Posts Tagged ‘Actors’

Arts health practitioners in focus: Massage Therapy

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

Arts professionals and students are unlikely spend much time thinking about their health until something goes wrong. Yet they work in a tough industry and often push themselves to the limit. Problems can accumulate over days and years spent practising and performing. Taking care over physical and mental health is essential to sustainable performance practice and a successful career.

Sometimes things go wrong. A health problem or injury starts to affect your performance and you need help to beat it.

If you are a student or professional in the performing arts, a call to BAPAM’s Helpline can provide advice about where to get help for work-related health problems. You can arrange a free assessment at BAPAM with a doctor or clinician who will understand the demands of your career. You should always talk to your NHS GP as well – often excellent services are accessible by GP referral.

What if you are looking for independent expertise from a physical or psychological therapist? It is easy to be confused with the number of different therapies available. How do you go about finding a practitioner with the right experience and expertise?

BAPAM’s Directory of Practitioners lists information about high quality and accessible performing arts healthcare provided by skilled professionals working in a variety of modalities. In this series of posts, we’ll look at how these different kinds of practitioners can help you stay fit, overcome problems, and give your best performance. In this post, we look at a sometimes overlooked section of our Directory, Massage Therapy.

Massage Therapists work with the soft tissues – muscles, tendons & ligaments to apply pressure, manipulate and stretch them. Often these clinicians are termed Sports Massage, Holistic Massage or Sports and Remedial Massage practitioners.

You should check Massage Therapists are properly registered with the regulatory body, the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council, which means they are highly qualified. ITEC level 3 certificates are a good entry point into massage but for detailed knowledge of anatomy & physiology and more advanced methods of working, it is important that the therapist is qualified to diploma level or above.

We asked four BAPAM Registered Practitioners for their opinions on how arts specialist Massage Therapists can help you stay fit and give your best performance.

Rebekah Gilbert:

Rebekah Gilbert trained as a singer at the Royal Academy of Music and has sung as a concert soloist, recorded for EMI, BBC Radio, Classic FM and at Abbey Road Studios. She trained at the London School of Sports Massage and ITEC. She has a doctorate in coaching and is an Associate of Canterbury Christ Church University, working with Professor Stephen Clift on worldwide publications relating to singing and wellbeing.

“A good Massage Therapist will do a lot more than just ‘pummel’ you! First they will take a history of the issues you are consulting them on, your artistic practice and the time you put into it, lifestyle, exercise, the environments in which you work, and your medical history. If they discover anything that may need referral to another medical professional they will know when not to treat you.

Secondly, they will assess your posture as you stand and sit, the way a musician plays their instrument, and look at your walking gait. Is anything out of alignment? What are your posture habits and why? Might you need orthotics to improve how you stand and walk or just more supportive shoes?

Thirdly, they understand the difference between palpating well toned muscles and tense ones. Massage Therapists are good detectives, examining how you may have formed adhesions (knots), and can recommend changes necessary to reduce them in the future. The muscular skeletal system has an integral deep & superficial layer of facia running through it, which connects to every part of the body down to cellular level. Because of this, a Massage Therapist will know that a pain in one location may be triggered by problems in another and, within their toolkit of techniques, which will be most beneficial to apply.

Fourthly, they will have a long list of stretching exercises to give you as ‘homework’. However well a Massage Therapist can work in one hour, the time until your next appointment needs your input to make a difference. They may suggest other local practitioners such as Pilates, Feldenkrais, Yoga or Physical Training instructors to help you improve core strength and posture awareness. As a singer, I also know how beneficial optimal breathing techniques are in performance.”

Felicity Vincent:

Felicity Vincent is a professional cellist and a Pilates Instructor and Massage Therapist specialising in exercise for cellists. Felicity is an experienced active performing cellist and teacher with a deep understanding of how a player’s body might accumulate problems and how these might be solved. She has gone on to study Fascial Release with Anatomy Trains. Please check the BAPAM Directory for contact details. 

“Every string player knows their body isn’t just made up of levers (bones) and pulleys (muscles) but a controlled flow of circular and rotational movement. This is made possible by your fascia, the soft tissue of the body which is now known to be a strong, bouncy, stretchy, highly intelligent and trainable cell matrix which is everywhere, joining muscles to bones, allowing muscles to glide over each other, and through and over organs. But the fascial system is the site of countless numbers and types of nerve endings. These can respond to overuse and misuse which may be caused by imbalanced body use or holding onto emotions. Some degree of hypermobility can be an advantage in playing but is a double edged sword because stretchy tissue is particularly vulnerable to injury when overworked. On the massage couch your therapist will coax adhesions to dissolve and encourage held patterns to let go.

