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  • Writer's pictureNika Antuanette

Recovery Remedies & Rituals

Healing Shrine

Boom! 2019 kicked off and it was like being shot out of a fierce, fiery cannon.

This is imagery that my Director, Alison Cook Beatty gave to us for our first entrance onto the stage in our last show. The physicality of the past week and a half has been a lot, but I will say I am enjoying the ride.

I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to start the new year off with Alison Cook Beatty Dance (ACBD) rehearsals and two performances for the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) in NYC.

It was all very exciting and emotionally driven, since this was my last week as a company member with ACBD. I made the bittersweet decision to leave, so I would be available for other opportunities. Therefore, I truly cherished all the hard work, sweat, and blood (here and there) that came along with the preparation process with this special group of super-humans. Dancers are both athletes and artists, without a doubt. The physicality, in-the-moment mental processing, and emotional investment are all integral parts of successfully executing the vision of the choreographer.

ACBD Performing Magnetic Temptations - Dancers: Jacob Brown, Carolina Rivera, Niccolo Orsolani, Fiona Oba, Timothy Ward, Vera Paganin, Richard Sayama, Dorrie Silver (former member pictured here), and Me. Photo By Paul B. Goode

This extreme combination can have a taxing effect on the body, so it's important to find ways to rest and recover. There are many remedies that dancers and other athletes utilize to speed up and make the recovery process tolerable - especially since we don’t usually have the luxury of taking too much time to recover. We are repairing our bodies while continuing rehearsals for something else (or teaching, choreographing, modeling, working, hustling around the City…and then some). Life keeps moving, so how do we keep up?

Some critical MUST-HAVEs for me:

Arnica (gel or cream)

Arnica is a Homeopathic Remedy - It is applied externally and helps heal bruises. It also relieves muscle soreness. The cream version is ideal for massaging, while the gel absorbs quickly. The pellets are safe to take internally and work as an anti-inflammatory for the whole body!

Epsom Salt

Epsom Salts have many uses, but I personally put about 1-2 cups of it in the bath and soak for my life!

Liquid Bandage

Liquid Bandage is great for healing and protecting exposed skin in areas that are tough to keep on a bandaid. Clean the affected area, and brush this antiseptic formula on will sting at first, but it is just cleaning the injury. Then add a second coat when the first one is dry. It is quick process. I use this for floor burns and scrapes that happen on the top surface of my feet. A regular bandaid will not stay on through most choreography!

Po Sum On Medicated Oil

Po Sum On was introduced to me by my dear friend, Diane. She gave me this oil once when I was extremely sore. It saved me before a performance, and I have kept it in my arsenal since. This peppermint scented remedy can be massaged on multiple times a day. The scent is invigorating, and the resulting sensation is soothing to sore muscles. It helps warm the body and increase circulation of the blood wherever it is applied. Keep it external for safety!

CBD Cream

My acupuncture therapist used this CBD ointment on me during a session, and I fell in love with the warming sensation of the cayenne and ginger. CBD is known to help reduce inflammation and ease pain. Just rub it on and enjoy!

These are my top contenders for an enjoyable recovery.

I am bath-lover, for sure. I treat myself to regular soaks in the tub-a-tub-tub, and I feel no shame for that sumptuous investment of time. It is ideal at night before bed, so I can actually dose off into a comatose state of slumber. However, I have been known to take a morning bath from time-to-time, prior to rehearsal, if I can’t physically roll down without feeling like I’ll snap.

Gee, do I love Bath-time! Photo By Bill Cameron

It’s normal to be sore when we exert ourselves physically.

It’s also good to remember that although adequate rest is required, moving the body helps get that lactic acid out of the muscles, which is partially responsible for that sensation of soreness. Let’s not forget to flush out those toxins with LOTS of water! Hydration is key.

I feel better in knowing that there are ways to counteract the immense effort that it often takes to get where we want to go. Find pleasure in the work and satisfaction in giving yourself well-deserved tender loving care!

Alison & I after my last performance with ACBD at APAP. I love this lady from the first rose (pictured in healing shine) to the last! It has been an honor and joy to dance in your company. Thank you, Ali!!

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