Dianne Drelincourt from Alternative Therapies Today Why should dancers in particular have a regular massage?
Dancers are used to physical pain and may be unaware of when they need relief. Muscle pain, joint stiffness, and ankle and feet injuries (amongst others) are part of normal life for a dancer. It is for these reasons that a regular massage should be part of any dancers regime.
Benefits of Massage include:
> Decreases pain intensity by eliminating the lactic acid. This in turns helps the body to recover.
> Assists in injury recovery by assisting in the elimination of toxins from the muscle.
> Elongates tight muscles, which frees joints from becoming compressed.
> Improves circulation, which transports oxygen to the injured tissue/s which helps heal that injured tissue.
> Can allow for the release of emotions, which helps de-stress the body and aids in recovery.
> Improved immune system function by increasing the number of white blood cells in the body.
Dancing is extremely physical and affects every system in the body, so it needs an eclectic therapy for support. Massage is that therapy.
What is one thing you would like all dance teachers to understand about massage and dancers?
Dancers look to their teachers for guidance and help particularly during an injury. A well-informed teacher will be able to help guide the young dancer to a much faster recovery. A dancer requires ‘a team of professionals approach’ for their health, to which a massage therapist is one part. As the saying goes “It takes a village to raise a child” so it takes a village to raise a dancer – the teacher, the doctor, the costumier etc. and of course, the massage therapist.
How difficult is it to pinpoint the area where the injury stems from when sometimes the pain occurs is another location and how do we help dancers understand this about their own bodies?
To an experienced therapist it is not difficult to pinpoint the area in which the injury occurs however sometimes dancers are unaware that where they are feeling the pain is not the actual cause of the injury. Helping the dancer understand how the body works and allowing the dancer to develop a sense of when assistance is needed is important. The dancer is the expert of their body but they can also be apprehensive about seeking treatment. It is my hope that this article moves that negative way of thinking!
Dianne Drelincourt: With 25 years experience in the dance industry, as well as having a dancing daughter and a soccer player for a son, Dianne knows first hand the physical demands required of our young athletes.