. ANTRAC supplies Neti Pots for your nasal irrigation purpose for $65, which includes an instruction manual as an e-book, which is valued at $35. Many sinus sufferers pay much more than $65 per MONTH for nasal decongestants and anti-histamines, not even considering lost work days. Once you have mastered nasal irrigation by the third time, you will likely not require the medications again. For many sinus sufferers the Neti Pot pays for itself in the first month. For acupuncture treatment of your Sinus problems contact Louis at ANTRAC Acupuncture Clinic on (07) 4636 6100. Please note that if you only want the Neti Pot and NO acupuncture treatment that is fine – CALL (07) 4636 6100.

My Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (CMBA) Certificate of Registration Number is CMR0001717120.

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Toowoomba Acupuncturist Discusses Acupuncture and Jala Neti Use for the Symptomatic Treatment of Sinus Problems including Allergic Rhinitis (Perennial & Seasonal), Commonly Called Hay Fever. 

Use of the Neti Pot as a simple and painless method to clear facial sinus congestion and the myriad of resultant health problems.

 Regular use of the Neti Pot is recommended for everyone who breathes.

 “Using the Neti Pot has changed my life”.

  Nasal Irrigation and Detoxification

While it may seem strange to pass warm saline solution through our sinuses, trust me after you have received the prompt rewards of detoxifying and draining your sinuses within 5 minutes of being unable to breathe, you will be converted to nasal irrigation and detoxification.

After the hundreds of Neti pots I have placed with patients over the years only two women were unable to use them because of the mindset they had regarding fluid flowing through the innermost passages of their faces.  They are content to swallow the antihistamines and nasal decongestants, and that is fine.  We all must do what we feel comfortable with.


Salt must be used in the solution every time you use the Net Pot.  There are many other supplements that can be added to address specific sinus-related problems e.g. stuffiness or infection.

The salt must be high quality sun-dried sea salt from sea water that is free from pollutants, otherwise the pollutants are concentrated during the drying process and still present when added to the Neti pot.  The aim is to cleanse the sinuses of pollutants, not introduce new pollutants to the already traumatized delicate tissues.  Celtic sea salt and Himalayan salt are ideal.  They are reasonably expensive to purchase, but each packet goes a long way, and compared to the cost of antihistamines and nasal decongestants and the problems that they introduce absolutely justifies the cost of the high quality salts.

Because each Neti pot and teaspoon is a different size and the size of the salt granules vary depending on the form of salt preferred, it is important to standardize the amount of salt used in your pot.  Keeping the same spoon with the salt and Neti pot together and noting how much salt is used, make the setting-up procedure swift and convenient and it only takes about 3-4 times to get the amount of salt required easy. Ideally the amount of salt should be about 0.85% which is the saltiness of our tears and body fluids.  Take a sip of the solution after the salt has been added and the solution well stirred to dissolve the salt.  Spit out the solution.  The solution should be body temperature and about as salty as our tears, before we start the irrigation process. Performing the entire irrigation procedure and then rinsing the pot ready for next time takes about 4 minutes, which is a very good investment in time, for the reward obtained.

Understanding the Jala Neti method

Neti Pot for Jala Neti sinus irrigation for Sinus Problems and Sinusitis from ANTRAC Acupuncture Clinic.jpgFor those who may not have much idea of the internal workings of the nasal cavities, it may seem strange to pour warm salty water through one’s nose. To help clear fears and misunderstandings, we have tried to explain the procedure in detail.

The first line of nasal defense is the tiny hairs called “cilia” which should trap larger particles entering the nose. These cilia are usually cleansed by normal breathing and by blowing the nose, but sometimes, due to a gradual build up of dirt, they can become clogged and may require washing out. The entire nasal passage – from the nose tip to throat (and beyond) – is covered with a layer of mucus. This mucus is secreted from within the mucous lining, 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.

The water simply flows up one nostril to just above the bridge of the nose where the usual air flows meet, backwards into the middle cavity and then the water flows down and out the other side of the nose. In this route, it passes by the frontal and mid nasal sinuses. In Stage 1 there should be no flow of water back towards the throat or into the mouth. When done correctly, there is very little sensation as the water will be the same temperature as the blood, and the salinity will be the same salinity as the blood. As a result, the nose hardly notices the flow through.

In the more advanced of Stages 2 and 3, only attempted after mastery of Stage 1, the water flows fully through the whole nasal cavity, down the back of the naso-pharynx and comes out through the mouth. In this route, it passes by the post-nasal sinuses, cleansing all the nasal passages more strongly. In neither version is there any discomfort or damage to the nasal functions.

