Sea-Bands may do more than alleviate seasickness; Cetaphil will suffocate those pesky lice; spearmint and lavender help creaky joints.
Q. You had a column in which a mother said her son had sleeping problems. Someone suggested Sea-Bands for motion sickness, nausea and other problems. The son put on the Sea-Band, and his sleeping problems disappeared.
I read your column and immediately purchased Sea-Bands. Much to my surprise, this worked the first night and for the next 16 days up to today. I know it will not work for everyone. I told my doctor about this and got no response.
A. Sea-Bands are designed to stimulate acupressure points. Most physicians have not been trained in this approach. There are, however, some studies to support this low-tech treatment.
A group of investigators tried Sea-Bands in distressed teens and concluded that “Acupressure is a noninvasive, safe, and effective method for the management of insomnia in adolescents, with good compliance and no adverse effects.” (Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, Jan. 24, 2013).
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Another study found that pregnant women given wristbands and shown where to place them had significantly better sleep quality (Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, February 2016). Acupressure on the wrist also helped elderly people with Alzheimer’s disease sleep more easily (Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, February 2015).
You can learn the details about this and many other nondrug approaches to insomnia from our “Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep.” This online resource is sold at PeoplesPharmacy.com.
Q. We are a family of 10: my husband, myself, five girls with shoulder-length or longer hair and three boys. Last summer, one of our girls caught lice at camp.
I started treating all the kids right away with over-the-counter treatments. Nothing seemed to work, although I followed instructions to launder everything, comb with metal nit combs, etc. After a couple of months, I was frustrated and took them to the doctor.
He prescribed a stronger lice treatment, so we tried that several times. Again, to no avail. The lice were resistant. The girls’ heads were irritated from all the treatments.
Home remedies weren’t any better. Now I’ve learned that resistant lice are now common in many places. No wonder the shampoos didn’t work. It has been almost a year of struggle.
We tried Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser last night. It took me five hours to coat and dry all 10 of our heads. I have washed five heads of hair so far today, and I did not see a single living louse. I am thrilled, as this has not happened before. I am hopeful this will finally work.
A. The Cetaphil treatment for lice was described as 95 percent effective (Pediatrics, September 2004). The cetyl alcohol-based cleanser is applied to damp hair and then blown dry. Leave it on overnight and shampoo it off in the morning.
This suffocates the lice. It doesn’t kill the nits, though, so the treatment must be repeated twice at one-week intervals.
Q. I have osteoarthritis in my knee. By accident, I found that applying a product with essential oils of lavender, mint, chamomile, rosemary, eucalyptus and birch bark really eases the pain.
A. Thanks for sharing your discovery. There’s not much research in this area, but spearmint oil seems to help ease arthritis pain (Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, February 2017). Lavender oil massage of painful joints also appears to be useful (Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, November 2016).