Lori Has a Master’s of Arts in Creative Arts/Dance/Movement Therapy. She is passionate about sharing the art of integrating self-awareness, expression and engagement through dance and mediation in motion.
“Music and Music Find the Secret Places of the Soul” – Plato
Dance/movement therapy, usually referred to simply as dance therapy or DMT, is a type of therapy that uses movement to help individuals achieve emotional ,cognitive, physical and social integration. Dance therapy is a healing approach that involves the use of dance and body movement to improve physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Dance therapy is thought to promote healing in part by encouraging self-expression.
In addition, dance therapy is said to reduce stress, improve self-confidence, and enhance mobility and muscle coordination. It is sometimes incorporated into programs for people with chronic conditions.
How can Dance Therapy Benefit YOU?
1. Parkinson’s Disease
Dance therapy may help to improve balance, endurance, and gait function in people with Parkinson’s disease. In a review published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews in 2014, for instance, scientists analyzed five previously published clinical trials comparing dance to no intervention or exercise in people with Parkinson’s disease.
Dance significantly improved motor scores on the Unified Parkinson’s disease rating scale (UPDRS), balance, and gait speed compared to no intervention. Compared to exercise, dance improved balance and quality of life.
Longer-term studies are needed to see if any of the benefits seen in studies are lasting. Although further research is needed, certain types of dance therapy may meet the requirements of exercise programs for people with Parkinson’s disease.
For a report published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2015, researchers analyzed previously published studies evaluating dance therapy for depression. However, only three small clinical trials were found to be rigorous enough to meet the reviewers’ criteria.
In their conclusion, the report’s authors state “The low-quality evidence from three small trials with 147 participants does not allow any firm conclusions to be drawn regarding the effectiveness of DMT for depression.” They also note that larger, high-quality trials are needed.
Several studies suggest that dance therapy may benefit people with cancer-related fatigue. For instance, a 2014 study of forty people undergoing cancer treatment with moderate to severe fatigue found that a dance therapy intervention (10 dance classes in five weeks in addition to counseling) improved cancer-related fatigue, emotional and social functioning, and physical performance compared to those who received standard care and counseling.
4. Risk of Falls and Overall Health in Older Adults
Dance therapy may help reduce the risk of falling among older people, a 2015 review published in Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics suggests. The report’s authors analyzed seven previously published articles on the effect of dancing on fall-related factors (such as balance, flexibility, gait, muscle strength, and physical performance) in healthy, older adults. The studies showed positive effects on the risk of falling. However, the researchers state that there were issues such as a lack of homogeneity in the studies (including the type of dance) that limited their ability to draw conclusions based on the evidence.
Dance therapy may help to improve mobility, balance, blood pressure, body mass, and quality of life in postmenopausal women, according to a study published in Menopause in 2016.