A little on the nose

Posted by David Smerdon on Jan 24, 2010 in Non-chess |

I get sinusitis. For anyone who suffers from it, or anyone who’s had a sinus infection, you’ll know just how much of a pain in the butt (or, more correctly, sinuses) it can be. On one trip to the doctor’s, I was told that I have unusually narrow sinuses, which precipitates and exacerbates sinus infections and the common cold. Sure, you can get surgery to widen them, but it’s hardly worth it unless you’re a pilot, or it’s really bothering you, he said.

Well, it’s really, really bothering me.

I suffer from insomnia at the best of times, but recently it’s been a killer. Lying in bed last week, wide awake for several hours due to the constant stream of phlegm running from nose to throat, I’d had enough. Using the power of Google, I had decided, once and for all, to find a cure to my ailment.

It turns out that what I actually have (well, according to WikiDoctor, mind you) is post-nasal drip. Basically, the clogged phlegm from the narrow sinuses drips down from the nose, particularly in times of flu, allergies or weather changes, “…often leaving sufferers unable to sleep” (yes, yes!). Having self-diagnosed with the most reputable of sources, it was now time to find a cure, and the hallowed internet told me I might consider “surgery, nasal sprays, a variety of homeopathic remedies, or even a Neti pot.”

A what? The weird thing was, a search of “neti pot” brought up a dozen bizarre forums, including the “My Little Pony” forum and the “Post-Natal Mothers” forum. It turns out that these cunning little pots were featured on Oprah (and recommended by ‘Dr Oz’ – sounds even less viable than WikiDoctor) – hence all the complementary forum references. Used for centuries in the sub-continent for yoga breathing, Neti (sanskrit for ‘nasal cleansing’ – charming!) pots are basically ceramic tea pots, which you fill with non-iodised salt water. Then (and this is where it gets fun) you tilt you head on the side and pour it through the top nostril. After a while, gravity takes effect, and just like those videos of people sticking spaghetti up one nostril and out the other, the liquid suddenly starts pouring out the lower nostril. Then you repeat on the other side until all the salty water has passed through your sinuses.

Yeh, I know.

But really, I couldn’t sleep a wink. So I bought one. And I tried it. I checked out a few YouTube videos of Neti pots beforehand to get my technique right – watch them yourself if you want a laugh. Then I tried it for myself.

It felt a lot like doing somersaults in the ocean, and I’ve quickly learned that you don’t make the water too hot, but I have to say there has been some improvement. So far, at least, it has been a vastly more successful experiment than buying the bike. What’s more, it was far cheaper.

Let’s just hope my housemates don’t mistake it for a teapot.


Jan 26, 2010 at 12:22 am

I just watched a youtube clip of a dude using one of those pots. So gross!!

Jan 26, 2010 at 2:53 pm

it looks like one of those teapots we were drinking out of in Queenstown…..just thinking of other uses once you are better 🙂

Jan 27, 2010 at 4:44 pm

David, just get your doctor to prescribe something like Avamys (has good delivery mechanism), Rhinocort or Nasonex, and in a few days I think you will be happy. They’re fairly costly, but they’ve worked for me.

Jan 28, 2010 at 1:47 pm

I’ve heard mixed reviews about those things. My homeopath calls them poisonous, but I guess he would. Anyway, the neti has actually worked to some extent, so either the Indians have it all figured out, or else it’s an extremely effective placebo…

Apr 13, 2010 at 6:32 pm

I used to suffer from sinusitis and allergic rhinitis; you could try out Pranayam (Ramdev’s popularised it a lot in India the past few years; you might find his videos on yoga for sinusitis somewhere on the net…)

And hearing noises from inside one of your ears is quite a pain during a serious chess game, isn’t it?



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