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Tag: Dance health

Why Dancers Should Visit A Dance Specialist Pysio

Why Dancers Should Visit A Dance Specialist Pysio

As dancers, we are well in tune with our body and it’s needs. We fuel it properly and seek advice from nutritionists. We incorporate a fitness regime and seek advice from personal trainers. So why is it any different when we have an injury?!

If it’s something non serious, we tend to self medicate, anti inflammatory gels, taping methods, ice baths etc anything to help alleviate the issue, but that often doesn’t get to the source of the problem, and if it isn’t addressed at the source, then the same problems will re-occure. Visiting a physiotherapist will not only enable you to find the root cause, but show you ways in which you can prevent it from being a consistent problem. The difference between a general physiotherapist and one who specialises in dance is hugely important.

I would always recommend the latter to dancers. General practicing physiotherapists are wonderful, and do a fantastic job at keeping a ‘normal’ human body fully funtional for every day life. However, the life of a dancer is far from ordinary, and what we ask of our bodies is way beyond any ‘normal’ range. A dancer needs to be reassured that their physio fully understands movement of the body where dance technique is concerned.

Dan Turnell Pysio is one such practioner. Dan has been practicing physio in Manchester for just over a year, after relocating from London. He was a hugely successful practitioner on prestigious Harley Street for 10 years, being the physio of choice for many West End stars, and became the resident physio for Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake company dancers no less! His partner is also a dancer, so he is very much in tune with the dancing world and just how strenuous this career choice is.

Firstly, Dan will give you a thorough consulation, talking about any past history of injuries and when and where there is any discomfort. He will ask you to stand so he can access your relaxed posture and gait. He may ask you to do a few slow, controlled movements, looking for any minor clues or pin points. Dan describes diagnosing an issue to putting together a jigsaw puzzle. He states that there are usually many little minor ailments and problems that all play a part in 1 singular injury. That’s why there are usually a number of things that you can do to alleviate symptoms, not just a one size fits all remedy.

Once he’s built a picture of exactly how the injury or discomfort has arisen, there are a number of routes he can take to help alleviate it. If there is built up tension or over loaded muscles, causing misalignment, then he wil perform a sports massage to the affected area. Sports massages are not to be liked to a therapeutic massage. The aim is to relax the muscles, not your mind, so expect some discomfort. However, the immediate results are well worth it.

Next, he may show you some stretches to aid in lengthening any tightness in the musclesnor ligaments. Dancers of course are used to stretching, but these ones given will be directly linked to your injury, and are usually miminal in the range of motion to really target specific muscles. On the flip side, Dan will also recommend some strengthening exercises, as usually, if there is tightness, it’s because there is weakness somewhere else and it’s the body’s way of trying to compensate. You will come away from an appointment feeling not only in less discomfort or pain, but enlightened as to how it has arisen in the first place, and armed with a perscription of strenghtening and conditioning exercises to help prevent it happening again.

To be able to see a physio who has extensive knowledge of dance technique and the requirements that then places upon your body is priceless. Being able to have complete faith and trust in someone, who will know and understand your specific needs, help you get over an injury and give you the tools to prevent it reoccurring, is non comparable. Dan Turnell Physio can be contacted through his website https://www.danturnellphysio.co.uk/# or his social media channels below;

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DanTurnellPhysio/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/danturnellphysio/

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Mental Health In Dancers | Why Is No-one Talking About It?

Mental Health In Dancers | Why Is No-one Talking About It?

We are historically inept at discussing our mental health in every day life, and even more so for dancers in the arts industry. We are here to highlight these uncomfortable conversations in the hope they become that little bit less uncomfortable.

Discussing mental health will always be a taboo. In recent times, we have seen a rise in celebrities talking about their own mental health battles, along with the subject being more present in the media. Specific organisations are campaigning to thrust it to the forefront of people’s awareness, in the hope of breaking down the wall of silence that surrounds the stigma.

