Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

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 1

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 2 devices

The 2 machines

This is how you place the hand

This is how you place the hand

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.

Russian Layback

Russian Layback

Bendy Pencil

Bendy Pencil

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!

9 thoughts on “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

    • I am definitely starting to see results! Today was the first time I was ever able to freestyle to part of a song without wiping down my pole after each move…it felt wonderful! I recommend going to a dermatologist if you keep on experiencing extreme sweating even with tite grip, dry hands, etc. Don’t give up! 🙂

      • I have a similar experience.. Putting dry hands or mighty grip on my hands, I may as well just go and moisturise them.. Its the same thing lol. I will definitely look into finding a dermitologist. I’ve tried driclor, cutting foods out, tite grip, dry hands, mighty grip, dirty girl poletice, tac(worst ever), vinegar. It’s so disheartening when you have the strength but your hands slip and people think you have no grip strength because you have to wear gloves. On the plus side my forearms are prettty strong because they always work so hard 🙂 keep us updated on your progress 🙂

      • Hello Emi,

        Thank you for writing this article. I came across it searching for treatments for palmar hyperhidrosis. I’m wondering, it has been several years since you wrote this; how long did it take before your palms completely stopped sweating? Did you build any immunity to iontophoresis? And did you stick with drionic?

  1. Pingback: Facing My Fears and Taking the Plunge | Unlimited Poletential

  2. Pingback: Pole Pressure Pep Rally 2014 – My Very First Pole Performance! | Unlimited Poletential

  3. Your story inspired me, I was recently asked to go to a free trail dancing class but I didn’t go bc I was discouraged from having both tyes of hyperhidrosis. When did u see a difference after using the drionic? I’m really glad I seen your page, I know the struggle and I try not to let it to me and my potential, but it is a constant battle for us. Thank you and now I might just take that class!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s