Getty Images

5 Wellness Trends Decoded for Dancers

These days, the wellness industry knows no bounds. Whether it's speeding up injury recovery or calming audition-related anxiety, trendy wellness practices promise remedies for all kinds of dancer ailments. But are these treatments effective—or safe for dancers? Here's what you should know about five popular wellness trends before getting your goop on.


Infrared Saunas

Interior of an infrared sauna, with glowing red lights

Getty Images

Infrared saunas, which use dry heat and light color therapy, promise a host of benefits, including detoxification, improved immunity, pain relief, and stress reduction. "The basic principle of infrared is that you're using a light spectrum instead of heat, and the light spectrum creates heat within the body without it being unbearably hot in the room," says former dancer, certified athletic trainer, and acupuncturist Megan Richardson.

There isn't much research to support all of the alleged benefits. While light therapy supposedly "detoxes" deep levels of tissue, "I don't know if your skin is doing that much detoxing—that's not its purpose," said Richardson. That said, infrared saunas might help dancers relax and ease their muscle and joint pain recovery.

Vitamin IV Drips

An IV bag with drip on a blurred background

Getty Images

Intravenous therapy is a staple in hospitals, but "drip bars" brand themselves as cures for dehydration and jet lag, with a bonus instant healthy glow. "IVs on demand" make house calls, and usually cost $155-185 per "vitamin cocktail."

For most dancers, vitamin IV drips probably aren't a great idea. Richardson cautions that piercing blood vessels with external instruments puts dancers at risk of infection. Plus, she notes, a high dosage of vitamins can be toxic. Richardson frames IV therapy as appropriate only for dancers with gut absorption issues, which must be diagnosed by a doctor.

Tuning Fork Therapy

Hands holding a tuning fork and rubber puck for tuning fork therapy

In tuning fork therapy, tuning forks are tapped and their vibrations are applied to the body to improve circulation in certain targeted areas. Often paired with massage or acupuncture, tuning forks could be helpful for dancers who are "unconsciously but actively holding tension in their muscles," Richardson says. "I do believe in sound therapy. There are certain frequencies that are supposed to be a little bit more aligned to nature and to our body." And there's little chance that the relatively gentle vibrations will do your dancing body any harm.

Adaptogens

Adaptogen herbs arranged in a circle

Getty Images

Adaptogens—edible herbs that help the body resist and recover from physical and mental stress—are part of both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicinal traditions. Commonly used adaptogens include ginseng, turmeric, ashwaganda, rhiodolia, schisandra, and reishi. And there is some evidence to back up their effectiveness.

Richardson says dancers can try adaptogens for 30 days if they're eating and sleeping properly and yet "their tank feels empty." However, "We shouldn't be living on adaptogens," she cautions. The goal is to create and maintain balance.

Breathwork

A woman sits outdoors and takes a deep breath

Getty Images

Breathwork involves using conscious breath patterns that direct the brain to adjust the release of stress hormones like cortisol. The practice is believed to reduce anxiety, increase alertness, and boost the immune system. "We know that when we're in pain, for example, we change our breath patterns," Richardson says.

Richardson highly recommends breathwork to improve dance performance, injury recovery, digestion, and even sleep. It's free and accessible, and beginners can start with podcasts and YouTube for guidance. "I think breathwork is incredibly powerful because it's one of the only ways we can control our autonomic nervous system," Richardson says.

Latest Posts


All photos by Joe Toreno. Grooming throughout by Lisa Chamberlain for The Rex Agency.

How Mark Kanemura—Artist, Activist, and All-Around Icon—Became Our Internet Dance Mascot

Twelve years ago, a baby-faced Mark Kanemura appeared on "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 4. The Hawaiian-born dancer—whose winningly quirky style found a perfect vehicle in Sonya Tayeh's creepy-cool "The Garden" routine—quickly became a fan favorite. Kanemura made it to the Top 6 (Joshua Allen took the title that season), and a star was born.

But the world didn't know how bright that star was going to shine.

Fresh off "SYTYCD," Kanemura started booking jobs with Lady Gaga: first the MTV Video Music Awards, then the Jingle Bell Ball. Soon, he was a staple on Gaga's stages and in her videos, and he began to develop a dedicated fan base of his own.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Courtesy MSG Photos

#SocialDisDancing: A Look at Rockette Taylor Shimko's At-Home Dance Life

From the most famous choreographers to the newest of dance newbies, we're all going through the same pandemic-related struggles right now. So, how are the pros coping with it all? To find out, we've started a new interview series, #SocialDisDancing. Over the next few weeks, we'll be catching up with some of your favorite dancers to see how they're step-ball-changing their way through this unprecedented moment in dance history. We had the chance to speak with Taylor Shimko, who's been a Radio City Rockette for more than 10 seasons. (Be sure to check out Taylor's takeover of our Instagram for an inside peek at her day in the #SocialDisDancing life.)

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Taylor Goldberg, Jordan Goldberg, and JT Church attending REVEL's virtual convention (courtesy Leslie Church)

What It's Like to Attend a Virtual Dance Convention

During this new era of social distancing, the dance world has gotten pretty creative. Tons of teachers, studios, competitions, and conventions have stepped up to the plate to help fill our living rooms with virtual dance content. But what's it really like to attend a dance convention online?

Dance Spirit followed JT Church, "Dancing With The Stars: Juniors" pro and "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation" runner-up, as he spent the weekend attending REVEL's "Rev-Virtual" online convention experience.

Hey guys! I have been a special guest faculty assistant for REVEL Dance Convention for the last four years. So I was excited to find out they'd be hosting a series of online convention weekends. With everything that's going on, I've been missing conventions so much. I knew it'd be great to be able to keep up my training.

Two of my best friends, Jordan and Taylor Goldberg—I dance with them at Club Dance—asked me to come over to their home studio so we could take REVEL's online classes together. Here's how it all went.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
contest
Enter the Cover Model Search