Dancing Health Benefits

November 25, 2014 by
Filed Under: Blog, Dance Psychology

health benefits of dance

Dancing can be seen by many as a way of socializing, exercise, a fun activity, etc. For me, dancing is a necessity. I have both experienced and watched how dancing can be healing and can do wonders in ways that doctors would be amazed by.

I have a student who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and has struggled with it for over 7 years. Exercise is known to be a great way of improving the patient’s condition and slowing down the process, but dancing has been found to be one of the best ways of going about improving one’s state. This has been proven in my student. He comes in every week several times a week. Some days are better than others and sometimes it is a struggle for him to make it through our sessions, but he fights through the stiffness and never gives up. This is a huge testament to his own strength and I admire him for that. But he wouldn’t fight for something that he doesn’t see a benefit from. I have been able to work with him over the past year and I have seen him go from stiff, shaky, and tight gripped to being able to dance with a lightness that is not affected by a bad day. Even when he is struggling, as his teacher I can only tell because he tells me. It is no longer evident in his dancing capabilities. I have also known other people to have Parkinson’s and, to be honest, I have never seen someone with it who has such abilities to cope. Yes, it has a lot to do with his spirit to fight and other activities outside of dance that he involves himself with; however, seeing the improvements he has made on the dance floor show me that dance is a part of his healing as well. His doctors are amazed at his agility and admire that, after 7 years, he is still thriving and actually becoming more mobile rather than less! He is living proof that a life with dancing can help heal.

I have personally experienced how dance can heal and the many dancing health benefits. Here is my story. I have short bowel syndrome, which means I don’t have part of my intestines. It has caused me great pain and many digestive issues and every specialist I have seen has not known how to help me. Because it is digestive and irreplaceable, there is no way of taking away the pain unless I am heavily medicated. And there is no chance of healing a missing organ, at least not the one I am missing. So I have spent many years struggling with the pain of my condition. On bad days, I have barely been able to walk, let alone dance. When I was given the opportunity to dance for a living again, I hoped that I would be able to cope, as the pain had started to lessen a bit. Little did I know that dancing would improve my life tremendously and make so much of the pain dissipate. I now dance between 20 and 50 hours a week, and I have not had so much freedom from digestive pain in years! Not only does dancing improve my ability to handle pain, it also has a way of relieving it. I will always struggle to an extent, just as my student will. Our conditions have no cures. But as long as I am able to dance, I will be dancing. It is the cure that the doctors would never prescribe, but it is the blessing that I have that gives me the ability to live a more normal life, free from so much of the pain that I used to experience.

If any of you are struggling with a medical condition, curable or not, dancing is a wonderful help. Whether your pain is physical or emotional, a death sentence or a chronic illness that will just be your life long struggle, consider dancing. I guarantee you won’t regret it. Whether it helps with pain or not physically, it will give you happiness and hope that is healthy and good for you no matter what. It is not going to cure you, and it may not do what it has done for me and my student, but he and I both have gained a hope and a love for dance that also consists of thankfulness. We are thankful to be able to dance, whether it be socially or professionally. And that is enough to make it worth every second.

– Bella Ballroom Instructor, Tayler