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ENHANCED PERFORMANCE – Lessons from life as a former ballerina turned chiropractor!

I recently overcame a fear of public speaking and went and spoke at my former training institute – The New Zealand School of Dance. My goal was to share with the students and staff about my experiences as a former professional ballet dancer in Germany as well as my current passion for helping people’s bodies work at their best. A lot of time and effort and research went into preparing for this talk catered towards explaining how elite athletes and performers benefit from regular chiropractic care. But chiropractic care shouldn’t be limited to just that subset of the population. We all “perform” on a daily basis, whether it be commuting to work by foot or bike, carrying out our job, looking after our families or participating in a social sport. At Chiropractic Balance we believe that a majority of the population could benefit from periodic chiropractic “tune-ups” so that they can continue doing what is important to them in their daily life.

I didn’t utilise chiropractic care during my professional dancing life, in fact I remember being advised by one dance teacher to steer clear of chiropractors. This meant that I didn’t have the chance to be exposed to the holistic philosophy that chiropractic offers. I did however begin to develop an understanding of the link between body and mind. I realised that my physical body and performance would often falter at the same times I endured the emotional hardships that tend to accompany a professional dancing life. The realisation prompted enquiry into further studies of psychology and eventually chiropractic. The misunderstanding and misconception that my dance teacher had about what the Chiropractic profession offers meant that I missed out on learning some vital information that could have helped prolong my dance career. It was this thought that prompted me to push through my fear of speaking to a large group (instead of dancing) and share what I now know with the budding young dancers. And now I want to share it with you too!

 

Me (centre) performing one of the lead roles in the ballet “Serenade” at the New Zealand School of Dance Graduation Performance (Wellington, 1999)

Leading the corps de ballet in a rehearsal of La Bayadere (Hamburg, Germany, 2002)

 

At Chiropractic Balance we talk a lot about the four foundations of our health care model – balanced structure, sufficient movement, optimal nutrition and a healthy mind. Your current and future health is a reflection of how you live your life. Whilst we do give great attention to improving the alignment and movement of your spine, pelvis and skull, we actually do this to optimise the function of your delicate yet vital nervous system that is housed and protected within these structures. Because it is your nervous system that controls all the functions within your body as well as how best to respond to your surroundings. We also recommend manageable lifestyle changes where necessary to support the work done at each session. Holistic approaches with a strong neurological focus like ours have been adopted for years by many of the world’s elite athletes. From surfing legend Kelly Slater to golf genius Tiger Woods, as well as current leaders in their sports: the super sprinter Usain Bolt or Super Bowl veteran Tom Brady – they all acknowledge the important role their chiropractors played in helping them reach  (and stay) at their top.

One of my favourite examples of the power of chiropractic in helping athletes’ bodies work at their best is what was happening at the Milan Football Club last decade. A Belgian Chiropractor had been appointed head of their medical team in 2002 after a series of player transfers and injuries had cost the club a lot of money. Under his new direction of how the players’ health and function should be assessed and cared for, great changes began to occur. The state of the art facilities dedicated to measuring and looking after the players’ health and performance was dubbed the Milan Lab

During its time in operation, the Milan Lab resulted in a 43% drop in total practice days lost due to injury and some of the superstars were able to play to almost 40 years of age, whilst their peers at other clubs were retiring in their early 30’s. Prior to the Milan Lab, the Milan team was receiving on average 7 injections a week to manage non-traumatic injuries in the players. However with a 92% reduction in the occurrence of non-traumatic injuries, one year there were as few as 4 injections administered throughout the entire season. In addition to that, the use of medicines for the team also dropped by 70%. At the turn of the decade there was a change in club management and less investment was put into the Milan Lab. Unfortunately after the changes in the way it contributed to the team, there were more injuries in the following 2 years than there had been in the 8 years it was operating at its prime.

I don’t know whether it is just the fact that I am a daughter of two mathematicians but these figures amaze me! By utilising chiropractic care and ensuring that they were moving well, eating well and thinking well, the players at Milan reduced their risk of injury, reduced their use of medication and injections, and extended their careers.

I believe this information can translate into your everyday life as well. I believe that you don’t have to be like me and wait until you have a health crisis to experience the benefits of chiropractic care. I believe good health isn’t as hard as you think. Do you or your loved ones want to participate more in life without the use of pain medication? And if this were possible, do you or your loved ones want to be able to do that for as long as possible? If you answered yes then we’d love to help you!

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