Health issues in dancing

First the DISCLAIMER: don't take the following for gospel. If you have medical questions, go talk to a physician. None of the people quoted here is a physician.

> Athletic creams

> Blisters

> Colds

> Injuries

> Losing weight

> Morton's Neuroma

> Joints, in particular knees and ankles

v Perspiration

First of all, sweat is to some extent inevitable, but you really must start by coming to a dance clean. Shower, and brush your teeth while you're at it.

Secondly, you can influence how much your perspiration becomes noticable. Silk shirts are especially unpleasant to the touch when they are soaked. Some people wear two shirts (eg, the lower a V-neck T-shirt) so that the perspiration will limit itself to the one shirt your partner will not be in contact with. Sometimes bringing an extra shirt, and changing into it at some time during the evening, is a good idea too. (VE)

Thirdly, use a deodorant and antiperspirant. It's easy to do, it works, and it is quite harmless. Since some people might be worried about that last point, here is a short excerpt from "The Secret House" by David Bodanis, 1986, Simon & Schuster, NY; ISBN No.0-671-60032-X:

"Antiperspirants do not work by jamming little particles into the openings of sweat holes in the armpits. That might work if sweat shot out miniature geysers, but on the micro-level of the skin, geysers, hoses and all the other usual ways we think of water emerging from a pore do not exist. There's no way the incipient sweat water could build up a high enough pressure in its subsurface tubes to flow... Rather, sweat emerges because it's tugged out. It has a negative electric charge... and as the surface of the sweat pores has a positive charge when excited the result is that the sweat ooze is pulled out. It's like yanking a sausage from a tight tunnel. Enter the aluminium. Aluminum flecks are negatively charged. That means the extra furry cloud of electrons they carry around with them counterbalances the normal positive charge on the skin surface. There's no pull... on the sausage any more. The Al is even likely to have some left over to poke down the sweat pore tunnel and electrically repel the negatively charged water waiting deeper inside. The sweat caught inside dissolves back into the body crumbling through cracks in the sweat tubes like water from a leaky hose."

Note that the aluminum salts (unlike common alum, which is an astringent) do not close off pores, and nothing messes with your body chemistry either. [Wogdoc]

More on the topic of smell. Body odor, dirty clothes, overwhelming perfume, bad breath are all the wonderful smells we may encounter on the dance floor. You may not notice how you smell to another person, therefore, it is polite to stop and think about it before you leave home for an evening of dancing.

So, how do we smell odors? Odors, or chemical molecules, interact with receptors on nerve cells located in the olfactory epithelium in your nose. These receptors then cause a nerve to be activated - thus sending a message to your brain. When you are constantly exposed to the odor, this pathway desensitizes and you are no longer aware of the smell. For example, the water may seem scalding hot when you first step into the shower, but by the end of your shower, it doesn't seem so hot. That's due to desensitization. For the biologically-oriented in the group - an odor is perceived when the molecule binds to a G-protein coupled receptor, thus activating adanylate cyclase and causing an increase in cAMP. The cAMP causes the activation of Na+ channels, thus depolarizing the neuron - causing it to fire - sending the message on a pathway to the brain.

From person to person, there may be as much as a 1000 fold difference in their ability to perceive a particular odor and still be considered "normal." So, just becuase you don't smell the intense garlic on your breath, your dance partner might. This is either because they are more sensitive to the smell, or because they have not become desensitized like you have. Also, some people lack the ability to smell a particular odor all together. This is not uncommon. Additionally, as we age our sense of smell diminishes. Therefore, not everyone smells the same things you do.

In conclusion, stop to think about how you smell on the dance floor. Take that shower, wear deodrant and fresh clothes. Brush those teeth and don't take a perfume bath. Be polite to your dance buddies! [Kathie Sindt]

I once competed Intl Std with a young lady that had a beautiful
sleeveless ballgown and afterwards had a real nice patch of Arid Extra
dry on the sleeve of my tails. Main problem being that this was Friday
night and I was scheduled to compete again on Saterday as well.
Therefore: nosleeves = no deoderant

An alternative is a product called Lavilin. It is a "long-life" deodorant. You apply it to clean skin before you go to sleep and wash it off in the morning. It lasts anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks, depending on your body chemistry. This stuff worked on a blacksmith of my acquaintance, a gentleman who didn't have running water in his home and spent most of his time slaving over a hot forge....

It is moderately expensive, but it lasts a long time. You can order it from 800.LAVILIN. They also make a product for feet, which I can't vouch for, not having used it. No, I don't work for them nor do I own stock in their company. I'm just happy to recommend a product that may make dance more pleasant for everyone! ;-) [Valerie Stark]

A few more thoughts:

Yet more info about perspiration:

> Web resources

Contents of the r.a.d. FAQ

This file is part of the FAQ list for the newsgroup The FAQ list is being maintained by Victor Eijkhout (victor at eijkhout dot net, talk about vanity), who appreciates being sent additions or corrections on the material in this collection. Copyright 1994-2001 lies with the maintainer and the contributors of various parts.

Listen up: Victor did not write most of this stuff; he just collected it. So don't send him any dance questions.

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Last modified on: 2001, Friday January 5.