The Healing Powers of Dance

A patient who has the chronic autoimmune disease, was experienced the point of immobility and debilitating pain. She took a modern dance class even though her doctor told her that she wasn’t going to get well. At the beginning, she could only watch, but she was emotionally impressed by its beauty. She never gave up and finally she could participate in the modern dance class. First, she began the simple action such as the deep breathe during the class, then she stand for longer periods during the class. After many years of dogged practice, she became physically stronger, mentally clearer. It was so transformative and healing to me.

The healing power of dance may not be the answer to every health crisis, but there is no doubt that it can benefit the body and mind in many ways.

Here are some obvious physical effects of dance:

1) boost cardiovascular health and bone strength

2) improve balance and flexibility

According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine investigated the effect leisure activities had on the risk of dementia in the elderly. Researchers found that frequent dancing was the only physical activity of the 9 studied that appeared to lower the participants’ risk of dementia considerably. Joe Verghese, who is the lead author of the study and the professor of  neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, explained that he didn’t know the reasons for the unique effect of dancing, but he guessed that, “compared with other physical activities, dancing involved many significant mental effort and social interactions.” Both intellectual and social stimulation have been shown to reduce the risk of getting dementia.

According to Citlali Lopezortiz, the research scientist at the rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, dance can also help Parkinson’s patients. She concentrated on helping the patients find new ways of moving and to improve the speed at which they move. For example, Llopez-Ortiz taught the students slow, ballet-like movements. Sometimes, she took the class to see the Joffrey Ballet for inspiration. With time, her students often become more mobile, and more confident.

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