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Dance Therapy is Good for the Brain

The Old Songs Help to Bring Back Good Memories

While physical exercise is considered good for the brain and neuroscientists claim that it builds neurons (nerve cells), dance therapy is very special  form of physical exercise because it combines music, rhythm, socialization and helps with improving balance and gait. Dance therapy has shown itself to be very beneficial for people with Parkinson’s disease, stroke and dementia. Physical exercise and especially dance therapy, help in all kinds of ways to strengthen the memory centers of the brain. The dancing that can make seniors feel young again also invokes all kinds of wonderful memories and dancing to the old tunes has very strong reminiscent benefits for people suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Dance Therapy for Sedentary Seniors


The Prevention Research Center’s Healthy Brain Research Network at the University of Illinois at Chicago has designed a special Latin ballroom program for sedentary seniors called BAILAMOS that was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Seniors who participated in the dance program claimed to have experienced memory, attention and focus improvements.

Dance Therapy for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Seniors with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) reported improvements in memory and cognitive function during a different 10-month-long ballroom dance program.

Dance Therapy for Alzheimer’s

Dance therapy is reminiscent therapy at its best for Alzheimer’s patients as it invokes all kinds of good memories from the past. It also boosts their spirits and gives them a chance to socialize

Dance Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

There are professional dance and ballet companies that offer classes to people with Parkinson’s disease.

Dance for PD in Brooklyn, New York

Dance for PD is a non-profit collaboration between the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group that offers special dance classes in Brooklyn, New York for people afflicted with Parkinson’s disease. This amazing organization that has drawn international attention partners with associates in more than 250 other communities and 24 countries like the English National Ballet (ENB) in London. They offer teacher training and instructional media to make their unique model of dancing with Parkinson’s available to other groups interested in establishing a similar program.

Dancing has Different Pathway to the Brain

Research from 38 scientific studies show that dancing and also music have a different pathway to the brain than the disease has and amazingly, people with Parkinson’s temporarily lose their stiffness and tremors while dancing and also gain some fluency in movement and more stability in posture. In fact, this helps to heal them so that they also show improvement outside of the dance classes in their day-to-day activities. Since many PD patients are wheel-chair bound the classes begin with arm movements in time to music. After this they stand up and do more dance exercises. The classes are also a wonderful way for those afflicted with Parkinson’s to experience good socializing with other PD patients and to gain self-esteem and a feeling of accomplishment. See our post from August 1, 2018 that shows that walking to the sound of music leads to less falls in Parkinson’s patients.

Healing Power of Music and Dance

Years ago there were reports of Parkinson’s and stroke patients who could barely walk, but got up and danced with music. See our blog post from March 6, 2018, to read more about the healing powers of music and neurologic music therapy. This phenomena has also been shown with people with arthritis and other crippling disorders, who toss their crutches and canes aside and get up and dance painlessly to music. See our post from July 2, 2018, how music brought a stroke patient out of a coma.

Dance in your Community

You can join dance classes at neighborhood senior and community centers, the YMCA, local colleges or check out private dance studios.

Dance at Home

Get out your old tapes and discs and turn your home into a disco where you can dance away to your heart’s content. You can also download dance music from the Internet. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) has an online Go4Life site that has all kinds of free physical exercise videos and they also have a YouTube Channel.

Music Therapy at Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center Brooklyn, New York

Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center in Brooklyn NY is a 5-star rehabilitation facility that is expertise in stroke rehabilitation, post cardiac surgery exercise, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, palliative care and more plus great entertainment and integrated therapy programs that include music therapy.

Brooklyn Hospitals near Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center

New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital

NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn (formerly named NYU Lutheran Medical Center)

SUNY Downstate Medical Center – University Hospital of Brooklyn

NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County

Maimonides Medical Center


Music and dance therapy programs have amazing benefits for all kinds of health problems like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and stroke. In truth, music benefits everyone.

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