I have been using the Neti pot for over a decade now, usually during the winter season to help overcome colds. Since last year I am experiencing for the first time living in Japan for twenty years, very bad symptoms of KAFUNSHO or “hay fever” allergic reactions triggered by pollen.
Symptoms of hay fever: sneezing, runny nose, nose congestion, eye irritation .The proportion of people who have problems with allergies in Japan is startlingly high. People who suffer from allergies will suffer severe reactions from the pollen such as:
- Nasal congestion
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Scratchy throat
The most common culprit for producing allergy symptoms in Japan is the Japanese cedar, or Sugi Tree. It is said that 1 in 3 people in Japan suffer allergy symptoms as a direct result of Japanese cedar tree’s pollen. It is also common for people to arrive in Japan with no allergies, but develop them over time as a result of the extreme onslaught of pollen from Japan’s usual suspects:
- Japanese cedar (Sugi) (From February to April)
- Japanese cypress (Hinoki) (From mid-March to early May)
- Rice plant (Ine) (From May to mid-July, and mid-August to mid-October)
- Ragweed (Butakusa) (From mid-August to October)
- Artemisia (Yomogi) (From mid-August to October)
The best advice for dealing with pollen is to avoid exposure to the pollen as much as possible. You will see Japanese people, especially ladies, bundled up from head to toe; including face mask and goggles to avoid any contact with the dreaded little grains of pollen. It looks a little strange, but it is a testament to the allergy or allergies they are suffering that they go to such extremes, and it is actually recommended by doctors.
If you find that you have a particularly bad reaction to the pollen in Japan, we recommend you try the following remedies:
- Wear a Mask and Goggles
- Take Allergy Medicine (Amazon link)
- Green Tea
- Sinus Cleansing
- Use an Air Cleaner/change filters regularly
For more information:
- Allergies in Japan – how to deal – Surviving in Japan http://www.survivingnjapan.com/2010/07/allergies-in-japan-how-to-deal.html
- Staying Healthy in Japan http://www.tokyo-icc.jp/guide_eng/preinfo/02.html
- Tokyo Weather and Pollen Levels http://www.accuweather.com/en/jp/tokyo/226396/allergies-weather/226396
A Neti pot is a container designed to rinse debris or mucus from your nasal cavity. You might use a Neti pot to treat symptoms of nasal allergies, sinus problems or colds.
If you choose to make your own saltwater solution, it’s important to use bottled water that has been distilled or sterilized. Tap water is acceptable if it’s been passed through a filter with a pore size of 1 micron or smaller or if it’s been boiled for several minutes and then left to cool until it’s lukewarm.
To use the Neti pot, tilt your head sideways over the sink and place the spout of the neti pot in the upper nostril. Breathing through your open mouth, gently pour the saltwater solution into your upper nostril so that the liquid drains through the lower nostril. Repeat on the other side.
Be sure to rinse the irrigation device after each use with similarly distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered water and leave open to air-dry.
Neti pots are available online. Other devices, such as squeeze bottles and pressurized canisters, also can be used to rinse or irrigate the nasal passages. Talk to your doctor to see if nasal rinsing is right for you.
Nasal irrigation, which for many is synonymous with the Neti pot, is one of the tools used in Ayurveda as part of basic daily hygiene. Simply put, it cleans out the nose and sinuses with salt water and ensures they stay clean. On a deeper level, though, the function of nasal irrigation has to do with maintaining balance in the Kapha Dosha. (Yoga Journal)
Using a Neti pot is an all-natural therapy that offers a number of benefits. It can help: Clear nostrils for improved breathing; Reduce snoring; Reduce nasal dryness; Ease sinus headaches; Alleviate facial pain and pressure; Relieve allergy symptoms such as stuffy or runny nose; Heighten the sense of smell and taste; Prevent the common cold and other upper respiratory infections; Allow for deeper breathing; Reduce the need for medications .
( The Chopra Center)