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Monday, January 07, 2008

The Cure for the Common Cold

Careful on the left: Cyclist's snot rocket. The oldest trick in the book.

I wrote about this back in August of 2002 and I stand behind the claim. I have not had a cold or the flu in all this time and I was free of these scourges for many years prior to that date. I developed my technique completely on my own but have come upon scientific studies that back up my ideas. I recently learned that one aspect of my health system is part of a millennia-old Indian yogic tradition. The other part of my system could possibly have been thought up by hippies as well but I haven’t seen anything in print. I don’t really care who gets the credit for this; all I can say is that I haven’t had a cold or flu symptom that has persisted more than 48 hours in something like 12 years. You can either believe that and follow my advice or keep spending more on Kleenex and over-the-counter bullshit remedies than I do on Spanish wine (perhaps wine is another of my secrets?).

The first part of my system is called “nasal irrigation” in the article explaining the yoga approach. My own technique is a bit more aggressive and has been called “water boarding” by a friend. While showering simply tilt back your head and spray warm water into your nose and blow it our forcefully in the “Italian handkerchief” fashion. This can also be called a Greek fisherman’s handkerchief. I have also learned that it is called a Spanish cyclist’s handkerchief which presents yet another danger of riding in the peleton here in Valencia. Perhaps in our more tolerant society we can leave out all of the national pride associated with this nose-cleaning technique and call it by the more politically-correct name of “snot rocket.”

In the yogi tradition they use a little teapot to cleanse the nasal passages but I think that a shower nozzle does a better job. Think about it. Say you are in your garage changing the oil in your truck when you spill a half a quart on the floor. Are you going to go into the house and get a cute little ceramic teapot filled with warm water to clean up the mess? Hell no you’re not; you’re going to get out the power sprayer and blast that garage floor to within an inch of its life. Your nasal passages are at least as disgusting as that garage floor but if you want to fork over your hard-earned money to "The Man" and use the little teapot thing, go right ahead.

I have seen scientific research that suggests that viruses enter the body through the mucus membranes in the nasal passages but they usually require up to 24 hours to enter the system. This is why you need to do this every day.

I don’t know if the yoga hippies are going to back me up on the second part of my cold and flu prevention. It is another thing I came upon by my own experience and observation. If you do come down with cold or flu symptoms—and I know immediately upon waking up in the morning if I am coming down with something—you need to get yourself into a steam bath or sauna. I prefer to use a steam bath as they tend to be hotter. A steam bath or sauna mimics the body’s response to cold/flu symptoms which is a fever. You are basically just boosting your body’s defense mechanism. When I have the occasional cold/flu symptom it is almost always because I missed a day of water boarding in the shower. After two days of the steam bath/sauna I am back in fine health.

Lastly, remember: If you pick it, it will never heal. I learned that at Harvard Medical School before dropping out because school was interfering with my TV watching schedule. This has absolutely nothing to do with anything I have said here thus far but it’s just something that I like to say completely out of the blue. Go ahead and try it some time. I guarantee that it will get a laugh. If not a laugh then at least a very strange look which is almost better in my book.

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