A ceramic neti pot is a personal hygiene tool used for cleansing the nasal cavities with warm salt water, in an ancient practice known as Jala Neti. Though neti pots may be made out of other materials, including plastic, copper, or stainless steel, ceramic neti pots are the most common. When a neti pot is made of ceramic, it usually has a more appealing, decorative-type design than other, more clinical looking neti pots.
Though each ceramic neti pot may vary slightly in design, the basic concept is similar. Each ceramic neti pot will feature an open bowl shape in the middle, into which the warm water and salt are mixed. One side will usually feature a handle to make holding the neti pot easier, and the other side will feature a spout with a narrow tip.
There are some advantages to using a ceramic neti pot. First, they are easy to keep clean and dry. They are also attractively designed and available in many different colors. On the downside, ceramic neti pots can be heavier than others, and hold a little less liquid. They are also fragile and will break if dropped, making them more difficult to take when traveling. The tip on the pour spout can be slightly wider on ceramic neti pots than others, but this is a matter of personal preference, as any type of neti pot will be able to create an effective seal with the nostril.
Regardless of the size or design of a neti pot, each is used for the same purpose -- to cleanse the nasal passages. The process is also referred to as a nasal wash, nasal irrigation, or sinus wash. Many people use a ceramic neti pot every day as part of their daily hygiene routine. It has been shown to improve allergies, sinus and nasal irritation, and help with colds or sinusitis. Others assert that using a neti pot improves breathing as well as the senses of smell and taste. With a little bit of practice, using a neti pot will only take a few minutes per day.
To use a ceramic neti pot, follow the directions that came with the pot as to how much warm water and salt to mix together. It should be roughly equivalent to the salinity of the human body, and the water should be lukewarm -- never hot or cold. The neti pot's spout is fitted into one nostril, and the user should lean over a sink, tipping the head to the side. The water will then run out the opposite nostril, and this process is then repeated on the other side. Without pinching off either nostril, exhale vigorously a few times into a tissue, and the process is complete.