How Essential Oils Can Help Dancers With Everything From Sore Muscles to Anxiety
If you're battling aching muscles or pre-show nerves, a scented oil is probably the last thing you'd consider as a solution. Essential oils are more than just smells, though—these highly concentrated plant extracts have some serious healing powers. Sold online or over-the-counter at most health food stores, pure essential oils are completely natural and can be added to baths and lotions, or applied topically. Dance Spirit rounded up three specific scents that'll benefit your dancer bod.
Helps: Muscle soreness, indigestion
Peppermint is a tried-and-true remedy for an uneasy stomach and may help aching joints. If your muscles are throbbing after a tough class, mix a few drops of peppermint essential oil with 10 milliliters of a carrier oil, like coconut oil or avocado oil. Massage the mixture into your skin wherever you're sore. If your stomach is upset after a particularly filling lunch, add one drop of peppermint essential oil to a glass of warm water or tea so you can get through an afternoon of rehearsing.
Helps: Anxiety, stress, sleep issues
If there were a super scent, it'd be lavender. It's the most popular essential oil for good reason: with a storied history dating back 2,500 years, lavender has been used everywhere from ancient Egypt to Greece, and for everything from treating cuts and burns to acting as perfume. It's also a secret weapon for anxiety and stress. Multiple studies have shown that lavender oil decreases sleep disturbances and moodiness.
The best way to experience lavender oil is through a diffuser, which can be purchased online. Diffusers help maximize the benefits of the oils by distributing them via mist. It's also gentle enough to be applied directly to the skin—if you don't have a diffuser, dabbing a drop of oil behind each ear after a long day in the studio will help your mind unwind.
Helps: Sore throat, cough, cold
Cold and flu season's got nothing on eucalyptus oil. With its antiviral and antibacterial properties, this essential oil will stop a hacking cough or burning throat in its tracks and help you get back to dancing. Take a large bowl of hot water and mix in 10 to 15 drops of the oil. Position your face over the bowl, cover your head with a towel, and inhale the steam for 10 minutes. (If you have a diffuser, you can simply add in a few drops of the oil and turn it on.)
A version of this story appeared in the January 2019 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Just The Essentials."
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.