Stress management and finding alternative treatments: an undergraduate dancer’s perspective.

Undergraduate Contemporary Dance Student Bethan Cooper is in her final year at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and has been doing work experience across both the Health and Dance Science departments. As part of her time with us she has written a blog piece focusing on stress management and the use of alternative treatments. You can read her thoughts below:

Stress management and finding alternative treatments

So what are the common causes and effects of stress on the dancer? With Independent Project season coming to a close and Commissioned Works, Historical Project and Performance Project fast approaching it’s a demanding time for dance students. What can you do to keep your body healthy (and injury free) so that you can get the most out of it?We know the basics:

  • Eating well
  • Staying hydrated
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Effective warm ups and cool downs…

But sometimes bodies can become overwhelmed by sudden changes in practice, so it is important to notice any aches, niggles or complaints before they become bigger problems.

Have you ever noticed an awkward “jump” in your movement whilst executing slow or fluid material? The body is very good at managing itself and finding solutions to problems, and will continue to compensate in many amazing ways until these problems become more substantial. In order to prevent injury, it can be valuable to seek treatments that will contribute to your overall wellness.

It is important to find the right treatment for you, be it physiotherapy, acupuncture or maybe a super intense sports massage! However, occasionally a non-invasive approach will be beneficial.

Why choose Craniosacral Therapy?

Craniosacral treatment is a more holistic approach, where practitioners use light touch, encouraging the body to heal itself. Clients can enjoy a gentle and relaxing hour where the body can take its time to absorb and realise small changes. The treatment aims to work not only with the body, but with the person as a whole, and so has psychological benefits too! This attention to the person as a whole can help address injuries, but also underlying issues behind the injury.

Practitioners work with the fluids and fascia in the body (the connective tissue that holds us together). A particularly important line of fascia for dancers is The Deep Front Line – a long line of tissue connecting the toes to the tongue (and linking muscles such as the psoas and diaphragm along the way).


There are also links between Craniosacral Therapy and many of the somatic approaches used in dance – practices such as Alexander Technique or Feldenkrais, which can all be relevant and supportive to your release-based training!

TL practitioners

Marina Collard uses her years of knowledge and experience of dance to inform her practice, making her the ideal practitioner for us dancers! She believes the treatment encourages clients to find a heightened sense of awareness in themselves and their bodies. This kind of physical enquiry can support dancers in optimising the body they have, keeping it open and available for movement. The treatment can also aid stress management; allowing clients time to slow down, inhabit their bodies and reach a more embodied state.

If you would like to know any more about Craniosacral Therapy treatment or have any other queries please contact the health department via the Trinity Laban website or email .

Bethan Cooper

BA3 Contemporary Dance Student, Trinity Laban


Craniosacral Therapy – I’ve never heard of it

Craniosacral Treatment

Craniosacral therapy is one of the lesser known treatments we offer. It is a treatment many of you have probably never even heard of. So what exactly is Craniosacral Therapy? Is it really a head massage? Or just something to do with the brain?

We thought we would clarify what Craniosacral Therapy is and the benefits.


What exactly is Craniosacral Therapy?

Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle way of working with the body using light touch. It is a non-mechanical, non-manipulative treatment. It is a subtle and profound form of healing which works with the whole person and promotes the body’s natural capacity for self-repair.


Who has Craniosacral therapy?

People may come for treatment because they have acute physical problems like headaches or bad backs, or long-standing emotional or physical problems; others come for ongoing support in their busy lives.


Craniosacral Therapy is suitable for everyone from newborns to the elderly. Mothers and babies often come for problems associated with difficult or traumatic births. It is particularly suitable for people in fragile or acutely painful conditions.


What happens in a treatment?

Your practitioner will take a written case history, listening to the reasons for your visit. This part of the session is important, both for gathering information and to establish a good understanding with your practitioner. During the treatment you will remain clothed and will usually lie face up, on your side or you may be seated. The practitioner will make light contact with your head, the base of your spine and other areas. As your body functions as a whole, your practitioner may focus on areas other than where your symptoms occur. One session will typically last one hour.

If a Craniosacral therapist is treating a baby, the parent of primary carer is present throughout the session and often holds the baby while the practitioner gently works. The treatment is done without removing nappies.


What are the benefits?

 Craniosacral can help and address:

  • Concussion
  • Jaw problems
  • Hypertension
  • Headaches
  • Back problems
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Acute and chronic illness
  • Emotional and psychological disturbances
  • Develop wellbeing, health and vitality


When, for example, the body has had to cope with shock, long-term stress or illness, the natural state that promotes healing can become compromised. It is precisely this natural tendency which this holistic therapy helps restore; not only physically but emotionally and spiritually.


What does it feel like?

People report a wide variety of experiences including; relaxation and sense of ease, warmth and tingling sensations, an increase of energy, a sense of letting go, seeing different colours and patterns and a deepened sense of body awareness. As Craniosacral Therapy works on the whole body, everyone will have a different experience dependent on your body’s own need.


After treatment:

  • Treatment continues after you leave treatment room.
  • There is occasionally a short period of adjustment as part of the healing process where you may become more aware of symptoms
  • As the treatment continues after you leave the treatment room it is advisable to spend some time relaxing
  • For long-standing problems further sessions may be needed