About 40 million people in North America suffer from chronic sinusitis according to the US Centers for Disease Control. If you're one of them then you know how discouraging this can be. When I came down with my fifth sinus infection of the '06-'07 winter, I was pretty discouraged for sure - not to mention desperate enough to try anything. Clearly, the antibiotics I used the first four times hadn't done the job.
It worked; I could immediately breathe more clearly! I felt better - much better, so I kept it up a couple of times a day. Not only was I breathing clearly through my nose for the first time in years, but I stopped getting sinus infections, and I slept deeper, and I snored less (a LOT less), and the habit that cannot be named (nose-picking) spontaneously ceased - forever!
I was stunned that something as simple as flushing salt water through your nose could relieve congestion so fast and effectively, not to mention improve one's quality of life in other ways, too. (And do it naturally - without drugs!) On the other hand, it certainly makes sense that improved breathing would affect many issues. Whatever the case, the time had come to pursue a tutorial in saline nasal irrigation.
I learned that nasal irrigation has been the subject of numerous clinical trials, and the results are well established. As Dr. Blake Papsin and Alison McTavish summarized in Canadian Family Physician in 2003, "Nasal irrigation is a simple, inexpensive treatment that relieves the symptoms of a variety of sinus and nasal conditions, reduces use of medical resources, and could help minimize antibiotic resistance."
I learned that nose rinsing has been around a long time. The neti pot, a gravity-based device for pouring saline into one nostril that flows out the other, was first written about in India over five hundred years ago, and was likely invented many centuries before that. I also learned that in 2005, Dr. Mehmet Oz introduced the neti pot to Oprah Winfrey and millions of her friends in 149 countries.
In January 2007, inspired by my overwhelmingly positive experience with the therapy, I began to think about how the delivery system could be improved.
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