A while ago, when Turbine was making its debut in Australia, I was provided a starter pack of the little yellow instruments to test out.
There are claims involving numbers and science and personal testimony that are made by Rhinomed, the company behind Turbine, that have seen some elite athletes give the Turbine a go in order to provide them with a competitive edge (Jack Bobridge used one when attempting the Hour record a few months ago).
Some have claimed it’s all a bunch of flimflam and piffle, but I’m not going to bother getting into that. Below are my impressions, purely and simply, having given it a go a second time around. With this kind of performance enhancing product, where it’s awfully hard to quantify actual performance gains, the users impression of it is fundamentally what counts anyway, placebo or no placebo effect.
New and Improved
Still the same idea, but refined. I had trouble getting the original Turbine to fit comfortably in either of the two sizes available. There are three now, but I still fit the medium one best. The small is too short, meaning it doesn’t go in far enough, while the large does go in, but it’s a tight squeeze and the bridge hangs down from my nose a fair bit. It does make for a larger opening, but it actually feels like hard work even though it’s completely passive. Too big for me.
I also had trouble keeping the old Turbine in for any length of time, as each small movement of your face (smile, chewing, drinking, talking, etc) that had any effect on your nose moving caused it to slowly squirm out.
The old Turbine was actually quite a different shape, which I didn’t realize until I pulled the old ones out for another look.
With the part that spreads the nostrils now effectively making a ring inside, creating a better and more even application of pressure, it feels much more comfortable and also stays in place better.
The plastic feels softer, and the bridge is wider and shaped more anatomically so as not to pinch the space between your nostrils as much. At all, actually. Also new is a soft and grippy silicone/rubber/whatever-it-is that lines the outer edge of the frame all the way around, and the frame itself is about twice as thick to increase the surface area against your skin (is it still called skin inside your nose?).
Carrying over from the old model is the adjustable nature of each side, which you can also see in the image above.
So, what I can definitely say is that they have improved the fit of the Turbine a great deal. How does it work?
Again, better than the old one. The fact that it stays in place significantly better is the primary reason, and a fairly fundamental one. It did start to work its way out after about an hour (of two) into the ride, but it wasn’t too bad. If I was heading out for a much longer ride this might become annoying.
And the whole point of the Turbine? Does it “increase airflow through your nose during exercise by gently opening your airways”?
I can say that I could breathe through my nose with less effort. What I usually have to do is contort my face a little bit to open up my air passage a little more, which is something I do without thinking about, but do, nonetheless. Even then, I still get a reasonable amount of resistance and simply end up breathing through my mouth most of the time.
Is this a problem? Well, that’s part of what the skeptics argue, but Rhinomed would have you believe that there are benefits to breathing through your nose even if the airflow to your lungs is the same in terms of volume.
What they haven’t solved is my exercise-induced runny nose, and this is the main problem I have with using the Turbine. It wasn’t really a very cold day when I went out last, so my nose will run even more as winter moves in, which does three things: 1) you are unable to fire out the tried and true snot-rocket, 2) there is then, unsurprisingly, a disgusting build-up of boogers that end up forming around the Turbine, and 3) this contributes to the Turbine becoming dislodged from where it is meant to be, causing you to have to poke about at the snot covered instrument to get it back in place. Classy.
If you don’t have exercise-induced rhinitis or somehow aren’t effected by the cold, this may not be a problem. If you do and this is a deal breaker, but you still want to breathe easier through your nose, say, at night while you sleep (maybe this would help with that nasty waking-up-with-a-desert-in-your-mouth from mouth-breathing), then this might still be something worth trying out.
Was my performance improved? No idea. I mean, really – when you are really giving it everything you’ve got, how often are you still breathing through your nose? I’m more on the skeptics side when it comes to actual performance gains, but what I can say for sure is that the Turbine does open up your nasal passage and allows for easier breathing, now in a new, more comfortable and effective package.