I see regular exercise as the principal key to health and wellbeing for every string player. I enjoy Pilates because it can be challenging and, particularly using the equipment, is a sophisticated way to balance the body and strengthen it. There are many schools of cello playing; the most important thing is that playing shouldn’t be destructive.”

Zoltan Zavody

As a musician (and martial artist) himself, Zoltan Zavody understands the range of injuries, impediments to joyful playing, and pain that can result from muscular imbalances.

“Anyone who trains their body intensively is more prone to soft tissue injuries – musicians sit in the same position for hours, make countless repetitive motions at speed, and then lug their instrument or box of scores to their next session. They are perfectionists who put themselves under intense scrutiny and thus stress. In the course of their careers, many musicians are likely to experience an injury requiring time off from performing.

The conditions sustained through the playing of music vary. Some seem relatively innocent, for example tightness and soreness in the left shoulder of a violin player. Others are more insidious, like the burning pain in the wrist of a guitarist. Still others are structural, like a lower back torsion in a pianist. Massage Therapy can generally help with all of these. And they can be interconnected.

Interestingly, through years of practise, it is not only the muscles that are habituated to playing. The connective tissue, the fascia that surround the muscles, also adapt. Research shows that this connective tissue morphs, slides, and grips according to habitual movements. So a musician may end up with managing to relax their ‘playing muscles’, but unless it is released, the tissue enveloping these muscles continues to pull their body and limbs into a specific posture, like a skewed bodysuit. The person is relaxed, yet they still feel a tightness, a pull, a misalignment. This is where a Massage Therapist can help with a range of myofascial techniques; softening, stretching, and pulling the connective tissues, the bodysuit, into comfortable alignment.

Myofascial work is not all about injury and problems! All of us inevitably have muscles and tissues that are a little stuck, whether from old injuries or emotional holding or underuse, and we don’t even notice. Take a singer for example, who has no complaints but wishes to improve the smoothness of their sound. By working fascially through the diaphragm and along the ribs, a Massage Therapist can help release these areas, leading to greater lung capacity and breath control, and an easier, more joyful singing experience. We have essentially freed up the bellows – and who wouldn’t want that?

If musicians were sportspeople, they would have ‘pitch-side’ Massage Therapists and coaches to help them fulfil their potential and make life a little bit easier.”

James Wellington

James Wellington is a specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist and Sports Massage Therapist who works extensively with circus performers and other artists. He Lectures nationally and internationally in the fields of physiotherapy, injury prevention & performance enhancement and conducts research in evidence based practice.

“Using sports massage within clinical practice is hugely beneficial, as evidenced by the hundreds of satisfied performers that receive and rave about it. However, there are few well controlled studies into its clinical efficacy.

The speculated effects are biomechanical (improved joint range of motion, reduced stiffness and tissue adherence), physiological (reduced stress hormones, improved blood flow and parasympathetic activity), neurological (less pain and muscle tension), and psychological (reduced anxiety and improved relaxation).

Let’s be honest. It does feel therapeutic getting a sports massage (depending on the pressure being applied of course). It’s my conviction, however, that its benefits rely most heavily on therapist experience and their choice of technique.

If you’re lucky enough to find a sports massage therapist that has a broad set of massage skills, the ability to clinically reason and be able to justify every technique they use – you’re way more likely to see positive results. Personally, I find it hugely beneficial in improving joint range, reducing muscle tension, decreasing pain and decreasing injury-potential factors.

My top tips for performing artists thinking about getting a Sports Massage:

1. Think about the reason(s) you want to book a Sports Massage (post-training soreness / poor flexibility / repetitive strain injury / accumulated muscle tension / a pampering treat?) and communicate this to the therapist (this will assist in selecting appropriate depth of pressure and duration of treatment).

2. Tell the therapist if you specifically intend for the Sports Massage to improve your performance and/or recovery as this may also determine the type of techniques they use.

3. Timing of the massage is important. If in doubt, ask the therapist before booking what is the most appropriate.”

Alpha Actors Run for BAPAM

Friday, September 1st, 2017

Thank you very much David, Anah, Lindon, Jessica, Patsy and Adam of Alpha Actors who are fundraising for BAPAM with a 10k run through London’s Olympic Park on September 16.

