These bizarre objects are all health gadgets – but can you work out what they’re meant to treat?


Sensational Genie Lamp

Nosebuddy, £17.99,

This genie’s lamp-like device is a neti pot used to flush sinuses and relieve congestion. You fill it with sterile saline, then tilt your head and pour the water into one nostril—turn your head to one side and the water will drain out the other nostril, bringing along mucus that might clog your sinuses.

“The neti pot can be helpful after a cold, during hay fever or to help with sinus problems (where mucus builds up in the nose that can cause discomfort),” said Professor Paul Chatrath, a consultant ENT surgeon at Spire Hartswood Hospital in Essex.

“It flushes out a stuffy nose, and it also cleans the tiny hair cells in the nose, helping them start working effectively again.”

It may reduce hospitalizations for COVID-19. A study published in August by the University of Georgia in the United States gave 79 patients with new coronary pneumonia twice-daily nasal irrigation and found that it resulted in a hospitalization rate that was eight times the national average.

“Nasal irrigation is effective, but you must use distilled or cooled boiled water to reduce the risk of contamination,” Professor Chatrath said.

Brother Nose

Brother Nose

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 to the scalp, stimulates the hair follicles, and increases the rate of hair growth in the case of hormone-related thinning. Use the helmet for 20 minutes twice a week.

“Research has shown that LLLT (low intensity laser therapy) can stimulate hair growth,” said Dr Anastasia Therianou, Consultant Dermatologist and Hair Loss Specialist at Imperial College London Healthcare NHS Trust. ‘Large randomised controlled trial shows statistically significant regrowth by hair count’ [the number of hairs on the scalp] in men and women after treatment.

“However, more research is needed to support the efficacy.”

She added: “It only works for certain types of hair loss – especially male and female pattern baldness, and it’s important to get a diagnosis from a specialist before trying LLLT.”

“Patients with scalp skin cancer or those taking certain antibiotics and diuretics should not use these devices.”

Therapy device

Therapy device

Drilling Remedies

Tvidler, from £29.95,

It looks like a drill made of flexible silicone, but in reality, the Tvidler is used to clean wax from your ears.

The manufacturer claims it’s safer than using a cotton swab because it doesn’t push the wax any further into the ear. Gently insert it clockwise into the ear canal.

“I wouldn’t use it,” Professor Chatrath said. “The tapered design is based on the bit that pushes the debris out – this might work for soft waxes. But I am concerned that if the wax is affected, some could be pushed the wrong way, which could make it worse. The presence of earwax is there The reason – it protects and cleans your ears, so unless there’s a buildup that affects your hearing or causes you pain, it’s best to leave it alone.

“That said, you shouldn’t use cotton swabs either. If earwax does bother you, talk to your GP. They will try wax softening drops or recommend microsuction.



padded hood

Ostrich Pillow£85,

Dubbed the “Immersion Pillow,” this padded hood is designed to help you fall asleep or take a nap on the go. The design blocks light and noise (you have a hole for your mouth and nose), while the padding allows you to rest your head comfortably on surfaces like a desk or a tray table on an airplane.

Sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley said: “Humans are not designed to sleep upright – we should take the pressure off the body while sleeping, plus in dream sleep you lose muscle tone which can make your head groggy., makes it difficult to get a good night’s sleep on a plane – but it might help. If I fly long distances often, I’ll definitely try.

Ostrich Pillow

Ostrich Pillow

heavy hand kit

Fingerweights, from £32,

These tiny weights (10-30 grams each) are worn on the fingers to strengthen them, or as part of recovery from conditions such as stroke or arthritis.

Dr Rod Hughes, rheumatology consultant at the Ashford and St Peters NHS Trust in Surrey, said: “If you have arthritis in your fingers, exercise is recommended to keep them flexible and to tone the muscles around them. Be strong. This can be as simple as a grip exercise with a rubber ball.

‘This improves grip strength and adding weight may lead to even greater improvements. The downside is that these look cumbersome, so if your hands and fingers are impaired in shape or function, they may not fit. Often, osteoarthritis causes extra new bone and lumps to form around the finger joints. It’s unlikely to cause permanent damage, but putting pressure on an already inflamed joint may make it uncomfortable.

finger weight

finger weight

sonic shock wave

Y brush, £108.99,

This mouthpiece has sonic bristles (like an electric toothbrush) and it claims to clean all your teeth in ten seconds. A trial by the manufacturer on 100 people found that it removed 15 percent more plaque than traditional brushing.

Dr Praveen Sharma, scientific adviser to the British Dental Association, said: “This is an interesting design but lacks the strong evidence we have for conventional toothbrushes.”

“It’s a panacea, and any dentist will tell you that it’s nearly impossible to fit all jaws with one mold.

“In contrast, traditional toothbrushes allow you to customize your brushing to fit any mouth, regardless of variations such as the gap or size of the teeth.”

Y brush

Y brush

Cheer up and put this device into action

apatite, £79.99.

The plastic device is described as “the most revolutionary self-care mobile massage and muscle release tool”.

You place the device on the floor, enter a press-like position above it, and press down so that the points on both sides penetrate the hip bones on both sides.

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

Will Bateman, physiotherapist at Surrey Physio, said: “The psoas is a very deep muscle. You can’t specifically stretch or work like you can’t feel it yourself. So while the product may massage that area , but it won’t target the psoas muscle. On top of that, there’s some debate about whether the psoas muscle actually causes all the pain blamed on it, or whether disc problems or hip osteoarthritis are the triggers.

“I’d rather my patients spend time doing dynamic stretches like yoga to target all the muscles in the area, rather than focusing on the psoas.”




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