The restrictions are slowly lifted, most of the studios start operating again. I think the quarantine made many of us aware that we need more sleep and rest to work effectively. In today's post you can read about regeneration and athletic recovery. I have already written a bit about regeneration on my Instagram profile. Recently I have been publishing a series of posts on IG, where you can learn more about aerial hoop training. It is the perfect complement to the knowledge I am serving you here. The main difference between regeneration and athletic recovery is that everything that's part of athletic recovery will be considered regeneration… but not everything that's part of regeneration will be athletic recovery. It's hard to say that by having a McDonald's cheeseburger we are recovering, but in many cases it will be treated as part of the regeneration of our day. Don't get me wrong - I am NOT urging anyone to eat fast food. You can read about the regeneration itself on Instagram.

The main difference between regeneration and athletic recovery is that everything that's part of athletic recovery will be considered regeneration… but not everything that's part of regeneration will be athletic recovery. It's hard to say that by having a McDonald's cheeseburger we are recovering, but in many cases it will be treated as part of the regeneration of our day. Don't get me wrong - I am NOT urging anyone to eat fast food. You can read about the regeneration itself on Instagram.

What is athletic recovery? It is often associated with wellness and SPA. These will be all activities undertaken consciously in order to rest and bio-regenerate the body, i.e. to increase and support physiological rest processes.

What is the difference between massage and physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy supports regeneration, but is not part of it itself. A visit to a physiotherapist is very often compared - in terms of effort - to heavier strength training. In short: our body constantly introduces changes to its structures - due to our biomechanical load record - mainly various types of short circuits and attachments. While tension may sound unpleasant or downright unhealthy, there is nothing wrong with the phenomenon itself. Our bodies adapt to the activities we perform: physical activities and movements. In order to facilitate its task, the body creates shortcuts specific to the activity. This is absolutely normal, but not physiological. Seeing a physiotherapist usually aims to restore the natural physiology of the muscles. After an hour-long visit, the muscles do not know what is happening to them.

Example: You assumed that throughout the entire quarantine you would stretch your scorpion every day. Your back has been working hard for the last two months. They took on a greater load, worked in rare (extreme) and non-physiological ranges. There was soreness, sometimes you overdid it. The lower back tensed under the influence of strong compression, and the left side of the back "shortened" downwards, due to the fact that it is better stretched and that's what you focused on. The right side began to ache and allowed the left side to compress more tightly. Tensions arose - asymmetrical in addition, which, despite the fact that they are not the healthiest, appeared in order to adapt to new training units and allowed you to survive such effort. Now the task of the physiotherapist is to bring about a similar state of relaxation of the left and right sides of the back - so that it is as physiological as possible. It is often an unpleasant process that changes our fascial structure and burns out the nervous system. Therefore, after physiotherapy, you should have a day off to help regenerate your muscles. Compare massage to this state. Warm stones, incense sticks, lotion or olive ... Note that a relaxing / classic massage does not work like a physiotherapeutic massage. Its main purpose is relaxation, general relaxation, tactile-sensory and sensual pleasure. During a chocolate massage nobody will stick a pin in you, trying to loosen your rotator cuff or looking for your prifimoris with an elbow. Fortunately 😉

Skin protection

In my opinion skin protection is crucial to aerial. It's not something that is often discussed in training. Below you will not find encyclopaedic knowledge - this is a collection of tips that work for me. Younger beginners often come up to me after their first training with red hands and their skin torn. I always say: "after training, please go to your mother, ask for a hand cream and a hand massage"

My ways to take care of my body:

1. Dry skin brushing and moisturising

Dry skin brushing is fantastic! If you haven't tried, I recommend it with all my heart. It involves brushing with a special body brush - I recommend the ones from the Body Shop. I also heard that the Nested Brushes brand is worth checking out. There are many ways to brush. You can do it in the morning, in the evening and in the middle of the day. I usually do it after bathing and before performances - in order to reduce the stress and blood supply to the skin. Brushing has a relaxing effect after the entire training day and before performances. Massage with a brush removes the tension from the body and relieves the nervous system

Benefits of brushing:

  • peels off dead skin cells (helps with chapped and cracked skin)
  • reduces goose bumps (waiting for a performance in fishnets behind the scenes? No problem, the legs will have a nice, even color anyway),
  • stimulates the nervous system,
  • improves blood circulation in the skin,
  • improves skin color,
  • works like a more pleasant version of dry needling therapy,
  • slows down hair growth.