Alpha Actors are supporting the fantastic work that BAPAM does helping people working in the arts overcome injuries and health problems. Adam experienced first hand back in 2015, through injury to his knee, how brilliant they are. BAPAM’s expert orthopaedic consultant gave him a second opinion assessment and a report for his GP and surgeon which helped speed along the timeline of keyhole surgery. The service was invaluable and became a beacon of light during a challenging physical and mental period.  

If you’d like to support the runners and help us continue providing our essential performing arts health service – please donate here.

The Foundations of Good Mental Health

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week 2017,  BAPAM Registered psychologist and performance coach Dr Carol Chapman, writes for Spotlight with essential tips for actors (and all performers) on building good mental health and resilience.

Read the article here

Spotlight Open House

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Spotlight Open House, kicking off on Monday 3rd April, is a jam-packed week of workshops, Q&As and one-to-ones led by top industry professionals working across all areas of film, television and theatre.

BAPAM Registered counseling psychologists, Dr Carol Chapman and Jane Oakland will be taking part in the events, offering free 30-minute one-on-one sessions, a completely confidential opportunity for actors to discuss any challenges that they’re currently facing for which they may require support. All of these sessions are already fully booked.

Many people in the performing arts will experience challenges with their mental health at some point in their lives. In response, Spotlight, Equity, The Stage and BAPAM developed ArtsMinds to offer support for people who need it most and encourage people in the performing arts to talk more about the importance of getting support.

At BAPAM, we also offer free in-depth clinical advice for anyone working professionally or studying in the performing arts, and list specialist practitioners on our Directory of practitioners.

Many events throughout the week will be livestreamed and you can also follow updates on Twitter using the hashtag #SpotlightOpenHouse.

 

August 2015 Newsletter

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Our August 2015 Newsletter focuses on our education and training work.

Did you know our Trainer Network delivers workshops in health, injury prevention and performance enhancement throughout the performing arts community?

Are you a healthcare practitioner or doctor interested in training and professional development with a focus on helping performing arts professionals overcome health problems affecting their ability to work and perform?

Find out more in our current Newsletter:

British Association for Performing Arts Medicine Newsletter August 2015

To receive our Newsletters by email please sign up to our mailing list by entering your email address here and clicking send:

June 2015 Newsletter

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Our June 2015  Newsletter  is now available to read or download in pdf format:

British Association for Performing Arts Medicine Newsletter June 2015

Contents:

I Can’t Go On! Managing Performance Anxiety
Directory of Practitioners Update
Training Day Summary
Piano Professional Magazine
Research Projects
Associate Medical Director Appointed
We’re Recruiting: Job Opportunity at BAPAM
Dr Kit Wynn Parry
Help Support Us

BAPAM Journal Issue 2

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Issue 2 of the BAPAM Journal, our free online resource and channel of communication for all those engaged with performing arts health, education and welfare, is now available to download here: BAPAM Journal Issue 2 – July 2014. Many thanks to all our contributors and those who have made a voluntary effort to assist with its production. Please consider supporting our work by becoming a Friend of BAPAM or making a one-off donation.

Contents include:

Interview with Professor Rodney Grahame on performing arts medicine and hypermobility

Work, Identity and Involuntary Musical Career Transition Jane Oakland

Playing-related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Flautists: A Pilot Study Investigating Risk Factors and Interventions that may Affect Outcomes
Dr Patricia Halliwell

The Impact of Hypermobility in the Finger Joints of Flautists Isobel Artigues-Cano

Biotensegrity and Cello-playing Felicity Vincent

The BAPAM Student Advocate Scheme: Reflections on a Health Promotion Initiative at the University of Leeds Naomi Norton

BAPAM Clinics: Learning from our Patients Deborah Charnock, Dan Hayhurst and Clare Hicks

Reflections on Contributing to the NICE Consultation Process on Developing the Guidelines for Social Anxiety Disorder Dr Carol Chapman

European Union Exchange Programme – An initiative to Encourage International Collaborations in Health Promotion Asmund Prytz

Book Review: The Alexander Technique for Musicians by Judith Kleinman and Peter Buckoke Alison Loram

Performing Arts Medicine MSc Student Hub

Student Advocate Scheme Update Naomi Norton

Previous Issues: 

