Everyone has weaknesses. So it goes without saying that most dancers must face their shortcomings as they advance in the world of pole. For some it may be inflexibility or a weak upper body. For others it may be a fear of going upside down a lack in coordination.
For me, it’s my sweaty hands and feet.
I have palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis, which is a fancy way of saying that I sweat excessively from my hands and my feet. I’ve had this condition since I was young and it has always caused me problems. Every time I had a piano concert (I studied piano for 12 years) my hands would get so sweaty that my fingers would slip off the keys causing me to make mistakes here and there. When I cheered in high school I was embarrassed to do certain stunts (where I had to hold on to another person’s ankle, wrist, etc.) because my hands would be so clammy. When I cheered in college I had to do back handsprings on the basketball court and my sweaty hands made it dangerous and difficult for me to do. The list goes on and on.
Luckily, my hyperhidrosis is mild and it doesn’t affect me anywhere else on my body. However, it does affect my ability to pole in some ways. I don’t have a problem doing tricks and moves on their own since I use Dry Hands (liquid chalk) and I wipe down the pole when necessary. What I do have trouble with is executing consecutive moves on the pole. After I do 2 or 3 moves on the pole, I find that it gets so slippery that I cant hang on with my hands or any other part of my body. So that means that I can’t freestyle or do a routine for longer than 30 seconds. This really makes me upset. As much as I love learning new tricks, what I really want to do is put it all together and express myself through music and dance passionately.
But, I’m not giving up!
When I first went to the dermatologist for this issue in college, I was given prescription antiperspirant to put on my hands. I tried it again recently and it hasn’t really given me the results that I wanted. So, I’ve moved on to option 2: iontophoresis. This is a machine that conducts a mild electrical current through the surface of the skin. Most scientists don’t know exactly how it works, but it’s supposed to microscopically thicken the outer layer of the skin, subsequently blocking sweat from making its way to the skin’s surface. Machines can run anywhere from the hundreds into the thousands, but since I’m new to this type of treatment I went for the cheapest machine called Drionic.
Drionic comes with 2 separate devices – one for each hand/foot. The machine, which is powered by customized batteries, comes with felt pads that are first soaked in water prior to treatment and then placed on the metal plates. Next, one side of each machine is filled with a little bit of water. Half of the hands/feet are placed in the water while the other half must touch the other felt pad in order for the current to flow. The intensity of the electric current can be adjusted with the dial on the side. The instructions suggest an hour session total for the hands and feet everyday until the sweating stops. After the sweating stops, treatments can be reduced to once a week to maintain the dryness.
The one major drawback of the Drionic is the poor design. Other high quality machines don’t have a divider at all, so you are able to submerge your entire hand/foot into the water, which makes the treatment more effective. In terms of of the actual treatment itself, it’s not really painful but it is very uncomfortable. It also makes my hands and feet super itchy during the treatment, making it hard to do for the entire 30 minutes per body part. So far, I’ve done 3 treatments and I haven’t seen a reduction in sweating yet. But, according to the instructions the reduction in sweat is not gradual, but immediate once you do enough treatments. So I will be crossing my fingers that this works for me!
I also want to quickly recap this past week’s practices.
I’ve been working on my elbow grip ayesha every session and it is getting stronger and more stable! I will probably write a separate post on my EG ayesha progress, but for now I am working on holding my straightedge and iron X in the EG ayesha position. Other things I worked on: scorpio handstand dismount, perfecting my twisted grip handspring, bendy pencil. I also tried the russian layback for the first time! What a gorgeous move.
And the move that I worked on the most: The Titanic! Man, this move is a toughie. I was FINALLY able to do it twice on Sunday, but I wasn’t able to do it yesterday. I think the trick to this move is rotating BOTH knees towards the pole which provides a better grip. Also, the pole needs to be super sticky and warm – this move will not work on a cold pole.
Check out my first successful attempt at the Titanic!