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Ballet Talk for Dancers

DVD/Videos: Front Splits Fast


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Dream2Dance
I was just able to merge your topic with the existing one. Go back through and read each post carefully. :grinning:

 

Thankyou Clara 76 :shrug: I didnt see this was already on here.

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A physio I went to recently had been to workshops with Lisa Howell, so I asked him what he thought of her. Answer: interesting, unusual, lots of good ideas, rather far out. But I'm surprised that anyone respectable would use the title she did for that video, which makes her appear like the most shonky of operatives. Surely someone with a respectable track record does not have to do this.

 

But I too was astounded by the rapid "improvement" shown in the video, especially since for most people increases in flexibility are measured in fractions of an inch per session/week/month. So I was interested that Ceecee and Merry had found similar results.

 

Now I find it difficult to believe that the body can truly stretch to that extent with such a simple manipulation in such a short time. Stretching involves growth of new or different tissue, and is part of a long process of adaptation that the body goes through.

 

All I can think is that these girls' body tissues in fact already had that degree of flexibility, but they were not able to show it because they were not able to relax their muscles properly when under tension. The massage helped them to relax, and then they could show their flexibility. In other words, I would not expect the technique to work on someone who already was able to relax fully while the muscles were under tension (which in any case is one of the prerequisites for successful stretching).

 

I wonder whether Ceecee and Merry could tell me whether that could have been the case with their daughters, by their own impressions or feedback.

 

Thanks,

Jim.

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  • 4 weeks later...
actionwoman

I have this program and did not have the miraculous result from the neck massage. She does say that it does not work for everyone, and she shows how to do it yourself.

 

She mentions that she became interested in this technique after watching a client of hers with very tight hamstrings undergo surgery. Apparently, before the surgery, the surgeon said "watch this" and when the client was anesthesized, he pulled one of the client's leg up to his ear. While conscious, the client couldn't even pull his leg up to 90 degrees. So she figured out a way to relax the nerves via massage.

 

I'm going to do this three times a week and then remeasure my initial flexibility (which she has you do and take photos/measurements to compare with later). I'll keep you updated. It's only been a week so far.

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jimpickles

Yes, I've heard that story from a few sources. Of course, we do not know if everyone could do that if anaesthetised, or if this person was special (and the surgeon knew it).

 

I heard many years ago from a theatre nurse that you had to be very careful handling patients under anaesthesia, because they became very lax, and thier joints could dislocate (in favour of the observation).

 

I more recently asked a theatre nurse the same thing and she said she'd "never heard of it" (against).

 

Remember, that when people are surgically anaesthetised they are also usually paralyzed (breathing with the help of artificial respiration) - this could also be a factor.

 

But I'd be glad it any medically qualified people see this and could say if its true or not, because it sounds a bit surprising to me, so I'd like to know if its true.

 

I guess our Med Mods dont normally look at this topic though.

 

Jim.

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Ballet Bunnie

In Eric Franklin's Dance Conditioning book, he also talked about the neck message in one of the earlier sections as way to release tension. But since I don't have a copy of Lisa Howell's DVD, I really can't compare the differences/similarities between the two. Maybe someone who own them both can chip in here?

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I remember taking yoga while pregnant and being amazed that I was more flexible than usual, even with that bowling ball of a child. The yoga teacher talked about a hormone called relaxin which is more abundant during pregnancy that actually relaxes the connective tissues or something and allows you to be more flexible, but we were told to be careful because you were actually more easily injured because you could move your muscles beyond their limits (or something). Anyway, it seems like it is possible to have other reasons for increased flexibility besides just the long process of growth of new tissue.

 

Here is an link to an older book about flexibility.

science of flexibility

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Miss Persistent

I have this DVD set (along with others of Lisa Howell's), and tested the program out myself before using it with my students. I have also visited Lisa Howell's physio practice in Australia and can speak to her knowledge of ballet along with Physiotherapy.

 

I can say from my experience and my students experience that it is a good program that works. It encompasses much more than "splits", it is actually an all over flexibility program. It encompasses spinal flexibility, turnout and rotation restrictions, and extensions - with the obvious progression from extensions to splits.

 

I agree with everyone that has issues with the title - it is a "marketing" ploy, but the program istself valid.

 

I used it with my students once a week for 2 terms (20 weeks), and tracked each week the progression in their flexibility on a chart. In the students who grasped the concepts and took the program seriously, there was a marked improvement. In students who did not get the concepts or who were just plain lazy, there was little or no improvement. Over the 20 week period I saw up to 75% improvement in a forward flexion test. Obviously this is not the only indication of flexibility, but it is one.

 

Personally, I think it is a program that if it is understood an applied correctly will be of use to many people, but it is certainly not a magic fix, a fast track or a short cut. It is simply another good and valid way of improving flexibility.

 

To quote jimpickles from above "All I can think is that these girls' body tissues in fact already had that degree of flexibility, but they were not able to show it because they were not able to relax their muscles properly when under tension. The massage helped them to relax, and then they could show their flexibility. In other words, I would not expect the technique to work on someone who already was able to relax fully while the muscles were under tension (which in any case is one of the prerequisites for successful stretching)."

 

This is exactly the purpose of the program. Lisa actually uses the phrase "unlocking your flexibility" alot, and that's what a large part of the program is. Unlocking what your body cak already do, along with stretching to increase it at the same time

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jimpickles

In relation to relaxin - "Anyway, it seems like it is possible to have other reasons for increased flexibility besides just the long process of growth of new tissue."

 

I can't help contributing a bit more.

 

Yes, relaxin is produced in pregrancy and it remodels collagen in the body, which helps the ligaments and connective tissue to become more flexible, assisting in childbirth.

 

But in fact, there are a large number of different chemicals in the family of relaxins, which are produced all the time in the body, and there are relaxin receptors (which are needed for relaxin to have its effect) all over the body - surprisingly, a large number in brain for instance.

 

Relaxins break down collagen which then regrows - this happens all the time and all over the body. If you dont have relaxin receptors (a genetic aberration), the tissues become stiffer and stiffer and filled up with collagen fibres, (fibrosis) leading to early death.

 

Stretching involves a number of different things, including breaking down old connective tissue (collagen) and replacing it with new connective tissue, which is "longer" and allows the body to move into its new position. If you are stretching muscles (which you hope you are, not tendons or ligaments) the collagen sheath around the muscle has to grow longer, and the muscle itself has to grow longer. The body is in a continual process of breaking down and regrowth. I cant remember the numbers, but apart from bone, the body you have this year is quite different from the body you had last year - it has all been rebuilt along the same lines many times over in the interval.

 

If you stretch, the new rebuilding is of longer tissues. It is also new tissue - so in older people, where the collagen gets old and less elastic, stretching forces the old inelastic collagen to be broken down and replaced with new, stretchy, youthful, collagen, which helps keeps the body youthful at the molecular and cellular level.

 

So keep stretching into old age - it will keep you youthful.

 

Anyway, about Lisa's program - Re: "Lisa actually uses the phrase "unlocking your flexibility" alot, and that's what a large part of the program is. Unlocking what your body can already do, along with stretching to increase it at the same time" - so it doesn't seem all that different from other effective stretching programmes out there. Certainly no extra "secret".

 

Jim.

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  • 2 months later...

I too have this program, and have been working on it for about 3 weeks now. Although I haven't seen the amazing results some people do, my overall flexibility has increased, i.e. the forward fold, front splits, and the turnout muscles, and I'm hoping that it will continue.

 

For me, what has worked best about the program is the way Ms Howell describes that you should breathe into the muscles while stretching, because your muscles can't relax without your brain telling them to.

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