Children who like to dance are easy to identify. You’ll see them tapping their toes to pop songs, moving to the tunes on a television show or, in my case, putting on full productions much to the delight of my parents. The basic benefits of dance can help kids improve posture, self-esteem and muscle control.
What if the same concepts were applied in adults with Huntington’s disease? It’s a theory being tested by the University of Massachusetts, according to an online article in MassLive.com.
What most people know about Huntington’s disease, a rare neurological condition that causes the nerve cells in the brain to break down, is that it causes involuntary body movements and the loss of mental functions. The most common and noticeable of the body movements is called “chorea” which comes from a Greek word meaning, “dance.”
For most parents, enrolling their little ones in beginning dance classes hoping the classes will mold a prima ballerina or ballerino probably isn’t in the stars. However, helping them develop an understanding of balance, flexibility and creative movement is an obtainable goal. Especially, if your child isn’t a good candidate for group sports like football or soccer.
Dance can offer both cardiovascular workouts and weight-bearing activity, making it good for hearts and bones.
And that’s the drive behind introducing weekly dance sessions to Huntington’s disease patients at a hospital in Massachusetts. The program helps therapists and staff expand and develop alternative therapies to help patients develop confidence, movement control and emotional stability that go beyond offerings that are more traditional.
The program results are still being analyzed, but initial reactions to the dance therapy show great promise.