These strange objects are all health devices, but can you figure out what they’re meant to treat?

These strange objects are all health devices, but can you figure out what they’re meant to treat?

The genie lamp that makes a splash

Nose buddy, £17.99,

This genie’s lamp-like device is a neti pot, used to clear the sinuses and relieve congestion. He fills it with sterile salt water and, with his head bowed, pours the water into one nostril; by tilting your head to one side, water drains out the other nostril, bringing mucus that may have clogged your sinuses.

“Neti pots can be useful after a cold, during hay fever or to help with sinus problems where a buildup of mucus in the nose can cause discomfort,” says Professor Paul Chatrath, Specialist Surgeon in Ear, Nose and Throat at Spire Hartswood Hospital. in Essex.

“It clears congestion but also cleanses the tiny hair cells in the nose, helping them start working effectively again.”

And it could reduce hospitalization for covid. A study published in August by the University of Georgia looked at twice-daily nasal irrigation in 79 people with Covid and found it led to eight times fewer hospitalizations than the national average.

“Nasal irrigation is effective, but you should use chilled or distilled boiled water to reduce the risk of contamination,” says Professor Chatrath.

nose friend

nose friend

red light laser repair

Theradome, from £699,

It may look like a bicycle helmet, but Theradome is said to treat certain types of hair loss.

The helmet emits red light on the scalp that stimulates hair follicles, increasing the rate of hair growth in cases of hormone-related thinning. Wear the helmet for 20 minutes twice a week.

“Studies have shown that LLLT, low-level laser therapy, can stimulate hair growth,” says Dr Anastasia Therianou, a consultant dermatologist and hair loss specialist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London. ‘Large randomized controlled trials have shown statistically significant regrowth per hair count [the number of hairs on the scalp] in both men and women after treatment.

“However, more studies are needed to support efficacy.”

She adds: ‘It only works on some types of hair loss, specifically male and female pattern baldness, and it’s important to get a diagnosis from a specialist before trying LLLT.

“These devices should not be used by patients with skin cancers of the scalp or those taking certain antibiotics and diuretic medications.”



piercing remedy

Tvidler, from £29.95,

It looks like a drill tip made of flexible silicone, but in fact, Tvidler is designed to clean earwax.

The manufacturer claims that it is safer than using a cotton swab because it does not push the wax further into the ear. Gently insert it into the ear canal in a clockwise motion.

“I wouldn’t use it,” says Professor Chatrath. “The tapered design relies on a drill that pushes out debris, and that could work with soft wax. But I would be concerned that if the wax were impacted, some of it might be pushed in the wrong direction, which could make things worse. Earwax is there for a reason: it protects and cleans your ear, so unless there’s a buildup that’s affecting your hearing or causing you pain, it’s best left alone.

‘That said, you should never use a cotton swab. If ear wax bothers you, talk to your GP. They will try drops to soften the wax or recommend microsuction.



padded hood

ostrich pillow£85,

Described as a “wrapping pillow,” this quilted hood is designed to help you sleep or nap when you’re on the go. The design blocks out light and noise (there’s a hole for your mouth and nose), while the padding makes it comfortable to rest your head on surfaces like a desk or an airplane tray.

Sleep specialist Dr Neil Stanley says: “Humans aren’t designed to sleep upright; we’re supposed to take the pressure off our bodies when we sleep and, combined with the fact that during sleep, you lose tone muscle that makes your head hang. It makes it difficult to get a good night’s sleep on a plane, but this might help with that. I would definitely give it a try if I flew a lot over long distances.’

ostrich pillow

ostrich pillow

heavy handed team

Finger weights, from £32,

These tiny weights (10-30g each) are worn on the fingers to strengthen them or as part of rehabilitation for conditions such as stroke or arthritis.

Dr Rod Hughes, consultant rheumatologist at Ashford and St Peter’s NHS Trust in Surrey, says: “If you have arthritis in your fingers, you may want to do exercises to keep them flexible and the muscles around them strong.” This can simply be grip strength exercises with rubber balls.

“This improves grip strength and adding weight can lead to further improvements. The downside is that they look complicated, so they may not be suitable if you have problems with the shape or function of your hand and fingers. Osteoarthritis often results in the formation of extra new bone with bumps around the finger joints. It’s unlikely to cause permanent damage, but the pressure on an already swollen joint could make it uncomfortable.

finger weights

finger weights

sonic blaster

The Y Brush, £108.99,

This mouthpiece has sonic bristles (which work like an electric toothbrush) that it claims can clean all your teeth in ten seconds. A test conducted by the manufacturer on 100 people found that it removed 15% more plaque than conventional brushing.

“It has an interesting design, but it lacks the strong evidence we have for conventional toothbrushes,” says Dr Praveen Sharma, scientific adviser to the British Dental Association.

‘It’s one size fits all and any dentist will tell you that having one mold that fits all jaws is virtually impossible.

“By contrast, conventional toothbrushes allow you to customize your brushing to fit any mouth, regardless of variations such as gaps or tooth size.”

the brush and

the brush and

Be fashionable and press this device to make it go into action


This plastic contraption is described as “the most revolutionary personal care mobility massage and muscle relaxation tool.”

You place the device on the floor, get into a push-up-like position on it, and press down so that the points on each side enter the hip bones on either side.

Doing this is said to massage a muscle called the psoas, which connects the lower back to the thighbone. Some physical therapists suggest that tension in this muscle is responsible for much back and hip pain.

Will Bateman, physiotherapist at Surrey Physio, says: ‘The psoas is a very deep muscle. You can’t specifically stretch or work on it, just like you can’t feel it yourself. So while this product may massage the area, it will not work on the psoas. On top of that, there is some debate as to whether the psoas causes all the pain that is attributed to it or if disc problems or osteoarthritis of the hip are the triggers.

“I prefer that patients spend their time doing dynamic stretches like yoga to work all the muscles in this area rather than targeting the psoas.”



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