the 20 second hug

A hug needs to be 20 seconds long before the body starts to produce the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, which reduces the harmful physical effects on stress. There literally is a study for this.

Short hugs are probably useful though to change attitude towards others, e.g. feel not aggressive and it puts you into a friendlier mood.

Though when I hug now I make sure it lasts at least 20 seconds. To get maximum effect though, you should get at least 8 hugs of that sort per day. Hm, it’s either hugging the same people over and over again or building up a queue of potential huggers.

You need to be pretty friendly and trusting with someone to get such a close emotional bond that prolonged hugging produces. Also hugging is only really enjoyable if both parties really want to do it. You just can’t force others to hug you for 20 seconds and hold tight.

Swimmng the channel with a dislocated shoulder

Samantha Poulson
Picture, Guy’s and St. Thomas NHS Foundation Trust of Physiotherapist Samantha Poulsen, swimming the Channel with an injured shoulder, in freezing water and 1000s of jelly fish.

That is an inspiration to us all, a physiotherapist that shows us how its done, how to deal with injured shoulders, swimming the channel.

Just read this great article in the East London Advertiser, I hope they don’t mind me taking one of their pics to make the case, that everything is possible with an injured shoulder.

There are obviously two ways to deal with problems, 1 is to succumb to them, 2 is to make the best of a situation.

Pausing performance

Which one of us has a private physician that would stand by and deliver instant reliable diagnosis? Hm, I do not know anybody like that.

NHS waiting lists are long and if there is a problem that needs further investigation then any performance athlete either can rely on a team doctor or line up in the queue.

Performance swimming is a hard sport, requires constant high-velocity training because the world record times are extremely fast, the Olympic qualifying times are equally fast and everything else in between is not much slower.

It is impossible to stay in performance swimming without constant training.

As Madison now has this Swimmer’s shoulder problem performance training is severely affected. We need to step down from the training and turn into the slower lane until the doctors are finally ready to delivery a reliable diagnoses and recommend the correct physio to mend the problem.

220px-Shoulder_joint.svgThe shoulder is a big place with many muscles and tendons, one simply cannot assume what is the best exercise to do.

Whatever the problem is, it is extremely important to stay in shape and do exercises that do not overstretch the affected part.

It is important to stay in training and with our club we are very lucky to have a flexible club structure that can adjust training groups and routines to fit any particular need.

Yet it seems that medical assistance is not ready to deal with sport in general. I think NHS practises are very well organised to deal with winter flu, excess weight, check ups and general appointments but when it comes to sport related problems there is no network of doctors available that can be called upon demand by sportsters.

Many people have private medical insurance but I doubt that even those can deliver on the spot treatments.

What we really need are sports clinics because the healthy and active life-style is becoming generally more popular. That would be the way to go for a modern NHS.


The long pause of hope

Whilst there was good news about the non existing Asthma, the shoulder is still a very big problem. The shoulder always hurts and training with the shoulder, e.g. swimming is not possible.

One cannot just assume that those problems with sort themselves out given time. Myself, I once suffered from Tendonitis and it went on and on for years without bettering itself.

Now Madison has been referred to a Orthepaedics doctor and an MRI scan. Good as well. Sometimes one just has to pursue getting to talk to the right doctor that actually can pinpoint the best solution. If one doctor cannot help, get second opinions, keep on trying.

The asthmatic phase

To mirror a typical doctor’s consultation. Doctor asks, do you get out of breath, Madison yes. Doctor do you ever wheeze? Madison, yes especially at the end of a long training session or after swimming fast. Diagnosis Asthma.

I fought that diagnosis since a long time. We were given breathing charts, filled them in by breathing into a tube and measuring the output and putting it on a chart, clearly showing that Madison is not asthmatic.

Yet despite all that evidence, doctors decided to formally diagnose Madison with Asthma after she felt a bit stressed and couldn’t breathe.

Madison was given the brown inhaler containing some steroids, which are illegal to use as injections. Apparently that brown inhaler didn’t make things better at all.

Yesterday, we spent several hours at the hospital and Madison undergone tests which showed that her lung capacity is in fact above average good.

Good riddance of the inhalers then.

But just to be going on about this. People in big cities are not only exposed to more stress due to tight space but also to more air pollution than in the countryside, that is more than obvious of course.

Stress can often result in feeling uncomfortable and feeling a bit tight and cached in by all sorts of things, which may feel like not being able to breathe freely.

