‘Tis the Nutcracker season. A time when dancers live in the theatre, perform day after day, and fulfill family traditions and eager children’s hearts. In preparation for December’s busy month, dancehealthier will conclude it’s November Movement Wednesday theme – Stress Management for the dancer, in hopes that it will come in handy in the weeks to come. In earlier November weeks, I covered two stress management techniques including, Yogic or Pranayama Breathing and Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Today I will discuss the remaining two topics – Biofeedback & Visual Imagery.
It is important to mention that the stress management techniques discussed in detail this month may not appeal to all individual’s needs and personalities. Instead, the intention is to serve as an educational tool/reference, reminder and/or motivator. I do, however, hope that you find these techniques helpful.
The objective of biofeedback is to simply bring awareness of psychological processes to which individuals are not normally aware of through the use of instrumentation. This is brought to awareness by enhancing awareness of internal states connected with deep levels of relaxation. The simple form of feedback, which I believe is most appropriate for the dancer, can be obtained by biodots. Biodots are miniature thermometers that measure skin temperature, which generally indicate skin temperature variance and are triggered at a temperature higher than 87 deg F. A biodot can be applied anywhere on the body, but typically is placed at the dip between the thumb and forefinger. Biofeedback is used to assist stress level awareness, which in time helps to trigger useful application of coping mechanisms.
Color Changes on Biodots and their Interpretations chart: COLOR – TEMPERATURE – INTERPRETATION
- Black – 87.5 deg F – Indication of highly tense moment
- Amber – 89.6 deg F – Indicative of tense moment
- Yellow – 90.6 deg F – Unsettled
- Green – 91.6 deg F – Involved with the things going on around the person
- Turquiose – 92.6 deg F – Starting to relax
- Blue – 93.6 deg F – Calm
- Violet – 94.6 deg F – Very relaxed
Biodots can be purchased from Biodot International, P.O. Box 2246, Indianapolis, IN 46206, (317) 637-5776.
Visual Imagery for a dancer can be quite helpful and many of us probably already use it. Simply, visual imagery is mental visualization with the help of imagination. It is somewhat analogous to dreaming. It is based on the principal that whatever we think and imagine will have a deep impact on our body. Regular visual imagery training, makes it possible for any dancer/athlete, in all spheres of life, to mentally visualize situations before they occur. With regular practice of this technique, performance has been shown to improve. Specifically, dancers can practice this technique for class, rehearsal, performance, and throughout injury recovery. Visual Imagery may also be helpful within the context of relaxation. Imagining relaxing scenes and images may be a useful way to bring about relaxation.
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Sharma, M., & Romas, J. A. (2007). Practical Stress Management, A Comprehensive Workbook for Managign Change and Promoting Health – 4th Ed. Pearson Education, Inc.