Sunday, August 24, 2008

Review: Grossan Nasal Irrigator

So like i mentioned in my previous post, I've been on a bit of a cleansing fix these last few weeks. The name of the game this time around is "irrigation" last review was on the Waterpik oral irrigator, and now, I'm on my second irrigation machine, but this time for the nose.

Nasal irrigation has been going on for a while. The original techniques for nasal irrigation involved a tea-pot and simply sticking the spout into one side of the nostril, tilting your head as you raise the pot, and letting the warm saline water pour through until it exits on the other side.

Sounds gross doesn't it? Well, here's my favourite youtube video on this. =)

Please note that coffee and whisky aren't recommended at all as you can judge from his reactions =).

Anyhow, a quick note on why I got interested in such a bizarre contraption to irrigate my nose. I've always been a chronic allergy sufferer. I was officially diagnosed almost 10 years ago with allergies, and since then have been on various nasal sprays such as Flonase, Veramyst, Nasonex, Nasalcrom, the various claritin flavor du jour, and other over the counter medicine like benadryl and sudafed.

I also have a deviated septum and my left nostril is significantly smaller than my right. On a breath test, the air flow of the left nostril is about 1/2 that of my right nostril. The deviated septum creates a massive obstruction and things just don't come out easily.

This leads to fairly chronic sinusitis. All my life, mucous and phlegm from my respiratory tract has always been yellow or green, once in a long blue moon, its clear, but for the most part its yellow or green. As the link explains, this means my sinuses are infected fairly often and although it didn't really affect my quality of life, the difference was made clear to me when I started on allergy medications.

Being able to breath from the nose is a pretty wonderful thing.

So anyway, I was introduced via the web to nasal irrigation a few years back, but the typical response to that is to laugh at it, in a not so nice manner. =) As I got older, and got a little more intelligent, and suffered from things like post-nasal drip and lingering coughs and also diagnosed with sleep apnea, I decided to take things up a notch and do some more research into nasal irrigation. The results were fairly conclusive, nasal irrigation done on a regular basis does a lot for one's sinuses and can even help with allergies.

Well, that was that, I went out to Amazon, bought the Grossan Hydro Pulse and waited patiently for it to arrive.

Why did I spend a 100 bucks on something like the Grossan instead of a simple Neti-Pot? Its mostly because I can afford something like that now. Were I cash strapped, I'd probably just have gone for the neti pot. Besides, I like my gadgets, and even though its questionable if this cleans better than the neti pot, the amazon reviewers had pretty much glowing things to say about it.

The package is fairly simple. It comes with two nasal irrigator tips, and two tounge/throat cleaning tip, along with the unit itself. Use of the unit is even simpler, the included DVD is a bit of a joke, but its probably worth the 2 minutes of so to watch it. Basically, you fill the tank up with water, add a salt solution packet, stir it up, stick one tip into one nostril of your nose, and turn the unit on.

Wait till the tank is half empty, take the tip out, stick into other side. Repeat till the tank's empty.

The results were astounding. I could actually breath through my nose for the first time in years! By trait, I'm a mouth breather due to not enough airflow thru my nostrils, but about 10 minutes after I used this unit, I could actually get enough airflow that I could stop mouth breathing for extended periods of times!

The second benefit didn't really manifest until the evening. Recall that I had post-nasal drip and a lingering cough because of the PND. That went away too. I didn't really make the connection until I realized I had stopped coughing for more than a few hours.

That basically sold me the machine, but I wanted to use it for at least two weeks before I could make a recommendation and that it wasn't just confirmation bias or buyer's bias.

Well, two weeks have come and gone. I use the machine twice daily, once in the morning, once in the evening. The results are pretty amazing. My sense of smell has improved, my PND cough has gone away, my breathing has improved, I want to say my riding has improved due to better breath control, but that's probably not 100% due to this.

Suffice it to say that I highly recommend this product as well. If the price of the Grossan HydroPulse is too high, I'd still suggest going to your drug store and just picking up a nasal irrigator. I am going to be trying one out for the next few weeks while I travel, so look for an update to this review when I finally use a manual nasal irrigator.

I consider nasal irrigation to be a a life changing habit, and I highly encourage everyone to try it. As usual, perhaps talk to your doctor first to make sure you have no special conditions, but I suspect 99% of the population have no problems and will benefit greatly from nasal irrigation. As a personal anecdote, I've stopped using all my allergy sprays and haven't suffered from any allergy syndromes for the last two weeks. This sampling might be inaccurate as I'm also undergoing allergy shot treatments and perhaps the pollen count is not terrible this year. But as mentioned above, the real dramatic improvements is my ability to breath through my nose and my sense of smell has never been better.
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