Statistics inform us that 1 in 4 people are plagued with mental health issues right now. Just using that statistic alone means that within your group of friends, at least one of them will be suffering behind closed doors. Now look at a dance class, how many dancers take part, and apply the same statistic, alarming isn’t it. But what’s even more alarming is that there are virtually no studies specifically on mental health in dancers. Why? Entertainment Assist are an Australian organisation conducted a study on dancers and found their statistics to be even more dire than the general consensus – 1 in 3 dancers were suffering. An alarming figure considering no one is addressing it.

Exercise – specifically dance, has long been proven to help improve mental health and cognitive functions. This coupled with the display of euphoria projected by dancers during performances , could be the reason we are still inadequately addressing mental health and well-being of those in this chosen field. Do we assume that they aren’t affected? That they can’t possibly be affected because they are doing what they love and look how happy they are! There lies the problem. We assume. Assume that because they ‘look’ happy whilst they perform that they are the same whilst at home. How wrong could we be. There are so many reasons why dancers suffer, body dysmorphia, eating disorders, obsessive tendencies are just a few to mention, let alone the huge come down after the high of performing, it’s a rollercoaster of emotions.

We are honoured to be alliances with Terry Hide MA MBACP, ex professional dancer with London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet) turned psychotherapist. He uses his first hand knowledge of the industry coupled with his expertise in the psychology field to specifically help dancers that are suffering behind the scenes and highlight their plight so that we can be better at identifying the signs, addressing the issues and ultimately support those that need it the most. He gave us some advice for dancers and their nearest and dearest or recognising symptoms and taking the first steps towards getting help.

Some Symptoms

You may find yourself wanting to be alone when you are normally gregarious. You may also be feeling tearful, tired or lethargic and irritable. Another common symptom is being short tempered with people you are close with. You may feel fearful of something but you don’t know what the something is. You may may have lost your appetite or obsessively control your eating (the start of anorexia/bulimia). You could also become controlling in other aspects of your life. These are only a few of the symptoms that you may experience. As mentioned above, each one of us is unique and therefore the symptoms will manifest themselves in different ways. In addition to the above symptoms, there are other factors to take into consideration. Hormonal issues around menarche, puberty, adolescence and for females, the menstrual cycle.

Most importantly, symptoms are a manifestation of underlying issues and your body’s warning that you need to deal with them. Unfortunately, the worldwide medical profession, on the whole, only treat the symptoms, usually by medication, rather than dealing holistically with a patient to find out what is creating the symptoms.

Being a ‘rock’ in isolation and being ‘strong’ is sometimes detrimental to oneself as it saps energy from our own self-healing system. The British resolve of the ‘stiff upper lip’ doesn’t work at all, it only exacerbates the problem by keeping it inside of us, which is toxic to our mental and physical health. For you to ask for help when you recognise the symptoms, is in itself the first step to healing. For some who are normally resistant to showing signs of ‘weakness’, asking for help is the bravest step.

If you identify any of these symptoms in yourself or someone close to you, as Terry said, the first and bravest step is recognising there is a problem. Problems don’t go away on their own, and if your mind is not working at its optimum best, how do expect dance, your craft, to be? If you can’t or don’t feel comfortable confiding in your nearest and dearest, reach out to one of the many organisations, fully trained, many having had their own first hand experience with mental health issues, who are ready to support you.

MIND are a mental health charity set up to help those in need or just be an unbiased eat to listen. You can visit their website www.mind.org.uk , call their helpline 0300 123 3393 or text 86463 . Terry Hyde also has a website for his services specific to those in dance www.counsellingfordancers.com or through Facebook: @counsellingfordancers

Twitter: @counselingdance

Instagram: @counselingfordancers . Alternatively you can contact us here at Dance Niche, and we would be more than happy to pass on any questions or worries you have to Terry.

Please remember, you are not on your own. Many people before you have had their own mental health issues and made it through the other side, and many people after you will suffer. It is much more common than anyone cares to make out, but it’s only when we talk about it and face it head on, that any progress can be made. Don’t suffer in silence, someone is always ready to listen.

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