Dance Therapy

Finding a way to express feelings and emotions that cannot be put into words is important part of improving the overall quality of like for mesothelioma patients. Dance Therapy, or as it is also known Movement Therapy, provides an effective way to use physical exercise to relieve stress and anxiety, control pain, and communicate in a non-verbal manner.

How Does Dance Therapy Work?

Under the supervision of an accredited dance therapist, participants use body movement to achieve a sense of well-being. Sessions are held either as one-on-one or with a group. It has been documented that this kind of movement also promotes proper functioning of circulatory, respiratory, skeletal, and muscular systems. You do not have to have the ability to dance well to participate in this therapy because the emphasis is not on specific steps, but general movement that incorporates the whole body. Dance Therapy has been used in different therapeutic settings and with different age groups.

The American Dance Therapy Association has put together this You Tube video to show what dance therapy is.

Are There any Circumstances Under Which Patients Should Not Participate in Dance Therapy?

This is considered safe for most patients. However, Dance Therapy is a form of exercise. Any patient who is considering participating should consult their doctor to be sure that they are physically able to take part. In addition, your doctor can advise your dance therapist about any limitations or recommendations regarding your individual health status.

How Did Dance Therapy Originate?

In the late 1930s, Marian Chace, who had a career as a professional dancer, began teaching dance to children and adolescents in institutions. In 1942, she was asked to teach at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., a federal psychiatric hospital.

At this time, there were large numbers of soldiers with war-related psychological problems. Psychotropic drugs had not been invented yet, and hospital psychiatrists were looking for group processes to treat the variety of mental conditions exhibited in these soldiers. Chace developed her “Dance for Communication” to treat these patients and it became the start of what was later called dance/movement therapy. She became the first full time dance therapist in 1947.

In 1956, the American Dance Therapy Association was founded to establish professional standards for dance therapists. Currently, there are over 1,200 dance therapists in this country and around the world. In 1993, the Office of Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health provided a research grant to examine the effect of dance therapy on people with medical conditions.

What Kind of Education Do Dance Therapists Receive?

The American Cancer Society provides the following description of the educational requirements for dance therapists:
“A master’s degree is required to be a dance therapist. Beginning-level dance therapists who have at least 700 hours of supervised clinical training hold the title of “Dance Therapists Registered” (DTR). The title “Academy of Dance Therapists” (ADTR) is awarded to advanced-level dance therapists who have completed 3,640 hours of supervised clinical work in an agency, institution, or special school with additional supervision from an ADTR.”

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