Breathing Tips: Clearing Out Your Sinuses

by Dana on May 21, 2010

While focusing on taking a good, deep breath may help while you’re exercising, if you’re really congested it doesn’t matter how hard you focus because the clogged sinuses always have the upper hand (or should that be upper nostril?). It can often get to be even more frustrating, because when you try to blow your nose, you find little-to-no relief.

This year record pollen counts are being reported so even those who didn’t typically suffer some form of allergies are now getting hit with sinus problems that disrupt their day-to-day activities.

Fortunately, there are some straightforward remedies that may help you find relief. I am presenting three different options, each of which varies in effort and cost. These are as follows:

1. Neti pot – A neti pot requires the most initial investment both in time and money. At your local health food store, you can probably find a couple of different neti pots that provide slight design variations to suit your needs.

To use the pot, you must prepare a solution of water and non-iodized salt which you use to clean out your nasal passages. Finding the right angle can be challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it, the process shouldn’t take too long. For some people, the initial discomfort of the nasal cleansing is enough to deter them, but it’s good to try it more than once before discounting it all together.

While the initial investment in the neti pot is literally more expensive than some of the other options but since the pot is reusable it is ultimately the most cost effective as well as a great earth-friendly solution because you are not producing additional waste.

2. Saline nasal spray– Saline nasal sprays can be bought at your local pharmacy or even the grocery store. One of the more popular brands is Ocean but there are also more generic options that may be less expensive. The saline nasal spray is just that – a bottle of solution that you can spray into your nose to help keep your sinuses from drying out as well as use to clear them out. After using the spray, you will typically blow your nose to clear out the crud.

This option is very versatile because the bottle of solution is easily portable.

3. Steamy shower – A friend used to joke, “you can never go wrong stating the obvious” and I find this to be true when the recommendation of a steamy shower is a part of my list. We all know that the steam from the shower can help not only with a bad cough but also with overall breathing and clearing out your sinuses.

What I learned recently, however, is that for the steam from a shower to be truly beneficial you need to run it for around 20 minutes. So, for those of us taking military-style showers since water conservation is top-of-mind here in California, this isn’t the best option.

What do you do to keep your sinuses clear so that you can breathe well throughout the day and your workouts? Share what you’d add to this short list in the comments below.

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