Ideally, at no stage, should any water actually go up into the Eustachian tubes. However, this may happen if the practitioner breathes incorrectly or blows too strongly when drying. This causes only momentary discomfort and is not dangerous. In such an event, a few minutes of air-drying will usually clear out any stray water droplets.

The way in which Jala Neti rinses out the dirt and bacteria filled mucous lining would be obvious to most people as the warm water loosens and dissolves any internal build ups, and takes them outwards. But what may not be so obvious is that, due to gravity and a venturi-effect, the sinus passages are also drained by the vacuum pressure flow of the water. Whereas it would normally be impossible to drain a “dead end” cavity like the sinuses, Jala Neti achieves this ingeniously and simply.

For those with thick mucus conditions as well as those with running sinuses, the relief of sinus pressure can be felt within seconds. In a more detailed examination, it would also be seen, that through the effect of osmosis and capillary action, the blood vessels of the nose are stimulated to cleanse as well.

The nose is the “air conditioner” of the body. One of the many functions of the nose is to regulate the temperature and humidity of the incoming air. Some people have “dry noses” and suffer dry, crusty, nose bleed type problems. Others are “wets”, with the constantly running sinuses and the tissues always up their sleeve! Others have perpetual stuffy and blocked nostrils. Regular practice of Jala Neti helps to establish the correct working environment of temperature and humidity in the nose. 

Jala Neti Stage 1

1 – Nasal cleansing can be performed over a sink, a bowl on a table, in the shower or outside. First fill the Neti Pot with warm water of a temperature suitable for pouring in the nose – Neti Pot for Jala Neti sinus irrigation for Sinus Problems and Sinusitis from ANTRAC Acupuncture Clinic - Book 3Dneither too hot nor cold. Just like testing a baby’s bottle, pour a bit on your arm or taste and spit to check the temperature. Pure water is best if available but this is not obligatory.

2 – Mix in salt to the proportion of one – level teaspoon for half a liter of water. This equates to 0.9% – the same as human blood – and is called an isotonic solution. Mix the salt thoroughly. Taste the water and spit – adjust if not correct. After several attempts you will be able to recognize the correct mixture by taste. Be sure to fully mix and dissolve the salt.

3 – Place the nose cone of the Neti pot into the right nostril, sealing it to the nostril with a few twists and slight pressure. Try to point the spout straight up in line with the nasal passage so as not to block the tip of the nozzle by the inside of the nose. Open your mouth and breathe gently through the mouth. Do not sniff, swallow, laugh, talk or have any movement of air through the nose while the water is flowing through.

4 – Now slowly bend forward from the waist so that the tip of the nose is the lowest point of the head; and then tilt/roll the head, so that the left nostril is now the lowest point of the nose. Tilt slowly so that water doesn’t run out the top of the pot onto your face! Keep the nose cone fully sealed into the right nostril so that water doesn’t leak out. Continue breathing through the mouth while the water flows. After a few seconds the water should run out the left nostril. Keep breathing slowly and gently through the mouth. After the water begins to flow, wait about 20 – 30 seconds for about half a pot to flow right to left, and then remove the pot and stand up.

5 – Before changing sides, blow out gently through both nostrils to clear water and mucus from the nose. It is important that you do not blow hard at this point or you will send water up into the ear tubes and sinuses. All that is needed is a couple of slow, soft blows out into the sink to remove the water in the nose. Do not pinch the nostrils to create extra force, or blow hard and vigorously.

6 – Repeat steps 3 & 4 as above, but with the nose cone entering from the left nostril and the flow of water going left to right. After the pot runs dry, stand up, blow out gently through both nostrils and then prepare to dry out the nose.

7 – Drying The Nose.

  • Drying the nose properly is a very important part of the practice. Never neglect to do this part properly. People with high blood pressure should be careful of this part. If dizziness results when draining the nose, drying should only be done standing upright.
  • First bend forwards from the waist and hang the head upside down with the nose pointing towards the floor, letting any residual water drain from the nose. Then point the nose towards the knees. In each position, gently breathe in the mouth and out the nose about 10 times. A few droplets of water may run down.
  • Then stand up to do some rapid breathing through the nostrils. First, do 10 breaths through both nostrils together, sniffing in and out moderately with a bit more emphasis on the exhalation. Then close off the right nostril with one finger and do 10 rapid sniffing breaths through the left nostril only. Then do 10 sniffing breaths through the right nostril only. Finally, do 10 breaths again through both nostrils together. This should clear and dry the nose. If it feels as if there is still some water in there, repeat the whole drying process again.

