Fibromyalgia Alternative Treatment: Dance Therapy

One of the latest treatments for fibromyalgia is an alternative fibromyalgia treatment known as dance therapy. While only initial studies have been conducted into the effectiveness of dance therapy in improving an individual’s health, these studies show promise in the treatment of fibromyalgia. But what exactly is dance therapy and how can this alternative fibromyalgia treatment help to minimize common fibromyalgia symptoms?

What is Dance Therapy?

Dance therapy is the therapeutic use of movement that aims to improve physical and mental health. Also known as movement therapy, dance therapy focuses on restoring a healthy mind-body connection through promoting health and healing. 

Dance therapists conduct both individual sessions as well as group therapy sessions (i.e. for family members of an individual). A therapist will establish a dance program that is tailored to meet the individual’s condition, which is reflected in the difficulty level of therapy sessions as well as the frequency of sessions. In addition, depending on their condition, some individuals may choose to take regular dance classes in order to improve their health.

Health Benefits of Dance Therapy

Clinical reports have shown that dance therapy is effective in reducing stress as well as improving self-esteem; it is also a beneficial form of exercise that improves muscle strength, postural alignment and flexibility.

In addition, studies have linked dance therapy in the treatment of a variety of conditions, including the following:

  • anxiety
  • body tension
  • chronic pain
  • depression
  • stress

Dance therapy is offered for individuals without major health problems, as well as a form of complimentary treatment for individuals with cancer and other chronic illness. It is also beneficial in the reduction of stress for caregivers.

Physical benefits include increased mobility, flexibility, coordination and decreased muscle tension. Movement therapy also improves the health of the circulatory, respiratory, muscular and skeletal systems. While there is a lack of scientific evidence thus far to support these claims, supporters of dance therapy believe that dance therapy strengthens the immune system through muscular activity as well as through physiological processes, thereby preventing disease.

There are also a variety of emotional benefits associated with dance therapy, as physical activity promotes the production of endorphins, a hormone that stimulates a sense of well-being. In addition, dance therapy has several emotional and social benefits, as it improves self-esteem and promotes social interaction with others.

Dance Therapy and Fibromyalgia

A study involving 36 female patients with fibromyalgia syndrome found that dance therapy was beneficial in the treatment of fibromyalgia. The study showed that six months of dance therapy resulted in improved physical and psychological functions in study patients. Patients experienced a greater sense of well-being and also had a minimized perception of pain.

In addition to chronic pain, dance therapy can help to minimize fibromyalgia symptoms such as muscular problems, anxiety, depression and fibrofog.

Individuals with cardiovascular disease and arthritis should consult their physician before starting any form of movement therapy.

Dance Therapy Tips

If you are interested in pursuing dance therapy as part of your fibromyalgia treatment, keep these tips in mind so that you can maximize the benefits of movement therapy for your condition:

  • have reasonable expectations. Don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself to be a natural dance whiz. Remember that having fun and feeling healthy and good about yourself is the most important part of dance therapy.
  • pick a style of dance that suits you. If you’re signing up for regular dance classes, choose a form of dance that best suits your personality and interests, as this will provide you with enthusiasm and will keep you motivated to continue and to keep challenging yourself.
  • focus on self-expression, not comparison. Everyone has a unique body with its own strengths and flaws. Rather than focusing on your body’s limitations, embrace your body and the ways in which it allows you to express yourself, as this is what makes you a unique dancer.

 

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