December 19, 2019
Just in time for cold season, ClearUP offers a most unusual way to treat sinus pain
ClearUP by Tivic is a new tool to add to your toolkit as you battle this cold season. Specifically, ClearUP is a non-pharmaceutical solution to the age-old annoyance of unrelenting sinus pain. It works by attacking sinus pain with gentle microcurrents, which for reference, is about 1/1000th of what a traditional TENS unit uses.
Why would I use this?
ClearUP fills a gaping hole in the sinus pain relief market, in that it is non-invasive and not a drug. When you take a look at current options for chronic sinus pain sufferers, one can feel pretty dismal. To that effect, nasal steroids take weeks to kick in, nasal antihistamines make you sleepy, nasal anticholinergics have a limited effect, nasal mast cell stabilizers must be used well before exposure, and Nasal flushes (we are looking at you NetiPot) look like a medically themed horror movie scene when you use one, and are just about as unpleasant. Then, there are oral allergy pills, which come with their own caveats, as does the very involved process of allergy immunotherapy. So needless to say, a simple option like ClearUP is extremely appealing.
How does it work?
ClearUP is a very lightweight and small device that fits in the palm of your hand. It’s about the size and shape of a very small avocado cut in half. It comes with a carrying case and a wall unit USB-C charger. It needs a full charge before using it for the first time. Since it uses such a low amount of electricity (1/1000th that of a TENS unit), that charge lasts quite a while.
It offers three treatment levels, low, medium, and high. All of those options offer very mild amounts of electricity to gently jostle the inside of your sinus cavities. First off, the device’s instructions recommend not having makeup or lotions on your face. This isn’t a requirement per se, but they do list it as a “tip” without explaining why. As a busy woman, that’s not going to happen often, so I did not always adhere to that recommendation.
The ClearUp is powered up by pressing the power button. Then, you follow a C-shape pattern around the top of your eyebrow, curving around the bridge of your nose down to your cheek. When you have pressed firmly enough, the light turns green to let you know. While I see the point of this, having a very bright light that close to your eye when your head already hurts from sinus pain, and you likely have a headache that comes with it, made the brightness not pleasant to experience. In any case, the device alternates vibrating with not vibrating, to give you time to move it to the next focus point. All told, the entire treatment takes about 5 minutes to perform.
What does it feel like?
It feels like an ever so slight vibration. Once in a while, you may get a slight pricking or tingling sensation that is transient and leaves as soon as you move it again, but typically you don’t feel much of anything but gentle tapping. The resulting effect from each treatment on my sinuses was very mild, at best akin to how your sinuses feel breathing in steam from tea, with a slight opening effect. I’m not sure it can deliver as a heavyweight in sinus pain treatment. It is more of a second-stringer to use alongside something else.
The Bottom Line
ClearUP did not work as a standalone approach to sinus pain for me, but it did offer a gentle and comforting sensation to a painful area. When paired with a sensible and varied medical approach of managing the root causes of sinus pain, ClearUP can be a nice complementary device to attack the gnawing and annoying challenge of ongoing sinus pain. It is rechargeable and comes with a carrying case, making it a nice portable option to have with you on those lousy days you have to face the world with a nasty cold or head congestion. To see more about it or purchase it for $149 go here. ClearUP is also available to purchase from Amazon for just $109.95.