Posts Tagged ‘Performing Arts Medicine’

New Clinics in Liverpool and Belfast

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

As part of our commitment to reach and support performers throughout the UK, we are pleased and excited to announce new regional clinics, this time in Liverpool and Belfast starting in May 2019. 

BAPAM are delighted to be working with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, who will host the clinic at the Philharmonic Hall, and Dr Marie McKavanagh, a Performing Arts Medicine specialist GP (and musician).

Liverpool Philharmonic have pioneered an exemplary approach to developing and supporting performance excellence through providing specialist health and wellbeing services to orchestra musicians. The positive effects of this investment are proving that performer wellbeing and artistic excellence are interlinked. Taking care of both also makes good business sense. Performers are healthier, happier, take less time off sick and are better prepared for elite performance. Through their key support for the new BAPAM clinic, Liverpool Philharmonic are now helping to bring this approach to the whole performing arts community.

The first clinic will be held on Wednesday 1st May. 

Belfast

BAPAM are also delighted to be working with the Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast’s music hub, who will host the clinic, providing vital support for a healthy and vibrant performing arts community.

The clinic is led by Dr Christine Hunter, a BAPAM and  NHS GP and Medical Adviser to the Ulster Orchestra.

BAPAM’s Belfast Clinic will be held monthly from May 22

Who is the clinic for?

If you make a proportion of your living from, or study in the performing arts, and have a physical or psychological health problem related to your work, BAPAM can help you. BAPAM clinicians can provide an accurate diagnosis and information to help you overcome problems. The BAPAM team can identify the best sources of ongoing care, both in the NHS and from other specialists, and advise you about sources of financial support for people experiencing health problems affecting their ability to work or study.

Other regional clinics:

Glasgow: Friday 10th May, 7th June

Leeds: Thursday 2nd May

How to book a FREE confidential appointment?

Call 020 7404 8444 to register | Or email info@bapam.org.uk

The Relationship Between Occupational Demands and Well-Being of Performing Artists: A Systematic Review

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Simone Willis,  a Performance Science researcher at Cardiff Metropolitan University, has shared with us this recently published paper on the relationship between occupational stress and well-being in performing artists. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate and synthesise data arising from 20 previous studies. The article is open access and can be read here in Frontiers of Psychology.

The review highlights the need for more high quality research on the relationship between occupational stress and well-being.

 

Psychosocial Practitioner Peer Supervision Group

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

BAPAM is pleased to support the Peer Supervision Group for psychosocial practitioners who work with performing arts clients.

This group, whose inaugural meetings took place in 2018, opens up the conversation between performing arts and psychological practice. It is developing a growing professional network for counselling, coaching and psychology practitioners who work with performing artists of all kinds. The group meets regularly, roughly every 8 weeks, in central London.

As well as discussing clinical cases and case issues, there is interactive exploration, mutual consultation and support on more general professional practice issues, including ethical issues, boundary and confidentiality areas. Such exchanges of expertise and experience enable members to reflect on and refine best practice in working with performers. The Group offers members the chance to share specialist expertise of particular problem areas and to provide interventions, guidance, information and professional support within a rigorous evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence framework in this developing field. The Group acts as a forum not only for encouraging and developing the highest standards of practice but also for identifying, promoting and supporting new research in the field.

Members of the group use a variety of approaches and come from a range of career backgrounds. Some members bring specialist expertise within the field, for example, working with people in particular arts professions or with certain types of problem. The Group is sensitive to BAME, LGBT+ and other dimensions of difference.

It is hoped that specialised supervision of this type will become available and accessible to many more practitioners on the BAPAM Directory and the Group is keen to encourage this in whatever ways it can. Members are happy to offer advice and suggestions to practitioners wanting to start their own peer supervision group and to find ways of welcoming practitioners new to the Directory to join.

Practitioners interested in finding out more, joining the London group or starting a group of their own are invited to contact Dr Carol Chapman by email at carol@carolchapman.co.uk

New BAPAM Clinics

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

We now hold free Performing Arts Medicine clinics in London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Cardiff and Leeds. 

