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Newsletter Number 8 - March 2002


HAI: hope and inspiration through the arts

HAI (Hospital Audiences, Inc) is an American non-profit organisation that was founded in 1969 by Michael Jon Spencer. Since then, it has reached an audience totalling more than 10 million through more than 300,000 events. The work of HAI is made possible by monetary as well as in-kind support, namely tickets and volunteers. Of the hundreds of theatres that have participated over the years, the Public Theatre has been steadfast in its support.

HAI restores a sense of hope and inspiration through live arts experiences. Some examples of that include:

4. Cultural Events programme with music, theatre and dance
5. The DESCRIBE! Programme where blind or visually impaired people enjoy the theatre via HAI volunteers providing live audio descriptions of the performance
6. The HAI Theatre Festival which presents original productions on issues of concern to those in rehabilitation
7. Arts Workshop programme for people in mental health facilities which are led by professional artists
8. Prevention Education programme where people acquire skills for independent living through role-play workshops developing decision making skills and art which confronts public health issues such as HIV/AIDS, youth violence, housing and more
9. HAI produces an interesting periodic publication with great human content of a diverse range of people
10. The website has resources and major electronic presentations. The address is

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Letter to AMANZ

This letter was received from Cynthia Birrer (MA BA (Ed) NTDip Dipl

Dear Editor

Your inquiry in newsletter No 7 whether there is a psychologist interested in art/medicine suggests that this inquiry is somewhat misplaced! However, I decided to write nevertheless.

I am a psychologist (CV enclosed and availble from the Editor) who in 1970 was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. However, I began making pictures (very slowly) using a sewing machine that enabled me to use my hands to the maxi minim possible. Frank Wilson (author of The Hand) with whom I have been corresponding over the past year in regard to this unexpected recovery agrees that this exercise played a crucial role in the 'miracle' though neither of us can give a cogent explanation at the time. I understand that the role of the hand in reconfiguring the brain is under intensive research, both in some Southern States and MIT.

As a result of my husband's death last year, I have decided to close the picture book gallery here in Point Clare, NSW, where the relevant art work has been on display to the public on a monthly basis. It is therefore necessary to find a home for the pictures, either as individual pieces or sets comprising of 32 single/double spreads, my preference being for the latter in an environment where the intent for making them and the possible consequences of such an effort, can be appreciated. My question here is whether there is such an organisation in New Zealand?

In light of my imminent move, I would be grateful if you would respond as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,
Cynthia Birrer

Editor Note
Cynthia Birrer Contact details:
Phone: 00 61 24324 6106
Fax: 00 61 24324 6106

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Neuro-feedback and Me

Contributed by Marilyn O Young.

I have a head injury, which occurred in the form of a freak accident, most unexpected, which seems to be the nature of accidents, and a bit more so in this case; a solid glass light fitting decided to descend from out of a certain ceiling in a certain powder room in a certain local cinema. (The cinema has been rebuilt, now with grids under the light fittings; due to the bad publicity, which generated from the event, which was announced two days later on the front page of the Evening Post). So for the last 14 ½ years this lady has been battling with almost every head injury symptom possible, severe pain, fatigue, unsteadiness on the feet, stuffed-up jaw, bad concentration, loss of short term memory, speech impairments, and have been told by a cranial osteopath that I am a borderline epileptic and already being a severe diabetic this is not a good combination.

After sessions with acupuncture, herbalist, faith healers, hypnotherapy, battles with ACC trying to convince them my situation was genuine and not how most doctors tried to see the symptoms as 'due to my depression' which is what I was already suffering with before the event, incidentally at the time I was actually happy and was celebrating by going to the movie! This is what doctors seem to have to blame anything beyond their understanding on depression. Really irresponsible and slack! At one stage I was so desperate I asked one doctor to put me back on Acupan- the strongest painkiller around and had been put onto immediately after the accident. What happens? I break out in hives. An ad on T.V. around the time was promoting Panadol, stating "….if pain persists, see your doctor", on seeing a doctor, what happens? Get dished out more Panadol.

After all these delightful experiences, me being a member of the Head Injury Society, I poured out my woes to the new field officer for the Society, and she advised me of this new treatment called Neuro feedback, and made inquires for me, where I could get it etc. I took up this treatment given by Jan Bowers late October 2001, having it twice weekly. One is connected to two monitors with electrodes, one monitor showing my brain waves, the other a computer game to focus on, I do not feel anything. Since having this treatment the contents of my poor old head injury feel lighter, freed up. I still have some problems typical of a head injury, and have been back to the pain clinic at the hospital, and have been given different painkillers, but seldom do I feel the need to take them. And at times, even after the 14-½ years of terrible pain and muzziness, sometimes I feel great! Hardly experiencing pain sometimes at all.

We chat during treatment, Jan being a nurse and counsellor, and at times I discuss future life prospects, she said at one stage, 'a lot of people your age have retired', and I have noticed my singing voice seems to have improved since having the treatment as I wish to keep my singing voice up for a while - a few years at least. I have always had certain problems with my singing voice, so bad that one singing teacher sent me to a throat specialist with the belief that I must have singer's nodes on my larynx, but on examination; none was found, so the conclusion was that the cause was just tension, connected to the depression I was already battling with before the accident.