8 – If, after doing the above steps, there is still a mucus blockage, the whole process may be repeated several times until it clears. If you regularly need to do several pots to effectively clear nasal mucus, it is easiest to mix several liters of solution in a bowl beforehand.

9 – Always do half a pot right to left, then half a pot left to right. Repeating this sequence is better than doing one whole pot in each direction, and taking a break to refill in between sides. It also gives the mucus a better chance to dissolve and exit more quickly.

 Troubleshooting common problems


If water does not flow out of the outgoing nostril (after giving it about 10 seconds to do so), before concluding there is a nasal blockage, check the following:

1 – Relax in the nose and facial area.

2 – Check that the end of the nose cone is not pushed against the inside of the nose thereby blocking water coming out of the pot. Align the spout in a straight line with the nostril passage, and don’t push it in too hard.

3 – Check that the pot is tilted enough for the water to flow down towards the nose.

4 – Check that you are not sniffing the water backwards towards the throat.

5 – Check that the water is not leaking out of the ingoing nostril.

6 – Check that the water is not too cold, since cold-water contracts the nasal passages.

 Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1      I think that actually doing Neti sounds disgusting but I would like to do it for the benefits. How can I get over my resistance?


This is a common conflict. The intellect says “Yeah, that’s a great idea” but the feelings are disgusted by the thought of it. The best way is to read all the literature about it so as to strengthen your rational argument for doing it, and then be carefully guided by a qualified person who will take into account your fears and nervousness and prove to you in about 3 minutes just how simple and easy it really is. Your irrational feelings will then be won over by a truly positive experience.

Q.2      Isn’t running water through your nose dangerous; after all, the nose wasn’t designed to take in water?


Jala Neti is in no way a dangerous practice – it will bestow only benefits. However, if misused or abused, at best, it will not work in the reputed way, or at worst, it can lead to minor side effects such as headaches, colds, nasal infections, earaches. All the reports we have heard about problems with Jala Neti have come from those who try to improvise beyond the traditional methods. This is why it is best to receive instructions personally from a qualified teacher and to always stick to the rules

But water in the nose is not unusual. Remember the way you feel after a good swim in the surf? A good flushing of the nose with salt water is a good thing. Stage 1 of Jala Neti is no more than that – a flush out of the frontal nose passages, except that the water is warm, 4 times less salty than sea water, and you are in control – not like when you get dumped in the surf and come up spluttering half drowned! That’s often what people are afraid of when they first hear about saline nasal cleansing. They may have nasty memories of nearly drowning at the beach. But it’s nothing like that. Admittedly there are certain internal nasal orifices in which the salty water should not go. It may take a few attempts to get the head angle correct so that this does not happen, but the results of a few bad attempts are not serious.

Q.3      How does Jala Neti actually work? How does running warm, salty water through your nose fix up so many problems?


Without being too anatomical or medical about it, the basic elements involved with Jala Neti – and all saline cleansing techniques for that matter – is that the warmth and salinity of the water is the same as the body’s own metabolism so that there is no tendency for rejection. You can use warm isotonic saline in any part of the body for health benefits. For this reason, the exact proportion of salt used is very important. Some people are worried about the salt. They think it might clog up their arteries! They ask, “Can it be done without the salt?” The answer is no. Salty water is a great body cleanser. It is used to flush out old mucus secretions that have trapped dirt and germs from the activities of everyday life. The normal function of the body’s mucous lining within the upper respiratory tract is to do that very thing, to trap dirt and germs. Normally, sniffing, blowing, coughing, sneezing and swallowing can clear out gross particles which become trapped in the mucous lining, but by washing the nasal passages with saline water, a complete cleanout is done more effectively. This then prevents rubbish passing further into the system by the”first stage filters” becoming overloaded. In a healthy person who eats well, breathes well and lives in a clean environment, the mucous lining should be able to cope alone and cleanse itself on a regular basis. But for a mouth breather, or one who eats bad food, or one who works in a dirty city or factory, the dirt and germs build up beyond the capacity of the normal cleansing mechanisms, causing all manner of malfunctions in the nose, sinus passages, eyes, ears, throat, and chest. Also, unconsciously they swallow this dirt-laden mucus and then have stomach problems, and on it goes, right through the system.

 Q.4      Can Neti be done too often?


Yes. The correct frequency is determined by a person’s particular problems and particular needs, but for most people, in most situations, once or twice a day, first thing in the morning and/or in the evening is sufficient. In some therapeutic situations, three or four times a day may be recommended, but this would not be continued indefinitely. This is why one should be instructed and advised in the beginning, and then checked up on occasionally if there is a difficult nasal pathology.