If you make a proportion of your living from, or study in the performing arts, and have a health problem related to your work, we can help you.

Our clinicians are experienced at dealing with the problems performing arts workers frequently face, and can help with an accurate diagnosis and advice including identifying efficient care pathways, both in the NHS and from other specialist individuals and services. The BAPAM team can also advise about the availability of financial support for people experiencing health problems affecting their ability to work or study.

To make an appointment, give us a call on 020 7404 8444.

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

August 2018 Newsletter

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

Read our August 2018 Newsletter here

Scotland clinics

Arts Specialist Psychologists and Psychotherapists

PPL CEO Peter Leathem Appointed BAPAM Chairman

BAPAM Training Day: The Performance Environment

Forthcoming Events

Alexander Technique Research Update

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

If you’re interested in the ergonomics of musicianship then you may remember a previous post where we featured the research of Alison Loram. Alison is a violinist and BAPAM-registered Alexander Technique teacher working with performers. Alison is also a research scientist in the field of musicians health (and biodiversity in domestic gardens), and has published a number of papers.

Exploring the premise that musicians are subject to a wide range of medical and performance-related problems due to physical and psychological demands, Alison’s thesis for her masters in Performing Arts Medicine, which is now published and open access, looked into chronic profession-limiting problems in musicians: Underlying mechanisms and neuroplastic routes to recovery

A related presentation considers the scientific basis of the Alexander Technique, and presents results of experimental research into Alexander teaching methodology: Explaining the Alexander Technique to clinicians and scientists: Psycho-physical re-education – an introduction to cognitive-motor system-level causes of performance-related problems.

The Music Commission: Opportunities and Barriers to Progressing in Music

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

The Music Commission, supported by ABRSM, has launched its first call for public evidence, with a survey containing a series of specific questions around progress in the development of a musical life. Taking part enables all voices to be heard, so if you are involved in music education – as a music leader, teacher, learner, or consumer – The Music Commission would like to hear from you!

Have you found abundant opportunities to develop your musical practice or have there been barriers to participation in musical life? What are your positive and negative experiences of learning and work environments, your peers in the arts community, teachers, employers, media, access to venues and rehearsal space,  housing, earning a living or supporting yourself through university? Perhaps you have you encountered health problems that have been a barrier to progress – there are significant physical and psychological demands placed on music students and professionals, which can be eased or exacerbated by social factors.

Please take the survey here.

The Music Commission is also asking organisations within the music sector to run focus groups, an initiative you can find out about here: Let’s Talk Music. The questions are modeled on the online survey.  How the discussions take place and in what context however, are entirely up to the organisation hosting them. The aim of the group is to discuss questions and then to put together a collaborative statement which draws on the thoughts, feelings and opinions of the group.  This can be submitted in writing, or using recordings, video content or images.

 

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.”

Healthy Performance Workshops at The Actors Centre

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

We’re pleased to announce a new series of healthy performance workshops in partnership with The Actors Centre, with funding support from Equity.

Members of The Actors Centre can book their place for the first two sessions now.

Look out for more workshops as the series continues through 2018.

Friday 10th November: Finding a Work-Life Balance in Changing Times 

Dr Carol Chapman
Counselling Psychologist and Performance Coach

This 3 hour interactive workshop looks at ways of establishing a viable work-life balance and managing time effectively in the context of irregular jobs and irregular working patterns. These can affect health and well-being and impact on family and social life. The workshop illustrates ways of managing the stress reactions these unpredictable patterns can bring, and shows how to facilitate resilience. Participants will be able to raise appropriate issues that affect them personally and options for coping will be described and discussed. Suggestions for taking ideas further will be made. Book here

Friday 8th December: Healthy Voice

Dr Jenevora Williams
Singing Teacher and Vocal Health Expert

All voice users suffer from ill health at some time. Find out how to minimise the vocal fatigue suffered as a result of overuse or misuse. You can also learn

about the effects of medications, environmental factors, hormones, ageing, and of course – stress.

Dr Jenevora Williams will begin with a brief summary of how the voice works, followed by a practical guide to understanding and managing your own voice use. Book here