Friday, December 15, 2017 by Michelle Simmons
Dance therapy, also referred to as dance/movement therapy (DMT), is the pyschotherapeutic use of movement and dance to improve the intellectual, emotional and motor functions of the body. It is a form of expressive therapy that focuses on the correlation between movement and emotion. There is no fixed type of movement style used in this therapy as its programs varies from traditional dances like ballroom to more subtle forms of movement such as yoga and stretching to calm the body. In addition, a DMT licensed practitioner, who leads the therapy sessions, will customize the music, the movement, and the exercises to cater the needs of the patient. Dance therapy sessions are concentrated on movement behavior as it moves forward through the guided session.
With this therapy, the therapist will use movement to help a client attain emotional, cognitive, physical, and social wellness. It is different from regular dancing because it is more than just exercise. In dance therapy, the actions, fluidity, and movement are interpreted more like a language. For example, people with an eating disorder can use movement to express conscious and unconscious feelings through dance. In turn, the therapist will respond to the movements, analyze the body language, nonverbal behaviors, and emotional expressions to come up with solutions to address the particular needs of the client. Movement is the main method in which dance therapists observe, assess, and implement therapeutic intervention. This type of therapy is a form of treatment that is based on the principle that the body and mind are connected, and that by movement you can access and heal the deepest parts of the psyche. It is also called “movement psychotherapy.”
There are several health benefits of dance therapy. One of these is that it may help enhance balance, endurance and gait function in people with Parkinson’s disease. Research shows that dance improved their motor scores, balance and quality of life. Another health benefit of this therapy is that it may help with depression. It may also benefit people with cancer-related fatigue, as research shows that it improved fatigue, emotional and social functioning, and physical performance of people undergoing cancer treatment. In addition, dance therapy may help lower the risk of falls among older adults. It may also improve their mobility, balance, blood pressure, body mass and quality of life. According to an entry by GoodTherapy.org, dance therapy can help with physical issues, such as chronic pain, childhood obesity, cancer, arthritis, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. It can also help with mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, low self-esteem, and post-traumatic stress and cognitive issues, which include dementia and communication issues. It can also help with social issues, which include autism, aggression or violence, domestic violence trauma, social interaction and family conflict.
The body systems supported by dance therapy include the nervous, cardiovascular, immune and digestive systems.
Dance therapy is the pyschotherapeutic use of movement and dance to improve the intellectual, emotional, and motor functions of the body. It is a form of expressive therapy that focuses on the correlation between movement and emotion.
Dance therapy may help enhance balance, endurance and gait function in people with Parkinson’s disease.
Dance therapy may help people with depression and with cancer-related fatigue.
Dance therapy may help lower the risk of falling among older people and improve their quality of life.
Dance therapy may help with physical, mental health, cognitive and social issues.
Dance therapy may support the body systems, such as the nervous, cardiovascular, immune and digestive systems.
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