Dancers quickly learn the trick of hands on healing by poking, nudging, or gently encouraging muscles that are calling out for help. Sometimes it is a quick energize rub to warmup the muscles before dancing. Or when a stressed muscles calls out, it might take a deep probe into the pain to allow the muscle to release. At other times, it is important to encourage the muscle on its way to healing by applying both hands and simply being aware of what the muscle needs.
The hands can be a part of a three step process: one, noticing how the body is connecting; two, making connections that work together; three, setting the connections in a brain map that will maintain the connections. Dancers use these steps every day with their movements and many dancers also train themselves to use their hands to identify a stress, make a shift, and set the change in their brain.
What becomes important is exploring how we have wired our brains to attend to some muscles more than others and how we can change that wiring to support the entire system of muscle, tendon, bone. This is why dance training is so unique and important. The emergence of Pilates has attested to that fact.
The use of the hands is another component to rewiring the brain that has yet to be emphasized. Connecting the body and brain is an on going mystery and depends on the body’s needs and the unique sensibilities of each person. For example, some people prefer the defined nudging of chiropractic in order to clarify a ground zero of alignment for the body. Other people require that the body and mind move slowly and gently together into alignment in Craniosacral Therapy.
Whatever the preference, with chiropractic the dancer must find ways to set the realignments into their brain map. With Craniosacral Therapy, the brain map is set along with the body’s changes. In this case, the dancer’s job is to explore the change that has taken place below the conscious level. Some people prefer to work from the outside discovery and some prefer to begin with the inner change.
Dancers, being the scientists and explorers of body that they are, often train themselves to use their hands when their bodies need immediate attention. Modern Dance classes often have hands-on sessions to demonstrate how to encourage release and healing in the body. The Skinner Release and Klein Techniques encourage focused attention and specific action in areas of need.
Often dancers take the time to learn specific techniques in Accupressure, Jin Shin Do, massage, and Craniosacral Therapy. This can be done by mini-clinics for learning specific skills, by getting some guidance from a friend, or by enrolling in a course to get in-depth training.