Q.5      I have done a similar thing to Jala Neti for years. I take water from a bowl in my hand and sniff It up my nose. Is It like that?


No, not at all. We know that many people have tried this. Some say their grandmothers or grandfathers used to do it. Some use cold water and some use warm. Some use salt and some do not. But those methods can’t possibly work as well as Jala Neti. It also runs the risk of leaving water up the sinus passages that will remain for some time afterwards. They do say it works in clearing the nose and helps prevent colds, and it may somewhat, but after these people have tried Jala Neti, they are always impressed at how much easier, safer and more effective it is.

 Q.6      Should the amount of salt ever be changed, for instance if you get a cold?


No. The proportion of salt is called normal saline – the same ratio as human blood. Too little salt will actually sting the nose, as will too much. There are certain mixtures, which ENT surgeons prescribe, but those things should only ever be used for severe nasal conditions. For the general user, and for preventative nasal health, always use: One level teaspoon of salt per half a liter of water.

Q.7      Can anything other than a proper Neti Pot be used?


Well, we have heard of other devices being tried – such as tea pots, invalid feeders, modified baby bottles, modified tomato sauce bottles, cooking funnels, the bowl and sniffing method. Someone even improvised with a length of garden hose?!?!? But quite frankly, why bother? You could get a tea leaf stuck up your nose! Also, all these other things may have odd smells or tastes which will spoil the experience. There is no simpler method than a well designed Neti Pot.

 Research on Jala Neti

While theory always sounds wonderful, Jala  Neti has in fact provided tremendous benefits. The following practical study is an interesting example of the attitude towards the practice in a classic “before and after” way. Also, the study concludes with the actual benefits for varying symptoms in terms of actual percentages.

We hope this study helps to put at rest any apprehensions that one may have about the efficacy of Neti.

 “12 month Study into the Effects of Jala Neti Upon 200 Yoga Students in Western Sydney”

By S. Saraswati

Personal Impressions About Neti Before, During, and After First Trial


Thoughts or Feelings Before During After
Positive 28% 48% 76%
Negative 48% 34% 18%
Mixed 24% 18% 6%

 The above table shows the fact that about half the students had negative impressions before first trying Neti. This is to be expected in cultures such as ours. Comments such as the following were abundant:

  • Yuk, no way!
  • Thought I might drown or choke
  • Skeptical that I could do it
  • Absolute fear
  • Gross, not socially acceptable
  • A good party trick – but you’re not really serious
  • Weird and scary
  • Disgusting

However, during their first trial, more than half the respondents found the experience of water passing through their nose was not that bad. There were many comments such as:

  • A bit tingly
  • Quite pleasant
  • Not as uncomfortable as I’d imagined
  • Warm and relaxing
  • Surprisingly easy
  • Painless and trouble free
  • It went through easily
  • No different to swimming.

After the first trial, three quarters of the practitioners found that Neti was good and beneficial. Afterwards, these were the typical comments:

  • Not as bad as I had thought
  • Clean and fresh feeling
  • Much clearer breathing
  • Light headed, but pleasantly so
  • Could really breathe at last
  • Smelled things I’d never noticed
  • Incredible relief from congestion
  • Great, really alive
  • Like after a good swim in the surf

 Frequency Practised

Less often than alternate days 11%
From daily to alternate days 15%
Once daily 60%
2 – 3 times daily 14%

After some time of regular practice, and by the time they were requested to return their questionnaire 5 weeks later, most students had settled into a routine of every day practice. As expected, these students reported a gradual improvement in their nasal problems. Even beyond the initial health benefits, these people will most probably continue to use Neti as a daily ablution and for illness prevention. The 14% using Neti more than once daily were advised to do so by their yoga teacher for specific therapeutic reasons. Such students needed a big boost to overcome chronic nasal problems, and their questionnaire responses indicated drastic initial changes and then a tapering off of the effects. The 15% who did Neti on average between daily and alternate days, found moderate gains, and most admitted to wanting to do it everyday. “I’d like to but I’m a bit slack”. The 11% who did Neti less than alternate days, were either dreadfully forgetful, not really interested, or only did it “when I felt a need to, such as being very blocked up”. These were the respondents who had ambivalent or mixed impressions about its healing efficacy.

Reported Short and Long Term Benefits

We defined “short term” as the first 2 weeks, and “long term” as beyond that. Nearly everyone reported some kind of immediate benefit from the use of Neti. The benefits of Neti, whether they were further improvement in the initial, known problems, or whether they were unexpected benefits, continued to accrue for some months. A tapering off over time is to be expected due to the drop off rate of “great hopes and new regimes”. Also, the effects of Neti become subtler over time, and once over their present health crisis, most people are not interested in continuing preventative health maintenance.

