Posts Tagged ‘Dance’

Performing Arts Medicine (PAM) day

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

It’s been a busy year for all things Performing Arts Medicine (PAM). Here’s a look back at one of the highlights of the year.

The annual PAM DAY 2018 was held at the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health on 21st July and organised by the Department of Performing Arts Medicine at UCL. It was a chance for health professionals, stage performers, and students and staff in health sciences and academics to get acquainted with this area. The idea is that they learn about clinical assessments, recovery and rehabilitation specific to performers in music and dance, as well as performer health education and injury prevention.

Programme lead of the Msc at UCL is musckuloskeletal doctor Dr Hara Trouli, who’s also one of BAPAM’s assessing clinicians. Here she is talking about how the day went.

“PAM day was a successful event for BAPAM practitioners and all clinicians and performers who attended. A range of presentations in music and dance with two streams running all day gave attendees the opportunity to learn a variety of topics, to meet MSc graduates and tutors and to hear about their research projects. PAM DAY received great feedback and we are pleased to see the growing interest and participation in these events.”

The Performing Arts Medicine MSc at UCL is a unique programme providing specialised training to those interested or already involved in offering health services to this very special sector of instrumental musicians, singers, dancers, actors and other performing artists.

Applications for the next academic year in September 2019 is open and closes on 26th July 2019. Click here to find out more

BAPAM Performance Environment Day

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

What would an ideal performance environment look like? Is such a thing even possible when we work in such widely different spaces? How do our environments affect our health, our creativity, our social relationships? What can healthcare professionals, technicians, artists, support organisations and communities do to both support performing arts wellbeing and facilitate excellence in artistic practice?

Our Performance Environment Day explores these topics, from a healthcare perspective and including the experiences of other professionals including artists, technicians, educators and people working in arts support roles, some with additional needs due to illness, injury, difference or disability

You can now read the full programme.

The event takes place at Resource for London on November 17, 9.30 – 17.00.

Tickets are available here.

 


Presentations and Discussion

The Performance Environment: Challenges in the Performing Arts Industry
Sophie Lane, Specialist Performing Arts and Sport Physiotherapist

Saving Your Ears for the Music!
Gladys Akinseye and Jordon Thompson, Clinical Audiologists and Hearing Therapists

Preparing for Challenging Performance Careers
Arran Peck, Athletic Development and Conditioning Coach, National Centre for Circus Arts

Cognitive Function of Adult Amateur Pianists
Dr Marie McKavanagh, GP, MSc Performing Arts Medicine Shipley Rudge Award Winner

Anxiety and Psychological Support for Theatre Productions and Artists
Dr Anna Colton, Chartered Clinical Psychologist

Panel Discussion/Q&A

Do our performance environments facilitate or obstruct artistic practice? How can the ways in which we design, manage, use and share space be a positive factor in healthy practice? Collective support in creative communities, accessibility and participation.

Kris Halpin, Musician/Producer
Robin Townley, CEO Association of British Theatre Technicians
Lisa Tregale, Head of BSO Participate, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Siân Willett, Co-creator of Wellbeing for the Arts

Dan Hayhurst, BAPAM Information Coordinator (Chair)

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.”

International Symposium in Performance Science, Reykjavik

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

The MSc in Performing Arts Medicine and BAPAM were well represented this month at the International Symposium in Performance Science (ISPS) in Reykjavik, Iceland, with research papers by Dr Trish Halliwell, Dr Philippa Whebble, Dr Farrah Jawad, Dr Hara Trouli, osteopath Tommi Sliiden and physiotherapists Kari Arnason, Lindsay Wallace and Krzystoff Dabrowski. Projects on flautists’ injuries, breathing relaxation for singers, vitamin D levels in dancers, health issues of popular musicians, lung function when singing and dancing, muscle injuries in string players, footwear and dancers’ injuries, and palmaris longus in pianists were received with great interest by the conference delegates. It is important to see such a group on the international arena of Performing Arts Medicine and we hope this will encourage more researchers to bring their work to this level. Congratulations to all involved!

BAPAM Physiotherapist Supports Team GB at World Games

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

The 2017 World Games commence in Wroclaw, Poland on July 20th, and we wish the very best of luck to the Team GB athletes and BAPAM physiotherapist, Louise Curley who returns to her role supporting gymnasts, acrobats and tumblers as the British Gymnastics Delegation Physiotherapist.

Here at BAPAM, Louise gives expert help to musicians, actors, dancers, circus and physical performers, providing free physiotherapy assessments and subsidised, affordable follow up sessions at our London clinic. She also runs her own practice Rejuven8 Physiotherapy in Warwickshire.

