Above: Knesiology Club Party at the University of Maryland where Barb taught and a group performed Rueda. spring 2013.
DanceInTime posing after March of Dimes performance
Above: DIT performers posing outside of Camden Yards Stadium in Baltimore before a show there for the March of Dimes.
 

HEALTH AND FITNESS BENEFITS OF DANCE

"In many shamanic societies, people who complain of being disheartened...or depressed would be asked,... "When did you stop dancing?" ... This is because dancing is a universal healing salve." - Gabrielle Roth

Salsa dancing so greatly lifts people's spirits, that many students comment on the therapeutic value of Salsa classes!

For sure,
listening to music makes people feel better--by activating endorphins.  Physical exercise does the same thing, and so does socializing with friends.  This recipe for improved well-being describes dancing perfectly!  It is hard to imagine any activity with greater healing powers. 

All dancers know the feeling.....  The elation that comes from moving to music in rhythm, the relaxation that results from concentrating on the beat and forgetting one's cares....

An organization called the "Institute for Music and Neurologic Function" headed by Dr. Concetta Tomaino, is doing great work in the therapeutic use of music.  At a talk on June 6, 2013 at Strathmore Music Center, Dr. Tomaino gave many examples how music has been used therapeutically for patients with dementia, Parkinsons syndrome, autism, etc.  For example, music that has meaning to the individual has enabled Parkinson's sufferers who were unable to walk, to start taking steps again.   This may sound like magic, but the power of music, to put it bluntly, IS magical....  And combining music with dance is even more so.

Cuban Salsa, a group Salsa dance, works even better to increase well-being because of the team spirit of the dance. The continuous partner exchanges adds a feeling of community to the dance!  

Articles On Dance And Health:

1.  Dancing for Health: Conquering and Preventing Stress by Judith Lynne Hanna, AltaMira Press, a Division of Rowman and Littlefield Publishers; 2006.
http://www.judithhanna.com/pub-health.html  (Book listing from Hanna’s website)
http://www.amazon.com/Dancing-Health-Conquering-Preventing-Stress/dp/0759108595

2.  “Salsa Dancing Offers Physical and Mental Benefits to Partners” by Richard Methia, August 4, 2010.
http://suite101.com/article/salsa-dancing-offers-physical-and-mental-benefits-to-partners-a270052

(If you go to this link, be sure to scroll down all the way down the page so you don't miss some of the information.)

3.  Dance Therapy Article from www.Wholehealthmd.com http://www.wholehealthmd.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?nm=Reference+Library&type=AWHN_Therapies&mod=The rapies&mid=&id=B11F5E72178C419CAF774DDBEB451FD7&tier=2

4.  “Dancing Helps Boys With ADHD.”  Research project by Barbro Renck of Karlstad University and Erna Gronlund of the University College of Dance in Stockhom, June 8, 2006, and reported in The American Journal of Dance Therapy.
http://www.depressionforums.org/forums/topic/5957-dancing-helps-boys-with-adhd/ 

5.  “The Mental Health Benefits of Music” by Darlene Oakley, August 18, 2010. http://www.empowher.com/emotional-health/content/mental-health-benefits-music?page=0,0

6.  “Divergent Effects of Joyful and Anxiety-Provoking Music on Endothelial Vasoreactivity,” by Michael Miller, MD, C. Charles Mangano, BA, RDMS, Valerie Beach, RN, Willem J. Kop, Ph.D., and Robert Vogel, MD;  Psychosomatic Medicine 72:000-000 (2010).
Abstract at this link: 
http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/cgi/content/abstract/72/4/354 

Further “summary” report on this research:  “Joyful Music May Promote Heart Health, According to University of Maryland School of Medicine Study”  http://www.umm.edu/news/releases/music-cardiovascular.htm 

7.  “Shall We Dance?  An Exploration of the Perceived Benefits of Dancing on Well-Being” by Cynthia Quiroga Murcia, Gunter Kreutz, Stephen Clift, and Stephan Bongard; Arts and Health, Volume 2, Issue 2, Sept. 2010, pages 149-163.
Abstract at:  http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a925819679~db=all~jumptype=rss