BAPAM Journal Issue 1 June 2013

 

Creating Without Conflict

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

A full report from the Musicians’ Union Creating Without Conflict survey into bullying, harassment and discrimination in the workplace  is now available. The campaign invited contributions from MU, Equity, National Union of Journalists, The Writers’ Guild and BECTU members and key findings include:

56% respondents report being bullied, harassed or discriminated against,

52% respondents have witnessed bullying, harassment or discrimination in the workplace,

More women than men – 64% compared to 39% – have experienced bullying, harassment or discrimination at work,

Freelancers are 14% less likely to report ill treatment at work to a manager,

74% of musicians who responded said abuse came largely from co-workers,

45% of those who were happy with the outcome of their reporting the incident to employers involved their union.

Find out about the recommendations for tackling these issues and read the full report here. 

Event Report: Performers in their Environment Training Day

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Our November 2013 event brought together actors and musicians with professionals working in performing arts healthcare, education and support and welfare, for a stimulating investigation into the work, lifestyle and health realities of the industry.

Professor of Performance Science, Aaron Williamon, discussed musicians’ hearing and the tricky issue of noise regulations for workers for whom noise is their product.

Philip Turner, Senior Stage Manager of the English National Opera, shared valuable expertise and insights into the considerations of caring for performers, crew, and audience, and in supervising the work environment, both at the ENO in London, and on touring productions. Osteopath, Jennie Morton, presented on workplace hazards, drawing from her work as a performer (dance/theatre/singing).

Former professional oboist turned pioneering Performance Coach, Karen O’Connor, was joined by a singer and a double bassist to discuss novel applications of sport psychology for managing performance anxiety and developing mental toughness.

We also heard from professional performers about the ups and downs of their careers. Jungle Drummer, Chris Polglase, talked us through his career, from leaving music school in frustration at course requirements that he learn endless indie rock parts, to turning a hobby into a sustained professional career playing 180bpm drum & bass beats, alongside turntablists and musicians from a diverse spectrum of styles. Chris talked about the pressures of extensive touring, playing 5am gigs at clubs and festivals, studio sessions, and gradually learning self confidence and how to care for yourself.

Bringing a fascinating day to a close, David Sulkin, Chief Executive of the Musicians Benevolent Fund, interviewed two actors at very different stages of their careers – covering the stresses (physical, emotional and financial) and rewards of the profession.

We’d like to thank all the speakers, performers and attendees.  All agreed that first hand discussion with performing arts professionals proved especially valuable in providing perspective for those who seek to help care for their health and welfare. Thanks also to the Musicians’ Union for so generously providing the venue.

More information about our Training Days can be found here: BAPAM Training Days.

BAPAM Scotland Awareness Meeting Report

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Dr Faith Gardner (BAPAM Clinician, Glasgow)
12th October 2013

BAPAM CEO, Deborah Charnock, and Office and Clinics Manager, Clare Hicks came to meet 30 people in Glasgow last Saturday afternoon at a meeting organised by me to introduce BAPAM to the performers and the BAPAM Scottish Directory members to performers and each other. It’s never been done until now!

Deborah and Clare outlined BAPAM’s current and future plans with an overview of the Directory and how to get involved, and Clare explained how BAPAM clinics are administered from the London HQ and what happens when Scottish performers contact them.

In my role as the BAPAM Glasgow clinician I then commented on historical and current activity at BAPAM Glasgow. I talked about why people come, how they are assessed and what might be the outcomes.

Natasha Gerson, BAPAM Trustee and Equity Co Vice-President, Dance Councillor, (for UK), and member of the Scottish Committee highlighted Equity’s relationship with BAPAM and described personal benefits from the BAPAM system.

The BAPAM Directory members present… Dr Sara Watkin (BAPAM Clinician, Edinburgh), Patrice Berque (physiotherapist), Josephine Keys (physiotherapist), Isobel Anderson (piano and Alexander Technique teacher), and Richard Beauchamp, each presented themselves… the who/what/why of their roles within performing arts medicine.

The audience and speakers performed impeccably and asked many questions, suggested many good ideas and had lots of opportunity to network among the students, institutional representatives, performers, BAPAM staff and healthcare professionals present.

I set out with the aim of increasing awareness among performers and healthcare professionals of BAPAM in Scotland. This is an ongoing process but this meeting’s success means we are on our way!!

Where to next? Watch this space!  Please contact me on faith_gardner@msn.com