October 29, 2009 4 Comments
Get your grove on and dance your pain away!
Ever imagined yourself belly dancing your pains away? Shaking your hips, flowing with the rhythm and to the beat of the drums, letting yourself dance the pain away!
Well, a recent research study done at the Federal University of São Paulo proves that by simply keeping active, you can improve your quality of life. They wanted to show that belly dancing could be an effective treatment for pain in fibromyalgia patients.
The entire study consisted of 80 females, ½ of which was a control group, ages 18-65. To qualify, all the participants’ course of treatment should of not changed in three years preceding the study.
All the dance students “ took one-hour belly dance classes twice a week for 16 weeks… Each class had a maximum of eight students. The classes were administered by a physiotherapist with eight years of experience in belly dance. Classes began with a warm-up exercise, followed by the predetermined movements for the day, choreography and a cool-down exercise. The participants received a compact disc with music and an exercise book with the history and movements proposed for the program. Beginning in the fourth week, a set sequence of movements in the form of choreography was established for memorization and training at home.” (via)
In order to measure the outcome of the dance program, all the dancers where asked how they felt at three different times during the program. They were questioned before they started, again at 16 weeks, and lastly at 32 weeks. The number of questions the dancers were asked gave the researchers an in depth view on the outcome of the study. Everything was examined in order to have a complete patient profile including; pain levels, physical functionality (aka the 6 minute walk test), and quality of life questionnaires. Some of the quality of life questionnaires included but not limited to the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, pain, functionality, vitality, mental and emotional states, social aspects, and self-image.
Now, not to bore you with all the facts and figures of all the results, here’s the jest of the study: GET MOVING! No, really folks, seriously the “control group” of dancers slowly progressed on all the quality of life tests. Having said that, an interesting thing happened with the fibromyalgia group of dancers; at the 16-week mark, on most of their testing perimeters, their functionality scales became slightly worse than from were they started. But, not giving up does pay off! By the end of the 32-week course, the functionality scales perimeters went dramatically up for the dancers with fibromyalgia.
What does this all mean? Remember when your Mom would tell you it’s going to get worse before it gets better? That statement is true for when you add an exercise program into your life. Remember to take little steps toward finding a path that is healthy for you. Don’t try to go do an all night dance-a-thon on your first week, but try walking for ten minutes in the morning. Just remember, don’t give up. Keep your body moving. Keep stretching and keep a positive outlook on life.
In my never ending search for more information, I found this great website/ blog on dancing for pain relief! Check it out here-> http://dancingwithpain.com
For more information on the clinical trial please see-> Effectiveness of Dance on Patients With Fibromyalgia