2. Bruises and hematomas

These are permanent companions of people who do acrobatics. There are also abrasions and swelling. To be honest, the worst swelling was when I started doing elbow spins. I must have had 48 cm in my biceps. It is nothing pleasant - permanent bruises, abrasions and swelling. Never make new bruises or abrasions on the unhealed ones. I do not mean a gentle rub or a micro bruise - but one over 4 centimeters or skin scraped to the blood. In this way, you deepen your pain threshold, and additionally you psychologically give yourself a kind of stopwatch for doing certain elements. Your skin needs rest and healing. Sometimes it's better to let go a little. Each of us has a different pain threshold, and tendency to bruise. It's a good idea to take longer breaks if you start to feel pain, a bruise spills or a hematoma pops up. You can go back to the element in four days, then again in four days, next time maybe after two days. Finally you will be able to do it again every day. But don't do anything by force. 

Before my first performance in the show "Prometheus" - in which I did a solo hoop gig - full of excitement and stress, I was doing the routine perfectly every day, between four and five times. One week before the show. Little to say that it was completely unnecessary. I debuted with a bandage under the knee owing to torn skin. Then I had to take a break from the hoop for the next two weeks, because the wound under the knee wouldn't heal.

What else can you do besides reasonably planned training?

- dry skin brushing (mentioned above),

- using heparin ointment.

Heparin occurs naturally in our body and is used as an ingredient in anticoagulants. It was first isolated as a drug in 1938. Since then, it has been used to prevent blood clotting, and thus the formation of dangerous blood clots. Heparin ointments relieve bruising pain, prevent them from spreading, and gently reduce swelling.

In addition to the heparin ointment, I recommend Swederm HudSalva ointment. I originally bought the ointment for my mother, who is a doctor, and her hands are now in a deplorable state due to disinfection. Then I also ordered it for myself. The ointment is fantastic - it is intended for hands, arms, elbows, feet or lips. It has a pleasant smell and illuminates nicely. Most importantly, it lubricates and moisturizes hands incredibly. Corns are almost invisible, calloused epidermis becomes soft quickly, the ointment cools and soothes our skin. After hanging on our neck, it is taken care of and not reddened. I recommend it with all my heart.


3. Corns

They have two stages of formation. The goal itself is to adapt to continuous work on the grip by hardening the skin and calluses of the epidermis. Corns are a thickened layer of the epidermis, formed as a result of strong and long-lasting physical pressure on a given area. Skin irritated for a long time reacts by creating a harder layer of tissue, which in turn grows horny. Unlike healthy tissue, calloused skin does not exfoliate on its own. At the beginning of your aerial adventure, your corns will probably resemble those that are formed with tight shoes and will be filled with fluid. Such prints must NOT be pierced. They have to heal themselves: they will break or the fluid will dissipate, and a skin with air underneath will appear where the print is. You can treat such an imprint with a great deal of delicacy with a peeling or nail clippers. A pink skin will be visible under the aerated epidermis. There comes a point in the life of an aerialist when there will be a lot of those and the skin will start to peel off. Then I recommend Akutol - you can buy it at the pharmacy over the counter. Akutol is a spray for dressing wounds - it is very attractive because it creates a kind of second skin on the hands. The corns are stamped and secured, the skin will not peel off, you can continue exercising safely.

With some training experience, you will have callous skin on your hands. Here, mostly women - if you want to have nice hands, you will have to take care of them. This callous epidermis will build up in places and the fact that it is dead will peel off from time to time - you can easily treat it with a peeling, brush and nail clippers.

4. Baths

A Cold shower or a warm bath? Both methods have their supporters and both work. Cold showers are recommended to be taken immediately after training, when we are still warm. The cold water will constrict the blood vessels, preventing the production of lactic acid, which is responsible for the soreness. It will also aid muscle regeneration, reduce the heart rate and may provide better circulation. As a result, it will have a positive effect on the amount of inflammation, pain and recovery. Even if you do not like cold water, it is worth using cold showers.

What about warm ones?

Warm baths relax and warm you up. They also facilitate inflammation treatment. They relieve pain and reduce muscle tension, and lower blood pressure. Water oscillating between 35 and 38 degrees will have a relaxing and refreshing effect. My advice: immediately after training, take a cold shower and a warm bath in the evening.


5. Sleep

I think we all agree that sleep is one of the most important forms of regeneration. During sleep, we reset our entire body, especially our brain which is relieved from the damage that has arisen during everyday functioning. From a medical point of view, sleep is simply turning off the activity of the central nervous system and restoring it on a physical level.

less sleep = less energy

Professional athletes, depending on the number of training units, should sleep between eight and ten hours a day. As you know, you can't get enough sleep and store it for later. Power naps may be helpful. Naps should not be taken immediately before a competition or training, because we may be too sleepy. It is best if a nap takes place before 4 p.m. and lasts 15 to 30 minutes. This nap time makes us the most active. I recommend taking naps during the working day, after training, and before your classes.

And now take some rest!

Emilia Dawiec