We all know that pole dance is an art, a sport and a fun, sexy and healthy way of life. But have you ever thought of pole dancing as therapy? You might have heard – and perhaps experienced – some of the good things that come with pole dance practice: a self-esteem boost, muscle toning, strength, body awareness, etc. But when I say “therapy”, what I mean is a method to heal physical wounds and pain.

Carlos Poliakoff is a physical therapist from Buenos Aires, Argentina who has specialized in pole dance injuries. He has even learned the pole basics so he can offer better therapy to his patients. Some of his clients include artists like Rebecca Starr, Phoenix Kazree and Anastasia Skukhtorova. Cirque Du Soleil athletes that have found a way to heal themselves from the practice of their craft in his unique method .

And what exactly does Carlos do? He stated on the website Pole-Dance.com.ar that he developed a method that includes “similar positions to the yoga asanas – adding an element, in this case the ‘pole’ – to make pressure on precise energetic body meridians to stimulate specific organs and emotions in the patient”. It’s called the Thera-Pole™, short for “Therapeutic Pole”.

This treatment, according to Carlos, fuses what is known today as yoga with the healing therapy called shiatsu or “finger pressure”. In a regular Thera-Pole™ session you go through a warm-up routine and physical training, and then an execution of postures that activate vital points to find a balance in your emotions with a wooden pole. The therapy session ends with stretching exercises.

There’s a similar method called Zejax (www.zejax.com), that uses a stick for exercising. On the Easy Flexibility website, it’s described as “a specialized training system (…) a unique method of bodyweight use for strength, power, endurance, flexibility and balance. The Zejax Apparatus is a versatile piece of equipment which you can use to train a variety of muscles in unconventional ways”.

Zejax demonstration video

There are also other healing therapies with poles or sticks, like the bamboo massage, for example, which consist on relaxing the body by deeply stimulating the skin, as well as muscles, adipose tissue and nervous system using bamboo sticks in different sizes.

The site Expo Beauty Magazine explains that results from bamboo therapies are derived from the stimulus generated by the friction and pressure of the sticks. They trigger neural, circulatory, muscular, cellular, energetic and emotional reactions in the person to achieve physical, mental and spiritual tranquility.

Bamboo therapy is perfect to counter the effects of exhaustion and for relaxing muscles (I’ve received bamboo massages myself and they feel very good, especially on my back). Expo Beauty Magazine says that you can also treat cellulitis and lose weight with this therapy. I also found out that bamboo is used in yoga practice for performing the asanas and achieving a more profound stretching.

Yoga with bamboo exercises

According to Carlos Poliakoff, the origin of these therapies is tied to Shaolin monks in China. They are Buddhist monks who meditate through the practice of martial arts and sometimes include weapons (with a non-violent purpose) like poles. He even thinks that the origin of pole dance itself might be tied to this religion and later developed in circuses, night clubs and so on, but that is a whole other post.

So, if you are a pole freak, now you know other ways that you can use the pole to your benefit, other than exercising and having fun. You can relax, heal your mind and body and much more.

Ermelinda Maglione

Pole Dance Venezuela (www.poledancevenezuela.org)

Nota original: http://www.badkitty.com/news/physical-therapy-for-pole-dancers/http://www.badkitty.com/news/physical-therapy-for-pole-dancers/