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Posts tagged ‘otoliths’

Roundabouts, swings and general dizziness…

As a child I enjoyed going on a swing for hours but as an adult the swing has been a rather sicky, dizzying experience. I have been going to playgrounds with my children (11, 7 and 4) for quite a few years now and each time I have tried the swing but no go – the forward arc is when my stomach feels like it has been left behind. I put it down to age and thought it would always be this way…

Today my middle child, Esmée, wanted me to go on the swing next to her and I thought I’d see if anything could make a difference to my stomach, so…I tried to look behind me while swinging to start with and that helped and then I tried looking at my hand as I swung and that definitely helped as well. I consciously relaxed and looked forward and to my surprise the lurching, dizzy feeling had gone! I then swung on for another 5 minutes or so and was still fine! I thought maybe this was a temporary reprieve due to the looking behind me, etc. – but after 30 minutes I had another go and still felt good.

Be interesting to see what happens the next time…

A little science as to why most adults don’t enjoy roundabouts, swings and general dizziness… Structures called otoliths in the vestibular labyrinth  in the inner ear eventually degrade a bit as we get older. Otoliths help us know which direction is up and also to have a sense of acceleration. We can start to feel sick when they’re not working very well. Generally children can take a lot more dizziness because their otoliths work better.

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