8.  “The Art of Healing: Visual and Performing Arts Take on a Bigger Role in Patient Recovery” by Beth Baker, Washington Post, August 17, 2004 Page HE01.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A6555-2004Aug16.html  

9.  “Friends for Life: An Emerging Biology of Emotional Healing,” by Daniel Goleman;  New York Times, October 10, 2006.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/10/health/psychology/10essa.html

10. Socializing Appears to Delay Memory Problems” by Tara Parker-Pope.  Reported in the New York Times Health Section, March 1, 2011.  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/04/socializing-appears-to-delay-memory-problems 

11.  “Having More Friends Adds Years to Your Life---Study” by Silky Chandani, The Med Guru, Sept. 14, 2010.
http://www.themedguru.com/20100914/newsfeature/having-more-friends-adds-years-your-life-study-86140423.html

12.  "Dancing Away an Anxious Mind: A Memoir About Overcoming Panic Disorder" by Robert Rand. Copyright 2004 by University of Wisconsin Press.

13. "Friends With Health Benefits" by Meghan Casserly, Forbes.com, 8.24.10.  Link at:  http://www.forbes.com/2010/08/24/health-relationships-longevity-forbes-woman-well-being-social-isolation.html

14. "Dance Away Stress and Depression" by Christy Matta, MA, As reported in Psychology Today.  Link at: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/dbt/2010/07/dance-away-stress-and-depression/

15. "Exercise Treatment for Depression: Efficacy and Dose Response" by Andrea Dunn Ph.D.; Madhukar Trivedi MD, James Kampert Ph.D.; Camillia Clark Ph.D.; Heather Chambliss Ph.D. American Journal Preventive Medicine, 2005; 28(1):1-8.  Link at:  https://www.cebp.nl/media/m1121.pdf

16.  The American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) is headquartered in Maryland.  They publish and sell literature with information on how dance can be used therapeutically with people who are ill.  Their address is 10632 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 108, Columbia, MD 21044-3263 and the phone is: (410) 997-4040.  I have found them helpful in suggesting suitable things for me to read.  For example, they have materials on Marian Chace, the key founder of the Dance Therapy Movement.  For a summary of the development of this field which stems in part from the emphasis in modern dance on expressing the dancer's feelings, go to this link: http://www.dance-to-health-help-your-special-needs-child.com/history.html.

17. "Dance: Take On a Cha-Cha Challenge," by Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times, January 7, 2011.
http://www.aarp.org/health/fitness/news-01-2011/dance_take_on_a_cha_cha_challenge.htm  (Discusses the advantages to health of many dances including Salsa including which dances have which specific advantages--aerobic, strength-building, improved balance, etc.)

18.  The nation's top rated hospital, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, puts out "white papers" which have information on health issues. In 2011, they published a booklet on anxiety and depression and one of the subtopics was the way exercise boosts mood.  Research done at Duke University is cited in this publication that shows the benefit of regular exercise to comparable taking an antidepressant for mild to moderate depression.  The article explains that exercise affects levels of brain chemicals like serotonin, which relieve tension, induce calm and make it easier to handle anxiety and stress. Hormones called endorphins are released by the pituitary gland during exercise, and they create a sense of well-being. (This is what happens when people who run get a "runner's high.") To read more about it, visit: http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/alerts/depression_anxiety/depression-exercise-connection_3892-1.html

19. "Hospitals Find That Alternative Therapies Are a Good Way to Attract Paying Patients," Washington Post Health Section, Nov. 15, 2011.  Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/alternative-therapies-sometimes-help-and-almost-always-pay-off/2011/11/10/gIQAfuIpKN_story.html. This article discusses how hospitals increasingly offer art/music therapy (along with other alternative therapies) to inpatients not only because it can sometimes be effective treatment, but also for economic reasons.  Offering alternative therapies apparently helps attract patients to that hospital.

