The Healing Power of Nia
One of my students came up to me after class a few weeks ago and shared with me how practicing Nia for the last year has healed her foot pain. I asked her to tell me more. Penny explained that she had suffered on and off for years from plantar fasciitis, one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes (plantar fascia). She said it had gotten pretty bad in the summer of 2017.
Penny started attending my Nia class when it launched in January 2018. At her first class, when she found out we danced barefoot, she mentioned her concerns about foot pain to another experienced Nia student. The experienced student told her that Nia might actually help heal ease the pain she experienced in her feet. Penny was skeptical but willing to try.
Fast forward a year and Penny reports that she has not had a flare-up of plantar fasciitis since she started Nia. Dancing barefoot does not bother her feet. She is so grateful to be pain-free.
Penny is not alone in experiencing the healing power of Nia. In the fall of 2016, I was experiencing pain and discomfort in my left hip. I would move a certain way and feel a pinch that would send out a shooting pain. I stopped walking and taking Nia classes in order to rest my hip, but it did not help. I sought help at my primary care doctor who referred me to an orthopedist. He wanted to rule out a labral tear, so I was sent for an MRI of the hip. Fortunately, it was not a labral tear, so he suggested physical therapy, thinking it was something more along the lines of piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder that is caused when the piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve. It is often caused by repetitive, vigorous activity or prolonged sitting. I suspected mine was due to a combination of overuse (I had used the same walk at home DVDs for years) as well as too much sitting due to the sedentary nature of my job.
I had already registered and paid for Nia White Belt training when all of this transpired. Physical therapy exercises were helping but I did not feel 100% yet. I asked the PT if she thought it would be OK for me to proceed with the training. She was cautious but I was determined to attend as I had waited years to take this next step in my Nia practice. I had heard Nia teachers talk about the healing nature of Nia, so I decided to take a chance.
For anyone who has taken a Nia Belt training, you know how much movement is involved. I listened to my body and modified my intensity level as needed, and I found with each day that my hip felt better and better. Although I had been taking Nia classes for a few years before White Belt training, I had always considered it “exercise.” I didn’t quite understand the mind-body-spirit-emotions connection that really makes it a holistic fitness program until I took Nia White Belt Training and experienced the true healing power of Nia.
It is almost two years since I attended White Belt and I am happy to report that my hip issues are minimal. If I do experience any discomfort, it is usually due to not stretching enough or if I don’t pay attention to proper body mechanics and try to move my body in a way it does not want to move! Nia has made me much more aware of how I move my body – and teaching Nia has helped me move my body more and sit less, which has improved my overall physical health.
Come experience the healing nature of Nia today!
Janice Horner, Nia White Belt Teacher