Inflammation. It is something that affects us all, no matter our age, body type or level of athletic accomplishment. How much do you know about this health-related buzzword?  We’re breaking down the need-to-know on inflammation in our latest blog.

What is Inflammation?
An easy way to summarize inflammation is to think of it as your body’s response to what it perceives as an attack on your system. The International Association for Dance Medicine & Science defines inflammation as the immune system’s response to injury, infection or stress. To fight back, the body’s white blood cells activate to bring blood flow to the affected areas.

Some of us are genetically predisposed to more inflammation. Through our DanceRX DNA test, we work to identify those genetic markers so that you can optimize your lifestyle in response. For example, we test your IL6 gene, which directly impacts the amount of inflammation in your body and the amount of time it could take to recover from an injury.  

Some signs you may have increased or chronic inflammation include joint and muscle pain, which so many of our dancers experience. You may also feel fatigued more easily, have trouble sleeping and possibly even experience depression. Inflammation also impacts one’s weight, gastrointestinal system and ability to fight infection.  

How to Decrease Inflammation
While we can’t change our genetics, educating ourselves on our unique makeup allows us to take our healing into our own hands. To decrease the amount of inflammation in your body, a great place to start is to take a look at your daily eating habits. Healthy eating habits can be our best cure to inflammation. The International Association for Dance Medicine & Science notes that every time we eat, we change the chemical composition in our body. To change that composition for the better, we suggest eating lots of leafy greens, incorporating beans, nuts and fish into your daily routine and to limit the amount of dairy, red meat and caffeine. And of course, stay hydrated! Water, water and more water. You can throw in some coconut water if you’d like. 

If you tend to have higher amounts of inflammation, or suffer chronically, we highly suggest eliminating sugar intake. This will be challenging, but not impossible. Your reward will be less body pain, better sleep patterns and an overall positive impact to your mood. 

As a dance teacher and studio owner, I am constantly discussing the importance of the warm-up and cool down. Taking the time to stretch properly and care for your muscles is key to limiting inflammation. I encourage our dancers to take a moment for mindfulness during these routines. Mindfulness is a way to decrease stress and lifelong practice that will serve your students. 

It’s also suggested that one exercise more. This guidance is for the average person who may not train as often as a dancer. The standard training schedule for a dancer is more than enough in this specific category, but we didn’t want to skip over this piece of guidance. It’s just as important to rest and get more sleep to help stave off inflammation.

Take Proper Care of Injuries
Allowing the body to heal during and after an injury is an immensely important part of healing. Pushing through pain can cause a worse injury in the long term. Be sure your students or children are implementing the RICE method: rest, ice compression and elevation. 

As part of the discovery process with our DanceRX genetic test, we examine a variety of genes, such as t COL5A1 and the COL1A1. We then deliver personalized results that speak to your injury risk, bone health and recovery need, among other findings. Empower yourself with an education about your genetics. It may change the way you train, eat, sleep and dance. 

If you have any questions about the DanceRX process, feel free to email our team at

Wishing you all good health, 

Sarah Haslock-Johnson