March 16, 2008

Dancing Smart Newsletter: 3/16/08

Dancing Smart Newsletter
March 16, 2008


First, I wanted to announce that I am in the process of creating an affiliate program for The Body Series products. This could be completed as quickly as the end of the week, and when it is ready to roll out, I will send an email out explaining how it works.

My reasons for deciding to try an affiliate program are two-fold. One, I need a way to generate more sales to support and maintain the website and newsletter. Hopefully, I will not offend anyone by saying that. I haven't gone after sponsors and advertising to support the website because I wanted the information to be the primary focus.

Secondly, my purpose behind doing the newsletter and creating the products is to empower and educate dancers and dance teachers in a multitude of ways. The affiliate program could help studio owners, dance teachers, and dancers create an income stream while helping me spread the word that dance can be available to everyone, no matter what your body type of amount of turnout.

I ask you to consider partnering up with me. The program will be straightforward. You will receive a 10% commission on any sales that come through you or your link. If a person that you referred also becomes an affiliate, you will receive 5% commission on any sales they bring in. I want this to be a win/win situation for all of us. Watch for more info!

The second announcement is it has become clear to me that some of the email addresses from The Body Series have been captured by less than scrupulous individuals or organizations and are being used to send spam. I have received emails from that were NOT from me! I am looking at how to handle this situation – I don't like getting spammed as much as the next person – and – I have never and will never share your email addresses with any other organization.

Onto the question of the week! You might want to reread the last blog post – as there was some great feedback from other readers. Thanks, Nancy (a retired orthopedic surgeon) for your contribution to the conversation about plantar fasciitis!

My daughter is 12 and had a labral tear of the hip three years ago from a gymnastic related trauma. She had arthroscopic surgery 1 and 1/2 years ago and she is still experiencing pain. Her orthopedic says her joint is perfect, though her capsule may be still tight, so we are doing joint mobilization exercises. Her PT says the pain is probably most related to her growth spurt. Do you have any recommendations of how to live through this painful experience? I am considering deep tissue work, topical glucosamine, and/or non-traditional medical options. She is so passionate about dance, and I fear she will be so devastated if she cannot experience peace and a pain-free state soon.

My heart certainly goes out to your daughter. She has come through a challenging situation. Her PT may be right on with the growth spurt connection – and – even if that is why she is in more pain now I believe she can begin to train and reeducate the muscles around the hip joint to move without pain.

I'm not clear whether she has been in some continual pain for a year and a half, or if this just recently came on with a growth spurt, but for both situations I would give the same advice for her pain.

Let me share a very recent experience with a client. I had a woman come to see me who was in significant pain around her left hip. Whenever she stepped down on it she would have shooting pain down her leg. She was walking with a cane and as she stepped onto the left leg she would tilt way over to the left with her torso as she quickly limped onto the 'good' right leg. She was miserable! She did all the right things, went to an orthopedic surgeon, a neurologist, and physical therapy through the pain management clinic at Cleveland Clinic. She wasn't getting better and was feeling really depressed and desperate.

We worked first on my table and then in standing – my instructions to her were to move slowly and smoothly only as far as she did not have pain. When she was standing she had her left foot about 6 -8 inches in front of her right. She very slowly began to transfer her weight onto the left foot and it took almost 10 minutes before she could transfer her weight to the left foot without pain. (she didn't take full weight on the leg because that would give her pain. It took another 10 minutes to discover she could begin to lift her right heel off and start to take the weight onto her left foot. We stopped and felt successful with that much. We spent another chunk of time working with getting herself from her side to a sitting position without pain as she has to do getting out of bed.

She discovered that there were ways for her to move with good anatomical alignment and not invoke the pain. Her pain pattern had become so ingrained with fear as well as compensatory patterns that muscles were in spasm and turned off without her knowing it!

Two weeks later she walks into my office still with cane in hand but totally upright and without pain! I was so inspired! She was so happy – and couldn't believe her pain level had decreased so much in such a short period of time. She still had pain – especially when she tried to move too quickly, but I feel confident, in time, that too will go away.

I share this story with you to describe the potential for somatic education to repattern movement. I was working with her similar to what a Feldenkrais or other somatic practitioner would. I use as a textbook in one of my college classes, Thomas Hanna's Somatics: Reawakening the Mind's Control of Movement, Flexibility and Health. It is a wonderful read – I recommend it strongly. You could explore the following websites to find a somatic practitioner in your area. or or

It might be that everything with the structure of the joint has been fixed – and now your daughter needs to re-pattern her movement from any less than optimal compensations that occurred from the surgery and pain of the labral tear.

