Bruises are quite common, especially in the beginning, when you start chair dancing. The skin on certain parts of the body (eg. on the inside of the thigh and the upper part of the foot) is softer, more sensitive, and unaccustomed to pressure, so bruises are most common in these areas at first. Bruises are a mild form of internal bleeding: bruises are patches that appear on the skin when tiny blood vessels called capillaries break or burst underneath. The blood from the capillaries leaks into the soft tissue under your skin, causing discoloration. The bruise then remains visible until the blood is either absorbed by tissues or cleared by immune system action.

You can help your body heal bruises faster with the simple techniques I describe below:

1. Cold compress

Ice is one of the best and simplest home remedies for relieving bruises. Keeping ice on the bruise will help heal the blood vessels around the bruise. If there is no ice, find something in your freezer, like frozen vegetables or fruits. Place it on the affected area for 10 minutes, then take a 10 minute break and repeat this a few more times.

2. Lift the damaged area
The idea is that the affected area is higher than the heart – so blood flow and thus pressure on the affected area is reduced and healing is accelerated.

3. Pressure
Pressing on the bruise prevents blood from spilling out of the damaged capillaries. This way the bruise heals faster and at the same time you reduce the swelling by pressing. It hurts, but it really helps!

4. Heat
It may sound contradictory to a cold compress, but the heat (hot bath, hot-water bottle…) speeds up blood flow, reducing the amount of blood clotting in the affected area while relieving sore muscles.

5. Lemon / pineapple / vinegar

Lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C, which is needed for healing. Place a piece of lemon on the bruise and let it work for a few minutes.

Pineapple contains a fruit enzyme that helps dissolve blood clots. Place a piece of pineapple on the bruise, wrap it with a bandage and let it work for a little longer (30-45 minutes).

Vinegar helps prevent blood from accumulating in the affected area. Make a compress of water and wine vinegar and place it on the bruise. It may stink, but don’t let that distract you from its usefulness.

Good dance technique, muscle strengthening, and stretching, everything we also work on in our dance courses, will reduce the chances of not only bruises but also injuries. Progress is key to safe dancing: the more you dance, the more prepared your body will be, thus preventing unnecessary bruises.

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