20.  "Brain Rules: Twelve Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School," by John Medina, Pear Press (P.O. Box 70525; Seattle, WA), Copyright 2008.  The author, Professor Medina, is a developmental molecular biologist at the U. of Washington School of Medicine and the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University.  In his book, he explains how the brain functions at a molecular level and applies the results to how human beings can most effectively work, learn, and function.  This includes learning mental or physical tasks. His first rule is that exercise improves brain power.  In his own words, "To improve your thinking skills, move."  He also says that "on mental tests, exercisers outperform couch potatoes on long term memory, reasoning, attention, problem-solving, and fluid-intelligence tests."  AND, if "couch potatoes" start an aerobic exercise program, their cognivitve abilities improve, so this relationship doesn't look like a simple correlation (without causation).  Not much exercise is needed to show some mental improvement....  In fact, "couch potatoes" who are fidgetty, actually do a little better on mental skills than "couch potatoes" who don't fidget!
His rules for how brains work make a strong statement on the benefits of exercise for both overall health and well-being as well as for improved cognitive function and learning.  To read more of these findings, get his book which is entertaining and very readable for lay people, or visit his website: www.brainrules.net. You can also watch this video: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ck-tQt0S0Os

21.  "Music, The Brain, and Ecstasy: How Music Captures Our Imagination," by Robert Jourdain,  Avon Books, copyright 1997.  The book discusses the impact of music on the mind.  Its final chapter on "ecstasy" begins with findings of how helpful music can be in restoring Parkinsons patients to normal movment, and extends the power that music has in feelings of well being to people in general.  It's powerfully written material.

22.  "Music and Neuroscience:  What Happens to Your Brain Under the Influence of Music," by Alasdair Wilkins, io9--We come from the future, Sunday Jan. 6, 2013.  Here is the link: http://io9.com/5837976/what-happens-to-your-brain-under-the-influence-of-music.

23.  "The Scientific American Healthy Aging Brain: The Neuroscience of Making the Most of Your Mature Mind" by Judith Horstman, published by Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Imprint, copyright 2012 by John Wiley and Sons and Scientific American, copyright 2012. This exceedingly readable book of just 200 pages, reads like a summary of many of the other articles in this list.  Although the title makes it sound like a book about aging, it is really more of a book about how adults can get the greatest health and well being from their brains throughout adult life.  There is of course a great emphasis throughout the book on exercise, which trumps many other dimensions of health in importance. Dance and particularly partnership dancing is specifically mentioned as a healthful activity.  And the role of music is addressed.  The author says we tend to "self-medicate with music" which is an interesting concept.  Likewise whole chapters are devoted to the role of socializing, mental stimulation, and creative activities---which are all components of dancing.  This is a great read and even greater advice!

24. "A Marine's Short Life Becomes a Ballet," Washington Post, Metro Section Page B1, March 7, 2013.  This article states that ballet training contributed to a young man's "mental toughness" which helped him subsequently in the army.  The article also addresses the way that dance can be used for self expression and to heal grief. 
http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/viewer.aspx    

25.  "This Women Was About To Go In For Surgery. What She Did Moments Before Was Awesome" by Lori Leibovich, Huffington Post; 11.06.13. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/06/breast-cancer-flash-mob-deborah-cohan_n_4227915.html  Deborah Cohan turns the operating room into a dance party, prior to her double masectomy.  The video shows the joy that dancing can bring, even in the face of a serious situation.

26.  Check out this video about using movement as therapy.  It is interesting! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9gAe9H5Rok

27.  Use It Or Lose It: Dancing Makes You Smarter" by Richard Powers, copyright July 30, 2010. Stanford Dance.
 http://socialdance.stanford.edu/syllabi/smarter.htm This article says that there is imporvment in cognitive acuity at all ages as a result of dance exercise.  And the suggestion is that the more the better: dance as much as you can!

 
Above:  This clever pictures says it all!!

Above: Shortly after putting up this page on my website, I saw someone with this shirt at a Salsa Congress.  I think the caption says it all!!