Note the quote by Henry Moore below, and the testimonies featured below also. I had also been advised to try the Alexander technique for voice production - which I did and may again in the future - it is all grist to mill. Even people without head injuries can benefit well from the treatment, from sports people to arts people and even been known to enhance psychic abilities, and I'm sure members of the AMANZ will also benefit, Contact Jan Bowers at the Audra Centre, 75 Ghuznee St, Wellington (04) 801-6610. Might make a bit of difference in your life and field of performance.

'No artist can retire; Rembrandt was drawing until the day he died.
And Michelangelo was also working until the day he died; I think Picasso was too.
You can't retire. It's like saying to a poet" aren't you retiring?",
as though he stopped being a poet in his head'
Henry Moore

Food for thought? For more information about Neuro feedback see

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Hypermobility Syndrome: Is Being Flexible a Good Thing?

A review of an article by Rodney Graham MD, FRCP, FACP
Professor Clinical Rheumatology
Guy's Hospital

Many people believe that to be really flexible means that your musculo- skeletal system is in top condition.

But like everything a little of a good thing goes a long way! Stretching is important in keeping your muscles in balance. However many people who experience pain and problems with their musculo skeletal system have what is termed a Hypermobilty Syndrome (HMS). They are too stretchy!

This means that the supporting structures for joints (the ligaments) are too loose which means that there is an excessive amount of movement across the joints. These people are often called "double jointed".

Many people with HMS are born with this syndrome. While many others develop it through intensive physical training such as ballet or gymnastics.

The presence of hypermobility can lead to the development of pain and joint problems such as dislocations and premature osteo arthritis. Osteo arthritis leads to pain and joint stiffening usually in the larger joints of the body.

People with HMS often find it hard to stand and sit for prolonged periods because they lack the joint backstop of strong ligaments to support them in prolonged sedentary positions.

They require deep holding muscle action to make up for the lack of ligamentous support. They also need to be aware of their posture and how they move. Repetitive, prolonged or sustained actions, particularly those which take them into their extreme end range of movement, can be stressful on both the muscles and joints resulting in pain and injury.

To assess your own hypermobility check out these tests.

Hypermobility Tests


  1. Bend back 5th Finger to 90 degrees
  2. Bring thumb to touch underside of the forearm
  3. Straighten elbow to bow back to 10 degrees
  4. Straighten knee to bow back to 10 degrees
  5. Hands flat on floor with knees straight

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How Physio can help the Hypermobility Syndrome

  • We evaluate your level of hypermobility and educate you on the condition so you understand your limitations!
  • We design and monitor a specific exercise programme. This involves stretches that do not create any further stress for your joints and strengthening exercises. The strengthening is important to encourage greater endurance of your postural holding muscles. Exercise rehabilitation reduces the risk and susceptibility to recurring injury.
  • We instruct you on postural alignment and how to move using your postural muscles. This will stabilise you and control the stress across your joints
  • We give you ergonomic advice relating to work and recreational situations.

Gillian Webb Active Physio Auckland

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Upcoming Conferences


Ctaa has been meeting each year for the last 6 years. We are steadily growing in membership and we are expecting 80+ people to attend the 2002 conference. The theme of the conference is 'Braided Rivers' - a good metaphorical - image for the braiding together of the arts and healing, creativity and the professions, cultural knowledge and modern life.

The weekend will be a series of experiential workshops with a performance/party night on the Saturday - a time to entertain, to relax and meet old faces and new.

Arts works will also be on display and for sale.

Our 2 guest speakers will be Jim Moriarty - well-known NZ Actor and Therapeutic Drama Director and Lethea Erz -magical story teller and Harpist from Golden Bay.

Ctaa is a diverse group of people working through
out the country with the Arts and Healing - dance, theatre, music, drama, sound, painting, storytelling and many other mediums.

Our members include community arts coordinators, teachers, therapists, counsellors, and doctors. Maori arts workers, tertiary educators, artists and many more.


If you are interested in presenting a paper or workshop or would like more information please contact the address below:


Napier - War Memorial Centre
April 4-7

For further information contact:
On-call Conference Management
(06) 844-9956 or (06) 835-9549
or email:


Arts Access Aotearoa is planning to hold a major conference in Wellington on February 25-27, 2003 to celebrate Creative Spaces throughout New Zealand. These spaces include art centres for people in the health, youth, refugee and migrant, disability, older adult and justice sectors.

The Creative Spaces movement is unique to New Zealand. Interested groups may include consumers, artists, health professionals, managers, youth workers, refugee groups and social policy officers. It is hoped that the conference will celebrate the success of New Zealand's Creative Spaces, provide opportunities to share information and provide a platform to further promote Creative Spaces, and much more. Further information is available at or phone (04) 916 4885.

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Resources from the Te Whaea Library

Aisen, Nicolette

Beat the heat / Nicolette Aisen. Dance Australia, n.117, Dec 2001/Jan 2002 : p.39
Explains the dangers of dehydration and advises on how to avoid it.

