allergy treatment natural

Saline irrigation

There is a natural approach that I recommend to my Family Medicine patients in Culver City and Beverly Hills that present with sinus problems, nasal allergies, and nasal congestion.    It is called sinus irrigation.


Simply put, flushing out your nasal passages into the sinus cavities with saline (salt water) is incredibly helpful for many patients.  Saline is like sea water, and is a natural solution akin to our own blood or mucous, chemically similar.  Irrigation speeds up the normal cleaning of the sinuses that the cilia or little hair cells try to accomplish with their synchronized movements.


You may feel that sense of clearing in the nasal passages after a steamy shower, a swim, or sometimes just inverting one’s head while lying or rolling on the floor.   Sinus irrigation flushes out the mucus buildup, the debris from the day, and sometimes bits of infective material as well.
The sinuses are hollow air spaces in the skull connected to the nasal passages.  Unfortunately, the ‘hallways’ are kind of narrow and sometimes they need a good cleaning out to avoid that ‘dusty closet’ feel.  People who tend toward seasonal allergies, live in/near polluted areas (like Los Angeles) or have other dust/pollen/dander exposures find the treatment very helpful.


The best product I’ve found is Neil-Med.  I use it myself.  They make a squirt bottle that’s my favorite.  They also make an updated Neti-Pot.  The latter uses gravity and some people don’t like the neck movements involved in positioning it properly.  The former produces a pressured stream that you control with squeezing the bottle with your hand.  Non-swimmers sometimes find a bit of adjustment to the water flowing in one nostril and out the other with this method.


Use warm water (ideally pre-boiled or distilled/sterile) mixed with saline in the correct proportions and it’s a comfortable experience for most. Neil-Med and other manufacturers provides pre-measured saline packets that provide accurate amounts of salt for the solution.


There are other options, but sometimes natural is the best.