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Pole Burn: Will it Ever Go Away?

"Does the pain ever go away?"

I get this question after every first timer's pole sit, or pole stand. Drops?!? Lets not even talk about drops!!!

The reality is: You are holding your entire body weight up using your skin- and nine out of ten times, you haven't done that before.

I'll never lie to my students. The answer I give: "Over time". Most polers eventually get over the initial shock, and it's no longer "horrible" for them. They may still feel it, but their skin had now been conditioned for it.

As far as bruising, some people bruise a lot, and some don't often (if ever). I have a low tolerance for pain, but don't bruise as much as my pole buddies. Everyone is different!

I could perform a pole sit, hold the position for a long time; rock in the position, drop (slide/spiral down even really fast, then catch myself) repeatedly, and have little to no bruising. Now, when we talk about elbow grips (even in a Basic catipillar), and underarm grips, I have to control my "pain face". Even now, when I'm demonstrating a teddy, I am not holding that position long!

For bruising, I recommend Arinca gel. Below is a picture of the gel I use.

It also works well on sore muscles (like from strenuous workouts), and could be used as a cooling gel if you have irritated skin. It is very inexpensive, I get it from my local pharmacy. Although it is marketed for use prior to bruises forming, and daily use, I only use it after pole classes when I have strained, or burned my skin.

If you'd prefer a cream, Jurlique makes a great one. It retails on their website (and in-stores) for $36. However, gels tend to absorb better, so you won't sacrifice grip.

What is Arnica?

"Arnica (Arnica montana) works to initiate tissue repair at the cellular level. It has been around for centuries with documented use of its healing qualities in texts dating back to the 1500s. It is a natural herb derived from a daisy-like mountain flower that is effective as a homeopathic remedy for bruises and other things like sprains, soreness and swelling, general muscle and joint pain. While it should never be applied to broken skin or an open wound, Arnica is effective when applied, topically, to bruised skin."

For more information on arnica gel you can click here

What you I do:

  • Don't grip the pole so hard! Experiment with your hand grip and see what strength you need for holds vs spins. This will also help avoid those sexy hand calluses .

  • Watch how your body is connecting with the pole. Your placement could be the issue. For instance, if your thighs are gripping the pole during the basic 'fireman' spin, you're doing it wrong and actually causing yourself pain! Some spins will use the backs of you ankle as a contact surface, like the skater or the stag. Work on using your upper arm strength to control how far out your body is from the pole, so that you can gracefully make contact with your ankle rather then crashing into the pole!

I've also heard that Vitamin K helps the blood to coagulate which can help people with thiner blood who may bruise more easily then others. Vitamin C helps to strengthen the blood vessel walls which can help keep them strong against breaking, which causes the bruising color. Zinc helps to repair the body, which can speed healing time of those nasty bruises! There are others, but those are a great start!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional; please be aware of sensitivities/allergies.

As silly as it sounds, you should be proud of your pole bruises. I like to think of them is battle scars, that tell stories of all the work that I put in to learn something beautiful. "Like callouses and blisters, it means you're working hard, and that you're able to see where you perhaps need to modify your technique or toughen your body a bit."- my Pole Teacher

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