94% in the survey reported Short Term positive effects.

92% in the survey reported Long Term positive effects.

Overall Impression of Neti  after 1 – 2 Months Of Practice

Positive thoughts or feelings


Negative thoughts or feelings


Mixed/unsure thoughts or feelings


Pretty well speaks for itself. An abundance of comments like:

  • Wish I’d discovered it 50 years ago
  • Essential to daily health care
  • Great! I’ll be a lifelong user of Neti
  • I love it – I’m hooked!
  • Thank You. Neti has changed my life
  • Even more useful than I imagined
  • An excellent cleansing method
  • I can’t understand why doctors don’t recommend it
  • Should be more widely known
  • Fantastic way of clearing congestion
  • Simple, painless, beneficial
  • Safe and effective cleansing ritual
  • I can’t imagine not doing it forever
  • Easy, gives a sense of well being
  • Great for clearer thinking, easier breathing
  • Would recommend it to anyone who breathes
  • Far better than sinus medications.

 Symptoms and Results

The table shows the effects of Jala Neti upon different general and specific health ailments. Although only a few samples in some cases, this still gives a representative idea of what many yoga teachers have reported from years of verbal responses.

A lot of students tried Neti “just because the teacher said it was a good thing to do”. Some tried it for the “adventure” or “just because it was part of the yoga course”. Many thought they would just do it once and never again because they didn’t have any major respiratory health problems, but after actually experiencing it, most were sold!

Many people do not recognize many of their day-to-day discomforts as medically defined illnesses. They just think such things are the usual ups and downs of daily life. Statements such as – “I’m always a bit blocked up, I get fuzzy in the head for day, I’ve been continually dull and listless lately, I always carry a tissue because I sneeze a lot/my nose runs a lot, I get pretty regular headaches, I’ve been nursing a sore throat for years, I cough a bit most mornings” – are hard to categorize and quantify for data collation.

Such respondents did not name these conditions as illnesses or as being reasons for taking up Net in the first place, but they did mention later on that such things had now ceased. They would probably have considered that they were in good health before the study, but never the less, they received benefits from the technique and hence realized that they had been ignoring undiagnosed illness. This would explain the large numbers of what we have called “unexpected benefits”.

The number of respondents who were smokers was not accurately documented, as there was no specific question requesting that information. Only a few smokers mentioned it in their questionnaire. We know the proportion of yoga students who smoke is probably much higher than 2 out of 200! Continuation of smoking whilst being a user of Neti would greatly reduce the beneficial effects of the technique. Also, it is interesting to note, that when introducing Neti to a class, it is often the smokers who are the least interested in embracing such a concept.

 In the table following, our criteria were defined as follows:

  • Symptoms Mentioned (Total). Each time a symptom or ailment was mentioned on a questionnaire, either as desiring benefit or as an unexpected benefit of some sort, it was recorded. Many respondents had multiple ailments, some known and some unknown.
  • Symptoms, No Change. A percentage count of where there was mention of no improvement + where there was no mention of improvement in an ailment where there was initial mention of desire for improvement.
  • Symptoms, Improved. A percentage count of where improvement was noticed in an ailment where there was initial mention of desire for improvement.
  • Unexpected Benefits. A percentage count of where improvement was noticed in ailments where there was no initial mention of desire for improvement of that ailment.
  • Overall Benefits. The sum of Symptoms Improved + Unexpected Benefits as a percentage of Symptoms Mentioned. 
Symptom or Ailment, or Benefit Gained

Symptoms Mentioned (Total Number)


No Change


Symptoms Improved %





Benefits %













Chronic Mucus & Catarrh












Ear Problems






Eye Problems






General Breathing Difficulties






Hay fever






Headaches (incl. Migraine)






Nasal Blockages






Poor Smelling Function






Post Nasal Drip






Psychological Imbalances, such as: anxiety, low self confidence, general malaise












Improved Sleep






Reduction in Smoking






Spiritual/Meditative Benefits








Accupuncture, Acupunture or Accupunture common misspelling

Note that “Acupuncture” is often misspelt as accupuncture, acupunture or accupunture, that is with either too many c’s or not enough c’s. I would love to be able to clear up this very common spelling mistake, and set the record straight.

Ac·u·punc·ture – pronounced ak-yoo-puhngk-cher; Origin: 1675–85; < Latin acū with a needle (ablative of acus  needle) or acu- (as combining form of acus ) + puncture.


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