The Body of the Harpist: Physical Therapy and the Arts

Performing artists often become accustomed to the tension they place on their bodies while practicing or developing a technique over long periods of time. This tension can lead to repetitive strain injury, which in turn limits the artist’s ability to perform. With a background that includes both music and dance, Lynn Batalden, DPT, has a special interest in helping performing artists achieve their fullest mode of expression without the tension or pain that can come from hours of practice and stress.

Lynn will be presenting a talk on April 29 to the Greater Chicago Chapter of the American Harp Society about how to keep the body healthy and injury-free as a harpist.  She will talk about common problems of the upper body including the neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand.  The importance of the hip, low back and core muscles will also be discussed.  Simple exercises will be demonstrated, and participants are encouraged to ask questions.

Physical therapy is naturally associated with athletics, but performers and craftspeople also place demands on their bodies in the service of their art. In music, certain instruments present a certain set of physical challenges. In the visual arts (for example), painters and illustrators often complain of stiff shoulders, sore elbows, tense upper backs. A physical therapist can evaluate the artist’s process and recommend options for a more relaxed, pain-free way to create. Lynn takes pride in the “a ha!” moment when even a seasoned, formidable artist realizes the huge difference just a slight change in posture and awareness can create.

In other words, Creative Therapeutics is a natural fit for creatives!

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