Understanding Dance “Movement” Therapy

Dance Therapy

Therapy through dance. Movement therapy. Treatment through dance.

Heard about therapy through dance? Can healing be achieved through dance? What are the principles of dance or movement therapy and the benefits of dance/movement therapy?

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Dance Therapy/Therapeutic Facts

Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) or Dance Psychotherapy refers to the therapeutic use of movement and dance. Dance therapy utilizes various dance moves to help individuals manage disability, illness, or life challenges. For them, it can truly change lives positively.

Most people love to dance, not knowing that it can be a form of therapy. Dance/movement therapy is truly effective physically and mentally. Let’s learn more about it here.

Dance Therapy Benefits

DMT or dance/movement therapy looks at the well-being of the body and mind.

Dancing Promotes Physical Fitness

Dance in itself is a great way of staying fit. Dancing promotes muscle strength and flexibility and improved balance. Dance therapy has been found to be therapeutic for those with muscular and motor-system disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, it can serve as physical therapy for those recovering from injuries. This therapy’s an effective way to improve overall wellness simply by learning dance moves.

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Likewise, studies have shown that dance/movement therapy helps lessen the risk of older adults falling, as therapy improves their sense of balance. Plus, they enjoy dance/movement therapy because most elderly love to dance!

They were also shown to have better overall health. In fact, dance therapy offers a wide selection of movements and dance moves, allowing basically anyone to find the type of exercise they need.

Reduces Depression

Exercise and dance typically release endorphins and dopamine into the person’s system. As most are familiar, these substances are typically associated with feelings of happiness. While dance therapy isn’t a single solution to depression, it’s one method that can greatly supplement with seeing your therapist.

In addition to the physical/chemical benefit, dance therapy provides social benefits as well. By going out of the house and being exposed to other people during dance therapy, it helps lessen symptoms of depression. By learning dance moves, they are occupied and distracted from the thoughts of sadness and hopelessness. Many people believe that dance therapy has helped improve their well-being.

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The DMT Promotes Cognitive Health

Studies have shown that dance therapy exercises improve cognitive and neurological functions. Music is said to stimulate the reward center of the brain while dancing activates sensory circuits.

Moreover, dance therapy has also shown positive effects and benefits to the elderly. Specifically, it has positive effects on patients suffering from dementia. It provides them something to focus on, keeping their attention. In turn, this helps improve their memory.

Dancing Relieves Stress

“There are so many ways stress creeps into our lives, yet if we take control of our time and make proactive and healthy decisions, we can stop these negative cycles and truly take care of our mental health,” says Sonja Seglin, LCPC.

While it may seem daunting to others, exercise can actually be a form of stress reliever. When you find the type of exercise you want to do in dance therapy, it can actually be fun.

Dance is a common form of enjoyable exercise. Hence, dance therapy provides participants with an avenue to forget their problems and issues and focus more on the dance as an art.

The opportunity of socializing with others also provides a way to de-stress.

Through dance therapy, people have the opportunity to establish relationships.

People doing dancing exercises.

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It Allows Expression

Everyone has an outlet for their creativity and emotions. Some people make music, others write, and express their feelings through their work. Dance is another way in which people can showcase their creativity and feelings that is why dance/movement therapy is beneficial. It’s another avenue to create something of your own. Molly Bowman, MS, LPC once said, “With attention, curiosity, and permission to be expressed, those emotions start to become unstuck and move through”

Dance therapy participants may create routines or movements out of memories and specific emotions. Think of it as if you were to write in a journal. Although, this way, instead of using words on paper, the words are steps and movements. The space around them serves as the paper and canvas on which people write and paint their thoughts onto.

Dance Therapy Insight

Therapy through dancing can merit us lots of physical and mental benefits. “The foundation of therapy is based on the relationship you build with your therapist. When seeking someone out it’s important you feel comfortable with them,” says Elana Schechtman-Gil LMFT.