How Dance can relieve Stress and Anxiety

In the last decade notable studies such as from the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland document the significant health benefits of dance [1]

In 2016 Neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh discovered that areas in our brain involved with axial (head and the trunk) body movement and posture influence our stress hormones.    

This in part explains why practices that involve alignment, coordination and flexibility such as yoga, tai chi and dancing are so beneficial to relieve our stress and anxiety.[2]

 

Niio Dance Courses are designed to..

BBC 'Dancing to Happiness'

In December 2018, former ballerina Dame Darcey Bussell presented a BBC documentary ‘Dancing to Happiness’ which investigated why dance, more than any other exercise improves mood and behaviour.

In the programme Kevin Edward Turner, Co- Artistic director of Company Chameleon leads a series of workshops with young people from mental health charity 42nd Street and comments:

'It shows the transformative power of dance and how it is a positive force for everyone involved – physically, emotionally, socially and psychologically.

It’s engaging viewing as you get to see the shift and transition that the young people make. As their ability to engage with their feelings and express them through dance increases, so does their confidence and self-belief, and this is so inspiring to see.'

The Power of Presence

When we are dancing and in our ‘flow' we are fully present. Instead of being locked in thoughts of the past and future, we are fully in the moment, with our senses heightened to the beauty and vividness of our surroundings.

Our brain waves slow down from the busy, thinking ‘monkey’ mind of beta, to the more lucid and reflective state of alpha.

Recent research has highlighted how alpha brain wave activity can reduce depression and increase creativeness [3]. We can release the source of our fears, worries and anxiety and feel more calm, peaceful and grounded.

We feel vital and alive, fully ‘plugged’ into the universal life force, in what could be considered a ‘whole body mindfulness’.

BBC 'How to stay Young'

In the 2016 BBC series ‘How to Stay Young’ former newsreader Angela Rippon and Dr Chris van Tulleken investigated how our lifestyles impact on our health and longevity. In the series their findings revealed that genetics accounts for 25% of the way we age, and 75% is from how we live, or epigenetics. 


In the first episode Ms Rippon also travelled to Germany to follow a study that reveals dancing is superior to conventional gym exercise for staying healthy and happy into old age.  

Further studies into the benefits of music and movement have been made at the University of Orebro, Derby, Deakin University and University of New York.

The Royal Academy of Dance has championed a pioneering Dance For Lifelong Wellbeing programme, tailoring ballet classes to older adults since 2012, which has been a great success with many participants reporting improved health, body confidence and sharper brain.

References

1 Researchers at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland document this neurogenesis from aerobic and high-intensity exercise in a report in the Journal of Physiology in 2016: Jhttps://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1113/JP271552

See Dance for Parkinson's Disease and the Lebed Method: https://www.dancemagazine.com/doctors-in-the-u-k-will-soon-be-able-to-prescribe-dance-classes- 2621891850.html?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1

2 http://thescienceexplorer.com/brain-and-body/mind-body-connection-new-evidence-how-mentalstates-alter-organ-function

3 eg 2015 study, “Functional Role of Frontal Alpha Oscillations in Creativity,” Cortex, University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010945215001033  

NB Please note Niio Dance is not a substitute for conditions where it may be more suitable to seek specific Therapy. SEE MORE