More exercise than usual can lead to feeling out of breath. I experienced it myself. After years of inactivity I took up swimming again. After 1 length I felt out of breath. But, of course doctors referred me for an asthma tests, which was negative. I simply continued exercising and now swimming 20 length is easy for me and when I found it difficult to get up a set of stairs without feeling out of breath, now it is very easy for me to run up the stairs using 2 steps at a time.

clean clear cold drink
Photo by Pixabay on

Having a drink of water can provide relief. If I feel out of breath following more than usual exercise I have a drink of water, which reliefs me considerably.

Having walk in a forest or green area can provide considerable relief.

Finding certain types of stress-relief can become a bit of a fashion. Of course it is easy to puff on a blue inhaler for example if you feel stressed about something but then there are also other things you can do.

Perhaps all people feeling unable to breathe should have formal lung capacity tests prior to being prescribed inhalers. Those tests go quite quick and are easily read, it literally doesn’t take longer than 1/2 hour. But one can have to wait a long time to get an appointment to have it done. Those machines should be widely available in doctor’s surgeries and help prevent the wrongful prescriptions of powerful inhalers, which are not always needed.



2 steps forward 1 MRI scan

I am just livid, another mess with booked competitions and not being able to go. Counting the cost of all the lost competitions, it staggers up into hundreds of pounds.

The latest victim is going to be Cambridge Grand Prix, booked the races, booked the hotel and now the shoulder plays up.

Waiting for an MRI scan. Apparently the doctor could not even see into my shoulder with the normal scan last time because of all the inflammation.

But just as I had a bad shoulder the NHS immunisation service decided to put an injection into the arm near my bad shoulder and I am doubly in pain.

Just starting to think if Performance swimming is the right thing but on the other hand, other squads just have such a steep drop in training, that it seems like two different worlds between performance swimming and other swimming.

There is always kicking and spinning as an alternative to normal training.

It’s been quite beneficial to train with either only arms or only legs. When I had the broken leg I used only arms, making my shoulders stronger and now with the inflamed shoulder, doing mostly kicking will improve the legs.

Maybe I am meant to train in parts and in the end it will all come together as one fit swimmer.

living with this injury

Obviously the shoulder injury will get better, one day, when that will be is uncertain and equally certain, as a determined young sports person one doesn’t want to drop out of the performance pathway.

Starting with the Performance Youth Squad this month with this injured shoulder. Not the best of starts, but nobody is perfect at all times.

Not certain whether people show more sympathy for cars breaking down rather than injured young athletes.

The Cambridge Grand Prix is not far away and it is cheering me up that it is in an iconic location. Who hasn’t heard of Cambridge, the world-famous university?

Will have to drop out of the 400 free. Cannot do long distance free style at the moment. Backstroke is easier. Must have injured some part of my shoulder muscle that is used by freestyle mainly.

The shoulder injury

On the 30 June Madison took part in the 3km open water London Regional champs, swimming the 3km, then went straight on to the Hackney Lido for another 2km charity swim, on 14. July, at the Barking & Dagenham swimming meet, Madison’s shoulder popped during the 400 IM race.

Since then the shoulder has not gotten much better. Went to the GP, who kind of said that the NHS is not good for sporting injuries.

Eventually on 29. August, she got a shoulder scan at the hospital. The doctor said she could not see anything because there is a lot of inflammation. The doctor wants to do an MRI scan. Now we need to get back to the GP and wait for another appointment on the 18. September to get seen again.

In the meantime the inflammation in Madison’s shoulder is raging untreated. She takes part in training and does mostly kicking and leg exercise.

I am just wondering how a young person is supposed to get settled into any sport if it is so hard to get any treatment for sporting injuries?

All we ever read about is that the NHS can’t cope with treatment of degenerative illnesses but what about the fitness problems?

We are constantly told to lead a more healthy and active lifestyle but if we get any injury with this we cannot get the treatment fast.

For teeth braces now for example here in East London there is a 1 year waiting list to get even seen from the date of referral.

GLL funding offers sporting injury treatment but only very few athletes can get it, I did not apply for it this year, as we hardly used it last year when we had it. Otherwise we get offered treatment against payment. So how many of us can actually afford that?

The MCASA Open Water medal

As the medal service for Middlesex County is more than excellent, a representative of Open Water Swimming delivered my silver medal won in July to me yesterday.  I competed in the 3km distance.

I missed the medal ceremony at the time because I had to rush off for the Sponsored Swim taking place at the Hackney Lido for the purpose of collecting funds for the Hackney Aquatics Charity fund.


Winter champs 2018 (London)

Qualifying times for the London regional winter champs are out and at least Madison qualifies for 3 events so far, that is the 50, 100, 200 back. It’s short-course this year.

I am wondering will they actually swim in the 25 m pool? Last year they swam in the 50 m pool.

The ages are distinguished as 16 and under or 17 and over. Considering Madison is only 14, to qualify for 3 events, is good.,