BAPAM is Recruiting a Full Time Director

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) is a unique medical charity providing health advice and support to members of the performing arts community. We provide a national Helpline and confidential clinical consultations for performers experiencing performance-related health problems, as well as education and resources on healthy performance practice and professional training in performing arts medicine.

About the role

Following the planned retirement this year of our current chief executive, BAPAM seeks a leader to take the charity forward over what promises to be an exciting new period of ambitious growth in partnership with our principal funder, Help Musicians UK. The role involves strategic and operational leadership of the organisation, including management of a small team of administrative staff and a clinical workforce comprising of voluntary and healthcare professionals working throughout the UK.

For this role we’re looking for someone who is a strong leader, someone who has the ability to innovate and offer creative solutions, whilst thinking strategically. The successful candidate will be passionate about the performing arts and have the ability to be flexible and adaptable whilst displaying personal integrity and high standards of work.

Click here for further information and to apply.

The closing date for applications is Friday 5th August 2017.

Health Education in the Arts Survey

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Researcher, Lisa Brachfeld, from the MSc Performing Arts Medicine programme at University College London, invites musicians, dancers, actors, and singers who are professionals or students/teachers at accredited conservatoires to participate in a new study of health education in the performing arts. The aim is to prove that performers could benefit from more health and injury prevention education. Learning about attitudes towards this subject will help to improve the effectiveness of education curriculums.

Take the survey here

Performers Health Hub App Launched

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Dance Longer Dance Stronger has launched a new app designed to enable performers to locate a range of dance-specialist healthcare, both private and NHS, and reliable, evidence-based resources on a range of health topics including fitness, first-aid for dancers, nutrition and hypermobility.

Resources on the Performers Health Hub are drawn from a consortium of organisations at the forefront of dance medicine and science research and advocacy including National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science, One Dance UK, Safe in Dance International and the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine and will be continually updated as research progresses.

The app has been developed in response to the high injury rate among dancers and the lack of time available due to the nature of their work, to conduct thorough research in locating top quality healthcare.

Around 80% of all dancers will suffer an injury each year through training, rehearsal or performance* or as a result of fatigue and overwork, insufficient warming-up or cooling-down, recurring injury or not being able to respond to the early warning signs of injury**.

Due to the nature of their work, and the demands of their complex schedules, dancers, teachers and choreographers can find it extremely challenging to find the sufficient time needed in order to locate reliable, dance specialist care and resources. This can lead to many dancers abandoning the search altogether and working through an injury.

Director of Dance Longer Dance Stronger Claire Farmer comments: ‘By housing this vital information in one place, the app removes the need to spend precious time searching the internet and attempting to establish the quality and reliability of the information available there. Dancers can quickly find dance specialist healthcare practitioners and clinical services, providing the expert knowledge that can help dancers then return to the studio quicker.’

To download the app please visit the Apple or Google stores.

The information on this app is not intended to diagnose an injury.  If you are concerned about an injury please always consult a registered healthcare professional.  To query any of the information highlighted in this app please contact Dance Longer Dance Stronger directly.

For more information contact: Claire Farmer MSc info@dancelongerdancestronger.com

*Laws, H (2005) Fit to Dance 2, Dance UK, Newgate Press, UK: London

** Brinson, P & Dick, F (1996) Fit to Dance, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, UK: London

Osteopathic Performing Arts Care Association Study Day

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

The Osteopathic Performing Arts Care Association (OPACA) are a group of osteopaths who have a special interest in the care of performers. Members include BAPAM registered osteopaths Michael Mehta, Karolin Krell, Nikki Ellis, David Propert, Alison Judah, Toby Pollard-Smith and Lazarus Nono.

Presented by dancer and choreographer, Russel Maliphant, and Osteopath, Andrew ferguson, the first OPACA Symposium and study day, The Dancer’s Body: Integrity and Fluidity, will be held on Saturday May 6th at the General Osteopathic Council in London.

Find out more here.

Solo Pop Singers: How do you feel about your wellbeing in the music industry?

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

 

Professional singers invited to take part in new research project at the Royal College of Music

Are you a professional solo singer in popular music genres including pop, rock, dance, jazz, blues and folk?

Would you like to help develop our understanding of health and wellbeing experiences in the music industry, and inform future support networks?

Lucinda Heyman, a Performance Science researcher at the Royal College of Music, is looking for professional solo singers, signed to a record label or making a living from singing, to be interviewed for a new project. You don’t need to have experienced a health problem to take part. The research covers positive as well as challenging experiences. You may feel that your work in music has positive effects on your health, for instance.

If you are interested in taking part you can contact Lucinda directly by emailing lucinda.heyman@rcm.ac.uk

She will explain the project and provide you with a detailed participant information sheet.

Any information you provide will remain confidential. The project has Research Ethics Committee approval from Conservatoires UK.