I should warn you, this post turned out a little grosser than I intended....
The first time I ever heard about neti pots, my first thought was "Eeeuuuuwwww!" Gross! Why would somebody do that? If you don't know what one is, let me enlighten you. It's a little device that looks like a stretched out tea pot. You put a warm saline solution in it, lean your head forward, place the spout in your nostril, tilt your head to the side, tip the pot up, and wash out your nose. THE WATER GOES THROUGH YOUR NOSE AND OUT THE OTHER NOSTRIL.
Oprah calls them Nose-Bidets.
So I thought all that was some kind of horrifying new-agey crap. But then I started hearing murmurs of the fantasticness of neti pots. How your nose felt so good after you used one. How they cleared out your sinuses. How you could breathe easier and life was better. I got curious. VERY CURIOUS. Especially when my mother tried one (at my urging, I evilly wanted her to be the guinea pig on this one), and she said it worked great.
Well. The time had come. Not to mention I have a cold and I'd like to breathe.
I thought I had to go to a health food store and get some expensive ceramic pot and some sort of expensive solution to wash my nose out with. Not so. They sell these at Walgreens people. The Drug Store! I found one for about $15, and it came with little packs of dry saline solution. The pot is plastic, and came with a cheap-o plastic spoon to mix the solution with.
So I read the instructions about 12 times. I brought the kit into the bathroom. I used 1/2 a packet of saline and mixed it with some lukewarm water in the pot. And then I had nothing left to do but try it. I leaned over the sink. I tilted my head to the side. I made sure to breathe through my mouth (drowning was not on the schedule for today). I put the spout in my nose and tipped it up. Nothing happened.
Well, I hadn't tipped it up enough- no water was coming out of the spout. Duh.
So I tipped it up some more and I could feel the warm water entering my nose. It seemed to go into my sinus cavity and I felt like my eye was going to pop out. And there wasn't any water coming out the other side. Hmmmm... I leaned my head over more and then PRESTO! Water started draining out of the other nostril. For what felt like forever. Finally I quit and straightened my head out, water poured out of both nostrils into the sink. I blew my nose and repeated on the other side.
After some nose blowing and sniffling, and a whole lot of giggling (seriously, this is not something you want to try in front of people- it just looks so ridiculous), I assessed the outcome. Not bad! I could breathe easier and was amazed at what came out of my nose. I'm not getting into that. It was not uncomfortable, aside from a brief moment at the start when the feeling was the same as getting a little water up your nose at the swimming pool.
This morning I woke up with a super stuffy nose. I blew several times and huge chunks of gross came out of it, and I am wondering if all of that got loosened up with the neti pot and worked itself out of my sinuses. Who knows? I really liked the feeling that my nose and sinuses were clear. I think I'll probably take it with me when I travel because I always have sinus problems for a day or so after I fly.
So, there you go. If you have sinus problems or a cold, I'd recommend this. It could work really well as an alternative to cold drugs.