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.