Amoruso, Susan

Back on track / Susan Amoruso. Pointe, v.2, n.5, Nov/Dec 2001 : p.106-107
Ballet student Ali Jarwin shares her experience of recovering from an eating disorder. Includes comments from nutritionist Joy Bauer.

Chernus, Andrea

Good to go : how to take along good nutrition when you take to the road / Andrea Chernus. Pointe, v. 2, n.4, Sep/Oct 2001 : p.66-69
Includes the insert article "Where's the beef?" in which Maia Wilkins, principal with The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, outlines how she manages to eat healthily when touring.

Gold, Rhee

Confessions of a boy dancer : running a gauntlet of bullying and name-calling / Rhee Gold. Dance magazine, v.75, n.11, Nov 2001 : p.52
Discusses the challenge of overcoming negative social attitudes for boys who want to dance.

Horosko, Marian

Obsessively hip / Marian Horosko. Pointe, v. 2, n.4, Sep/Oct 2001 : p.72-73
Brief tips on how to avoid the misalignment and injury which occurs through incorrect and excessive turnout.

Jackson, Merilyn

Never stop dancing / Merilyn Jackson. Dance magazine, v.75, n.11, Nov 2001 : p.50-51
Talks to several dancers in their fifties and older about how they stay fit and injury-free. Lists several dance companies which are happy to employ mature dancers and outlines what their experience contributes to their performance.

Jelicic, Andreja

Is ballet really better than modern dance? / Andreja Jelicic. Dance theatre journal v.17, n.4, 2001 : p.40-44
Argues that Roger Copeland's criticism of modern dance (Dance theatre journal, v.16, n.2, 2000) is based on an acceptance of art critic Clement Greenberg's definition of modernism and its application to dance. Assesses the appropriateness of the Greenbergian model. Proposes that the work of the "historical moderns" should be considered within its own social, political and historical context. Suggests that it would be more fruitful to be open to the value of a wide range of practices than to take up a position of exclusion and finality.

Larkin, Lisa de Ribere

Cinderella stories : four ballerinas reveal their pointe shoe secrets / Lisa de Ribere Larkin. Pointe, v. 2, n.4, Sep/Oct 2001 : p.82-86

Lee, Susan A.

Adolescent issues in a psychological approach to dancers / Susan A. Lee. Journal of dance medicine v.5, n.4, 2001 : p.121-126
Identifies some critical issues in contemporary adolescent development in the context of the dance world.

Liederbach, Marijeanne & Compagno, Julietta

Psychological aspects of fatigue-related injuries in dancers / Marijeanne Liederbach and Julietta Compagno. Journal of dance medicine v.5, n.4, 2001 : p.116-120
Analyses data from 500 dance injury reports for patterns in behaviour or working conditions which might be correlated to injury occurrence. Concludes that self-reports of fatigue, highly intense or monotonous work and changes in mood or diet may provide strong clues to increased vulnerability to injury.

Mainwaring, Lynda & Krasnow, Donna & Kerr, Gretchen

And the dance goes on : psychological impact of injury / Lynda Mainwaring, Donna Krasnow and Gretchen Kerr. Journal of dance medicine v.5, n.4, 2001 : p.105-115
Outlines several models of dancers' reactions to injury. Considers different personal and psychosocial factors which affect reaction, such as personality, injury history and the culture of pain tolerance. Concludes that the psychological impact of injury on dancers is not well understood and suggests several areas for future research.

Perron, Wendy

Any body can dance : four artists who break the mold [i.e. mould] / Wendy Perron. Dance magazine, v.75, n.11, Nov 2001 : p.47-49
Presents four examples of dancers who do not conform to usual expectations: a woman nearly six feet tall, a 67 year-old man, a woman in a wheelchair and a man who weighs 220 pounds.

Phillips, Craig

Can stretching make you stiff? / Craig Phillips. Dance Australia, n.117, Dec 2001/Jan 2002 : p.62-63, 65
Reports on new research which looks at the role of nerves in stretching and explains the concept of optimum flexibility.

Rist, Rachel

Dance medicine conference in Madrid / Rachel Rist. Dancing times, v.92, n.1096, Dec 2001 : p.59, 61
Reports highlights from the annual conference of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS), held this year in Madrid.

Sandoval, Jennifer

Made to order / Jennifer Sandoval. Pointe, v.2, n.5, Nov/Dec 2001 : p.109, 111
Discusses the pros and cons of getting pointe shoes custom made.

Seymour, Lynn

Liberating creativity with a healthy mind / Lynn Seymour. Dancing times, v.92, n.1096, Dec 2001 : p.55, 57
The text of a speech to the British Arts Performing Medicine Trust. Identifies important aspects of mental health and considers how teachers in the performing arts (particularly dance) can help students' mental welfare.
Prepared & reproduced by kind permission of:
Virginia Earle
Nola Millar Library
Te Whaea: National Dance and Drama Centre
PO Box 7146, Wellington South, New Zealand
Phone: (04) 380 1717 Fax: (04) 389 4996

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