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Research on jalaneti

While theory always sounds wonderful, jala neti has in fact provided tremendous benefits. The following practical study is an interesting example of the attitude towards the practice in a classic “before and after” way. Also, the study concludes with the actual benefits for varying symptoms in terms of actual percentages.

We hope this study helps to put at rest any apprehensions that one may have about the efficacy of neti.

12 month Study into the Effects of Jala Neti
Upon 200 Yoga Students in Western Sydney
By S. Saraswati

Personal Impressions About Neti Before, During, and After First Trial

Thoughts or Feelings Before During After
Positive 28% 48% 76%
Negative 48% 34% 18%
Mixed 24% 18% 6%

The above table shows the fact that about half the students had negative impressions before first trying Neti. This is to be expected in cultures such as ours. Comments such as the following were abundant:

Yuk, no way!
Thought I might drown or choke
Skeptical that I could do it
Absolute fear
Gross, not socially acceptable
A good party trick – but you’re not really serious
Weird and scary

However, during their first trial, more than half the respondents found the experience of water passing through their nose was not that bad. There were many comments such as:

A bit tingly
Quite pleasant
Not as uncomfortable as I’d imagined
Warm and relaxing
Surprisingly easy
Painless and trouble free
It went through easily
No different to swimming.

After the first trial, three quarters of the practitioners found that Neti was good and beneficial. Afterwards, these were the typical comments:

Not as bad as I had thought
Clean and fresh feeling
Much clearer breathing
Light headed, but pleasantly so
Could really breathe at last
Smelled things I’d never noticed
Incredible relief from congestion
Great, really alive
Like after a good swim in the surf

Frequency Practised

Less often than alternate days 11%
From daily to alternate days 15%
Once daily 60%
2 - 3 times daily 14%

After some time of regular practice, and by the time they were requested to return their questionnaire 5 weeks later, most students had settled into a routine of every day practice. As expected, these students reported a gradual improvement in their nasal problems. Even beyond the initial health benefits, these people will most probably continue to use Neti as a daily ablution and for illness prevention. The 14% using Neti more than once daily were advised to do so by their yoga teacher for specific therapeutic reasons. Such students needed a big boost to overcome chronic nasal problems, and their questionnaire responses indicated drastic initial changes and then a tapering off of the effects. The 15% who did Neti on average between daily and alternate days, found moderate gains, and most admitted to wanting to do it everyday. “I’d like to but I’m a bit slack”. The 11% who did Neti less than alternate days, were either dreadfully forgetful, not really interested, or only did it “when I felt a need to, such as being very blocked up”. These were the respondents who had ambivalent or mixed impressions about its healing efficacy.

Reported Short and Long Term Benefits

Short Term
Long Term

We defined “short term” as the first 2 weeks, and “long term” as beyond that. Nearly everyone reported some kind of immediate benefit from the use of Neti. The benefits of Neti, whether they were further improvement in the initial, known problems, or whether they were unexpected benefits, continued to accrue for some months. A tapering off over time is to be expected due to the drop off rate of “great hopes and new regimes”. Also, the effects of Neti become subtler over time, and once over their present health crisis, most people are not interested in continuing preventative health maintenance.

Overall Impression of Neti
After 1 – 2 Months Of Practice

Positive thoughts or feelings


Negative thoughts or feelings


Mixed/unsure thoughts or feelings


Pretty well speaks for itself. An abundance of comments like:

Wish I’d discovered it 50 years ago
Essential to daily health care
Great! I’ll be a lifelong user of Neti
I love it – I’m hooked!
Thank You. Neti has changed my life
Even more useful than I imagined
An excellent cleansing method
I can’t understand why doctors don’t recommend it
Should be more widely known
Fantastic way of clearing congestion
Simple, painless, beneficial
Safe and effective cleansing ritual
I can’t imagine not doing it forever
Easy, gives a sense of well being
Great for clearer thinking, easier breathing
Would recommend it to anyone who breathes
Far better than sinus medications.

Symptoms and Results

The table on page 24 shows the effects of Jala Neti upon different general and specific health ailments. Although only a few samples in some cases, this still gives a representative idea of what many yoga teachers have reported from years of verbal responses.

A lot of students tried Neti “just because the teacher said it was a good thing to do”. Some tried it for the “adventure” or “just because it was part of the yoga course”. Many thought they would just do it once and never again because they didn’t have any major respiratory health problems, but after actually experiencing it, most were sold!

Many people do not recognize many of their day-to-day discomforts as medically defined illnesses. They just think such things are the usual ups and downs of daily life. Statements such as – “I’m always a bit blocked up, I get fuzzy in the head for day, I’ve been continually dull and listless lately, I always carry a tissue because I sneeze a lot/my nose runs a lot, I get pretty regular headaches, I’ve been nursing a sore throat for years, I cough a bit most mornings” – are hard to categorize and quantify for data collation.

Such respondents did not name these conditions as illnesses or as being reasons for taking up Net in the first place, but they did mention later on that such things had now ceased. They would probably have considered that they were in good health before the study, but never the less, they received benefits from the technique and hence realized that they had been ignoring undiagnosed illness. This would explain the large numbers of what we have called “unexpected benefits”.

The number of respondents who were smokers was not accurately documented, as there was no specific question requesting that information. Only a few smokers mentioned it in their questionnaire. We know the proportion of yoga students who smoke is probably much higher than 2 out of 200! Continuation of smoking whilst being a user of Neti, would greatly reduce the beneficial effects of the technique. Also, it is interesting to note, that when introducing Neti to a class, it is often the smokers who are the least interested in embracing such a concept.

In the table following, our criteria were defined as follows:

  • Symptoms Mentioned (Total). Each time a symptom or ailment was mentioned on a questionnaire, either as desiring benefit or as an unexpected benefit of some sort, it was recorded. Many respondents had multiple ailments, some known and some unknown.
  • Symptoms, No Change. A percentage count of where there was mention of no improvement + where there was no mention of improvement in an ailment where there was initial mention of desire for improvement.
  • Symptoms, Improved. A percentage count of where improvement was noticed in an ailment where there was initial mention of desire for improvement.
  • Unexpected Benefits. A percentage count of where improvement was noticed in ailments where there was no initial mention of desire for improvement of that ailment.
  • Overall Benefits. The sum of Symptoms Improved + Unexpected Benefits as a percentage of Symptoms Mentioned.
Symptom or Ailment,or Benefit Gained Symptoms Mentioned (Total Number) Symptoms No Change % Symptoms Improved % Unexpected Benefits % Overall Benefits %
Allergies 8 37 25 38 63
Asthma/Bronchitis 8 50 50 0 50
Chronic Mucus & Catarrh 7 42 29 29 58
Colds 14 21 29 50 79
Ear Problems 12 17 17 67 84
Eye Problems 8 0 13 88 100
General Breathing Difficulties 103 1 33 66 99
Hay fever 27 15 70 15 85
Headaches (incl. Migraine) 50 8 6 86 92
Nasal Blockages 55 14 33 53 86
Poor Smelling Function 19 5 11 84 95
Post Nasal Drip 8 12 75 13 88
Psychological Imbalances, such as: anxiety, low self confidence, general malaise 17 0 0 100 100
Sinusitis 49 16 69 15 84
Improved Sleep 7 0 0 100 100
Reduction in Smoking 2 0 0 100 100
Spiritual/Meditative Benefits 15 13 40 47 87
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