Could dance really be a remedy for Parkinson’s disease? It seems so. A movement that started a little over a decade ago in Brooklyn has now spread throughout the country and to eight other countries. The Parkinson Foundation also offers dance classes at its 23 chapters in the U.S. Those who have used dance as therapy for Parkinson’s find that it gives them a nonprescription relief from their symptoms.
Several studies in recent years have started uncovering clinical advantages to dance for Parkinson’s as well. These include activities that are generally difficult for those with Parkinson’s disease such as stopping and restarting movements and multitasking.
One particular study evaluated balance, endurance, and quality of life of participants with Parkinson’s before and after different types of dance such as tango and waltz. A control group was also in place. Significant improvements were shown in all dance groups on the Berg Balance Scale, forward and backward walking velocity, and the 6 minute walk distance tests, while the control group showed no progression. The study also noted the important social aspects of dance therapy for those with Parkinson’s disease such as community involvement, personal development, and self expression.
So brush up your moves and get on out on the dance floor!
Source: Earhart G. Dance as therapy for individuals with Parkinson disease. European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. 2009 June; 45(2): 231-238.