As a side note – I have used successfully used plain MSM cream that I get from for decreasing inflammation and adhesions – and always keep some on hand.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery for your daughter!

I'll close with a quote from Thomas Hanna.

“Somatic Exercises can change how we live our lives, how we believe that our minds and bodies interrelate, how powerful we think we are in controlling our lives, and how responsible we should be in taking care of our total being.” —Thomas Hanna

Be well!


"Education is the key to injury prevention"

March 2, 2008

Dancing Smart Newsletter: 3/2/08

Dear Deb,

I am a dance teacher and teach 23 hours a week. I have plantar fasciitis and can't seem to get rid of it. I've been stretching, icing, rolling my feet on tennis balls, wearing tennis shoes in all dance classes, wear insoles recommended to me by my chiropractor, gotten my feet adjusted and put electric stim through them, and taped my feet daily. I'm still in pain. This began in Nov. I was just wondering if you had any other ideas. I appreciate any advice you can give! Thank you! Kelly

You are certainly doing everything right, Kelly. Following a textbook rehab process for plantar fasciitis.

For those who don't know what plantar fasciitis is – it is an inflammation of the plantar fascia that is on the bottom of your foot. Fascia is a sheet or band of connective tissue that surrounds muscles and binds cells together. In some areas it is thin, like the fascia under your skin, and other areas quite thick, like on the ball of your foot.

Tom Myers wrote a wonderful book called Anatomy Trains, which looks at the myofascial meridians of the body. He proposes there are a series of myofascial lines of that travel through the body. For example, the superficial back line begins with the plantar fascia at the foot, goes up the back of the leg, continues up the muscles of the spine and ends over the top of your head at the eye sockets. Tension in any area along this line will influence the whole.

I know you are already rolling on a ball to help release the plantar fascia. I would tell you to do that as well! Let's see if you can find other areas that may be influencing the plantar fascia. You didn't mention if you had plantar fasciitis on one or both feet. When you have it only on one foot I always take a very careful look at the pelvic/torso shifts, and for any potential leg length differences. If it is on both feet, then pick the side that seems to be a little worse.

Before you roll the ball under your foot, try sitting on the floor and placing it underneath the thigh. Press the hamstring gently into the ball to encourage release. When you are in a tight area, slowly, slowly flex your foot. Very slowly - take 4 very slow counts to flex it. Do that a few more times under your hamstring, before doing the same thing for the back of the calf. Place the ball under the calf to massage it, but then also taking the time to do very, very slow flexing of the foot while the ball is still under the calf.

Now stand up and see how the foot feels. Is there any less pull on the bottom of the foot? Hopefully so!

Now you want to stand with your back to the wall and place the pinkie ball along the same side of the spine of the leg you were just working on. One spot might be right along the spine somewhere between the shoulder blades. You are leaning on the ball with your feet securely placed about a foot away from the wall, or whatever distance feels comfortable. Now with the ball staying in one spot along your spine, gently and slowly, very slowly drop your head towards your chest stretching the muscles along the side of the spine.

You can repeat that a few times at other spots along that same side of the spine.

Now recheck how your feet feel. Do you feel any less strain at the feet? This is a good exploration for dancers even without plantar fasciitis. It always astonishes me the detailed relationships between body areas. You just explored releasing tension along the superficial back line of fascia – without ever touching the plantar fascia itself – and yet – the plantar fascia most likely has been helped.

If this made a difference to how you feel in standing and walking, Kelly – it might be useful to find a massage therapist who specializes in myofascial massage. In addition, I would encourage you to continue exploring and releasing any tension you might find above the level of the foot. This may mean that you need to make some changes in your movement dynamics like the speed of your walking.

If you find you can walk more easily and without as much strain by walking more slowly than you normally do – then you need to become aware of your speed and try to walk slowly and easily, allowing the foot to roll without pain, and the weight to transfer firmly yet smoothly from one foot to another.

Please let me know how you do with these suggestions – and I'm also always eager to read your comments if you care to leave them.

Warmest regards, and hope everyone has a wonderful week!


"Education is the key to injury prevention"