Dance therapy with individuals surviving brain injuries

Dance/movement therapy in the rehabilitation of individuals surviving severe head injuries. 1985. Cynthia F. Berrol PhD, ADTR, and Stephanie S. Katz ADTR. American Journal of Dance Therapy, 1985, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 46-66.

Abstract: “Approximately 700,000 individuals are admitted to hospitals annually as a result of severe brain injuries. Of the survivors, upwards of 70,000 suffer pervasive, long-term disruption of all domains of human function and marked alteration of the quality of life. Effective treatment requires a well-orchestrated multidisciplinary team approach. This paper will address rehabilitation issues in relation to dance/movement therapy. First the pathological consequences of neurotrauma will be reviewed. Likewise, basic mechanisms of recovery, treatment principles and special therapeutic considerations will be addressed. Finally, intervention strategies will be discussed within the context of both group and individual settings and illustrated via case studies.”


Meta-analysis: Effects of dance movement therapy & dance on health-related psychological outcomes

Effects of Dance Movement Therapy and Dance on Health-Related Psychological Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis. 2014. Sabine Koch, Teresa Kunz, Sissy Lykou, & Robyn Cruz. The Arts in Psychotherapy Volume 41, Issue 1, February 2014, Pages 46-64. *Article does not have free open access.


Abstract: “In this meta-analysis, we evaluated the effectiveness of dance movement therapy1 (DMT) and the therapeutic use of dance for the treatment of health-related psychological problems. Research in the field of DMT is growing, and 17 years have passed since the last and only general meta-analysis on DMT (Ritter & Low, 1996) was conducted. This study examines the current state of knowledge regarding the effectiveness of DMT and dance from 23 primary trials (N = 1078) on the variables of quality of life, body image, well-being, and clinical outcomes, with sub-analysis of depression, anxiety, and interpersonal competence. Results suggest that DMT and dance are effective for increasing quality of life and decreasing clinical symptoms such as depression and anxiety. Positive effects were also found on the increase of subjective well-being, positive mood, affect, and body image. Effects for interpersonal competence were encouraging, but due to the heterogenity of the data remained inconclusive. Methodological shortcomings of many primary studies limit these encouraging results and, therefore, further investigations to strengthen and expand upon evidence-based research in DMT are necessary. Implications of the findings for health care, research, and practice are discussed.”
“1: This term includes the practice of dance movement psychotherapy (UK) and dance/movement therapy (USA).”


“Keywords: Dance movement therapy; Therapeutic use of dance; Meta-analysis; Review of evidence-based research; Randomized controlled trials; Integrative medicine.”

Well-being and dance movement therapy interventions (including dance improvisation)

Specific dance movement therapy interventions – which are successful? An intervention and correlation study.
Iris Bräuninger. The Arts in Psychotherapy, Available online 19 August 2014, In Press, Accepted Manuscript. *Article does not have free open access.


•Specific DMT [Dance Movement Therapy] interventions could be identified that relate to the improvement of well-being.
•Dance Improvisation, Spatial and Effort Synchrony, and working with a Focus were effective individual DMT interventions.
•Improvement of QOL [Quality of Life], coping, stress with Psychodynamic, Chace DMT, directive-non-directive Leading and Interpersonal Closure.
•A small number of specific DMT interventions should be used cautiously until further research proves their effectiveness.
•970 intervention checklists on individual and 120 on group DMT interventions were analyzed.”

Abstract: “This intervention study examines the correlation between specific DMT interventions and the improvement in quality of life, stress management, and stress reduction. Dance therapists (N = 11) filled out 970x Intervention Checklist 1 (specific interventions at the individual level) and 120x Intervention Checklist 2 (specific interventions at the group level) while leading 10 sessions. Individual level therapists’ scoring of the Intervention Checklists were correlated with individual level clients’ scoring from the standardized questionnaires of the treatment group (n= 97). Therapists worked successfully when applying a self-selected approach and mixing in-depth DMT approaches and specific interventions. The findings show that a relationship exists between clients’ improvement in Quality of Life, coping, reduction of Stress and the use of Psychodynamic-oriented DMT, Chace approach, a combination of a Directive/Non-Directive Leadership Style, and an Interpersonal Closure. Clients’ Daily Life improved and Somatization symptoms decreased when Dance Improvisation, Spatial Synchrony, Synchrony in Efforts and working with a Focus were used. Results indicate that specific DMT interventions could be identified that relate to the improvement of well-being while some single DMT interventions should be used cautiously until further research proves their effectiveness. There is a continuing need to identify successful specific DMT interventions in future studies.”

Physical activity in preventing and managing Alzheimer’s disease

The Role of Physical Activity in the Prevention and Management of Alzheimer’s Disease—Implications for Ontario. Ontario Brain Institute. (2013).

“Approach: To better understand how physical activity can contribute to the prevention and management of Alzheimer’s disease, 871 research articles were reviewed. After closer inspection and quality scoring, 24 randomized control trials and 21 prospective cohort studies examining physical activity and Alzheimer’s disease were selected for further analysis.

“Results: Within older adults with Alzheimer’s disease, regular physical activity improved quality of life (QOL), activities of daily living (ADL), and decreased the occurrence of depression. In older adults without Alzheimer’s disease, those who were very physically active were almost 40% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as those who were inactive. At the population level, it was observed that more than 1 in 7 cases of Alzheimer’s disease could be prevented if everyone who is currently inactive were to become physically active at a level consistent with current activity recommendations. On this basis, potential cost-savings (~$88 to $970 million CDN per year) in healthcare for community-dwelling older adults with Alzheimer’s disease are substantial.” (page 2)

Effects of dance on well-being in older persons

Effects of dance on physical and psychological well-being in older persons. Elsie Hui , Bo Tsan-keung Chui, Jean Woo, 2009, Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics Volume 49, Issue 1, July–August 2009, Pages e45–e50.

“This study was aimed at determining the effects of dancing on the health status of older persons. A pool of 111 community-dwelling subjects were allocated to either an intervention group (IG), which included 23 sessions of dance over 12 weeks, or a control group (CG). All participants were assessed at baseline and 12 weeks. Physical outcome measures included the 6-min timed walking test (6MWT), trunk flexibility, body composition, lower limb endurance and strength, balance, the timed up-and-go test (TUG), resting heart rate and blood pressure. Quality of life was assessed by the Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form (SF-36) questionnaire. The IG’s views toward dancing were also evaluated at 12 weeks. Significant difference was observed between the groups in six outcome measures: mean change in resting heart rate, 6MWT, TUG, lower limb endurance and the ‘general health’ and ‘bodily pain’ domains of SF-36. The majority of the dance group felt the intervention improved their health status. These findings demonstrate that dancing has physical and psychological benefits, and should be promoted as a form of leisure activity for senior citizens.”