With the weather not being favourable over the last few weeks and with christmas fast approaching, I decided (in my infinite wisdom) to not worry too much about climbing outside and take a well earned break.

I haven’t climbed at weekends for a few weeks now, residing myself to belay duty for my dad (mainly at Shepherds Crag as it’s been the only dryish rock in the Lakes). Belaying in the rain hasn’t got any better over the last 25 years, although it is a lot lonelier than it used to be. In times gone by there was always an equally soggy (and generally hungover) belayer to converse with – now it seems everyone is at a wall.

Rob Matheson on a wet Kransic Crack, Shepherds.

That said, ‘brave Sir Robin’ has made a regular appearance at Shepherds and is seemingly unperturbed by rail, sleet or snow. He will happily devour any food left unattended and sings merrily knowing that you (the belayer) are physically unable to get to your lunchbox quick enough to stop him riffling through it – mugshot attached for future reference.

Sir Robin

My problem with this period of rest and recovery, is that it is seemingly quiet dangerous. Firstly a side effect of not doing too much is that you eat more and secondly the body seems to collect minor injuries and niggles at an incredible pace. All in all I am concluding that life outside of climbing is tastier, but far more dangerous than life on the salad eating sharp end of the rope.

The dangers of ‘life outside of climbing’

With this thought fresh in my mind, I decided that a trip to the South Lakes Oxygen Treatment Centre was in order. Not only would it help to alleviate my growing list of injury niggles, but it would separate me from that huge box of Cadbury’s Heroes that have appeared on my work desk!

What is Oxygen Treatment?

Oxygen treatment or Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) increases the amount of oxygen dissolved in the bloodstream, which essentially means that you heal faster. Oxygen is vital to the healing process and HBOT increases the amount of oxygen carried within the blood plasma by about 10x. Studies on athletes have shown that common injuries heal up to 70% faster.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy – I always wanted to be an Astronaut!

Therapy sessions take about 1 hour and a full course of treatment is typically 5 sessions over 5 days. So if you want to get well quicker and return to active service in your sport, then this is a treatment that you may wish to consider. Of course I don’t expect you to take my word for it, but give some consideration to the fact that many pro-athletes (such as Michael Phelps, Wayne Rooney, Valentino Rossi, David Beckham, Mark Cavendish and Tiger Woods) have all used and benefitted from this treatment.

The really good news is that the South Lakes Oxygen Treatment Centre (located in Barrow, Cumbria) is open to anyone. Click here for more info.



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