I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Emily Scherb, also known as the Circus Doc, on the latest episode of the Healthy, Wealthy, and Smart podcast. Dr. Scherb shared valuable insights into the world of circus arts and how healthcare providers can support circus performers in achieving their goals while staying safe and healthy. Here are some key takeaways from our conversation:

  • Circus encompasses various performing arts, from aerial silks to trapeze to acro yoga.
  • Circus training is adaptable and can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages, with older performers showcasing longevity in their careers.
  • Understanding the unique demands of circus movements, such as extreme ranges of motion and strength requirements, is crucial for clinicians working with circus artists.
  • Research in circus medicine is growing, providing valuable insights into injury prevention and performance optimization.
  • Dr. Scherb’s upcoming online training program, Circus Fusion, allows clinicians to enhance their knowledge and skills in supporting circus performers.

Time Stamps: 

00:00:03 – Introduction to the Podcast
00:00:14 – Dr. Emily Scherb’s Background
00:00:55 – Defining Circus and Circus Performers
00:01:19 – Diversity in Circus Performances
00:02:32 – Professional vs. Recreational Circus
00:02:51 – Expansion of Circus into Fitness
00:03:43 – Circus as an Adult Recreational Activity
00:04:46 – Age and Circus Performance
00:05:13 – Circus for All Ages
00:06:49 – Older Circus Performers
00:07:54 – Longevity in Circus Careers
00:08:33 – Professional Performers Over 40
00:09:04 – Performance Quality with Age
00:09:47 – Pink’s Circus-like Performances
00:10:08 – Overcoming Fear in Circus Classes
00:10:39 – Benefits of Trying Circus
00:11:34 – When to Take a Break from Circus Training
00:12:27 – Training Load Issues in Circus
00:13:07 – Assessing Circus Performers in the Clinic
00:14:10 – Testing Strength at End Range
00:15:28 – Specificity in Circus Performer Evaluation
00:16:10 – Using Tools to Measure Strength
00:17:08 – Addressing Deficiencies in Range and Strength
00:18:03 – Educating Circus Performers on Training
00:19:10 – Taping and Bracing in Circus
00:20:07 – Cultural Attitudes Towards Injuries
00:21:19 – Research in Circus Medicine
00:22:07 – Injury Patterns in Circus Performers
00:23:00 – Educating Healthcare Professionals on Circus Medicine
00:24:07 – Circus Fusion Training Program
00:25:10 – Research and Publications in Circus Medicine
00:26:15 – Advice to Younger Self
00:27:03 – Final Thoughts and Encouragement

More About Dr. Emily Scherb:

headshot of Dr. Emily SchrebDr. Emily Scherb is a physical therapist specializing in circus and performing arts medicine. Through her over 30 years of training and working in the circus arts she has gained deep insight on how circus bodies work in the air and on the ground. Emily owns a physical therapy practice in Seattle, WA in which clinicians specialize in the treatment of circus and performing artists. Emily now teaches workshops for circus artists, instructors, and healthcare providers with the mission of improving health and safety in circus training and performance. She is a board member of the American Youth Circus Organization / American Circus Educators as well as Seattle Dance and Performing Arts Medicine. Her bestselling book Applied Anatomy of Aerial Arts was published in 2018.

Resources from this Episode:

Dr. Emily’s Website

Dr. Emily’s Instagram

Circus Medicine Education

Free Gift: Circus Vocabulary List

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©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.
©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.