TLC is a place for performing artists to get the unique help they need. Three of our practitioners are musicians with years of performing experience and we understand well the high stakes, high stress, high rate of injury life style of the professional performer. The physical body of a performer is the artist's paintbrush, the actual instrument of expression. Whether you are a dancer, actor, singer or violinist, the body and creative spirit are an integrated system. The more tuned the instrument, efficient and free, the larger the stage for artistic expression.
Resources for Performers at the Lydian Center
Practitioners at the Lydian Center can help performers with many issues including chronic pain, efficient biomechanics, breath support, performance anxiety and stage fright, memory, and artistic expression and improvisation.
Craniosacral Therapy and Brain Gym®
I have been a singer since high school. My initial introduction to a chiropractor came in my mid-20s after a car accident. I had always had poor breath control but it had become so bad after the auto accident I was barely able to make it through a phrase. Much to my great surprise, after a series of chiropractic visits my support and breath management became better than they had ever been - in fact, better than those of most of my colleagues.
Axial Stability Method is a low-force approach designed to strengthen the body's own innate stability, efficiency and intelligence. The demands placed on the body of a performing artist are similar to those faced by an athlete with the huge exception that it is the artistic output and not just the physical out put that is measured. A marathoner wins the race if they gracefully (or ungracefully!) cross the finish line first. An artist must make that leap, sing the high C, or move an audience to tears by transforming the physical act into an artistic experience. To do this, to turn the body into an instrument of artistic expression, the body must be efficient, finely tuned, and pain free. The more effortless the mechanics become, the more available the body is for creative transcendence.
In our approach we search for underlying instabilities and injuries in addition to the current complaint. We have found that by bringing structural stability to the core of the body – pelvis, spine, cranium – the body spontaneously releases old patterns of injury, stress, poor muscle habits, and inefficient motor patterns. Once the core of the body is stable, we then address less central, but no less important issues, such as effortlessly moving into fourth position on the cello! We can improve biomechanical functioning in every possible position - sitting, standing and balancing on one leg! —Dr. Lydia Knutson, M.M., D.C.
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Hypnotherapy can be especially beneficial for performers. It can help to overcome anxiety, panic and stage fright. By speaking directly to the subconscious or deeper self, Sharon can use hypnotic suggestion to amplify the performer's natural inner strengths and build confidence. A skilled hypnotherapist does not seek to control others but rather acts as a guide for the therapeutic experience. Somewhere in the interpersonal connection of the client and clinician, therapeutic influence takes place, and the performers subjective experience can be altered.
Positive Psychology and Hypnosis teach that when you focus on something, you amplify it in your awareness. Therapy can help to focus on the positive. Old, negative statements such as “I am afraid to sing in public" can be genuinely replaced with positive thoughts, "Singing makes me feel alive and I want to share it with others".
Dr. Sharon Sass helps the performer move comfortably through situations that used to cause panic and anxiety.
In addition, Dr. Sharon Sass is a professional painter, and published researcher in the area of creativity.
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Simple performance anxiety can often be treated with Gelsemium, Lycopodium or Argentum nitricum, easily available in health food stores in a 30c potency (dissolve a pellet in the mouth when you start feeling anxious before your performance; but experiment ahead of time in case you might have an unexpected reaction that would affect an important recital).
When performance anxiety is part of a larger context of anxiety, and/or when the body expresses the anxiety with physical symptoms such as digestive problems, then professional homeopathic treatment can be deeply healing for both the emotional and physical components.
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To be an effective performer requires the whole self to be in synch – body, mind, and spirit. Because of this, performance issues are usually multi-faceted. Physical pain is often related to emotional stress, which can cause interpretive blocks, which often relate back to painful or awkward movement – and the cycle continues! Even an acute injury usually carries an emotional charge, and an anxious thought invariably creates physical stress.
Because of this, I use whatever mixture of modalities each individual needs. No two sessions are alike, except that all are conducted within the framework of a Brain Gym balance. This allows each performer to set a personal intention for the session. We move through issues with safety, as incrementally or radically as each person prefers.
Issues I feel particularly equipped to work with are:
- Performance pain, especially related to back, arms, shoulders, and the cranium. (Conditions I have addressed include carpal tunnel, tendonitis, dystonia, tinnitis, hearing loss, and various unnamed patters of pain).
- Performance anxiety and emotional stress.
- Interpretive freedom (we work through "writer's blocks," technical problems related to body mechanics, and fears. We also just have fun).
For more information about conditions and modalities, as well as some cool personal stories, click here.
[more about Braing Gym, craniosacral therapy, sound healing]
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