Mind, Body & Spirit – Exploring the Joy Superpower of Dance, Movement, and Well-being

dance therapy

Did you know that throughout history, music and dance have been used consistently as tools for healing and health (refers to as arts health) similar to the way that pharmacology and therapies are used today? Dance has also been used as a form of communication and entertainment, and as a way of bonding and expressing emotions.


Dance Movement Therapy is one of the many creative arts therapies. At the intersection of science and art resides the ever-evolving field of dance/movement therapy. It is a psychotherapeutic use of body movements on music that according to scientists produces transformations in emotional, mental, and physical state.

Do I need some dance skills in order to participate in DMT? NO!!!! 🙂 It meets diverse needs and can be beneficial to anyone facing life challenges.

How does dance therapy differ from the ordinary dance?

People who use dance therapy in a treatment use movement to communicate conscious and unconscious feelings through dance. The therapist responds to movements, assesses body language, nonverbal behaviors, and emotional expressions to develop interventions to meet the patient’s specific needs.

Movement is the main way in which dance therapists observe, evaluate and implement a therapeutic intervention.

“Dance teachers take a directive approach, while dance/movement therapists clinically intervene using a patient’s personal movement repertoire.”

Psychologists say that dance is a primary reaction to rhythm and music, and psychiatrists stimulate, through dance, the instincts of people with mental illness, to put them in touch with themselves, beyond verbal communication.



Dancing can be a way to stay fit for people of all ages, shapes, and sizes.

  • In terms of physical health, it can help with chronic pain, obesity, improve joint mobility, muscle coordination, and relaxation or strengthen the immune system.
  • In terms of mental health, the advantages stretch far wide. For instance, it can increase self-confidence; improve social skills; help express the most intimate emotions; reduce and eliminate stressful feelings of isolation, loneliness, anxiety, depression, anger and sadness.

Also called movement psychotherapy, there is no single dance style used in this therapy. Programs range from traditional dances to more subtle forms of movement such as yoga and stretching, to relax the body.

Dance and young people

For teens, dance therapy really helps with self-expression and self-awareness. They can use it as a nonverbal way to communicate with others. In the end, those who engage in dance therapy typically develop a realistic and positive self-image. This positive self-image helps them battle different types of mental illnesses.

Dance and older people

Dance appears to be an ideal physical activity for older people, as it combines cardiovascular exercise with strength, balance and flexibility. Participants may also prefer dancing over other physical activities because they may enjoy moving to music and the social aspect of partner or creative dance.

Dance and disabled people

Despite a large number of barriers to dance for disabled people, including attitudinal, logistic, and aesthetic barriers, it appears that dance can significantly improve the flexibility of disabled participants, which may have a positive impact on daily functioning and mobility for those with physical disabilities.

A growing body of research indicates that dance can especially improve the condition of adolescents experiencing anxiety, trauma patients, the elderly with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson´s.

NOTE: Dance therapy is already used in many hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers, with many types of patients, including children, adults, and the elderly, where the work of a traditional therapist is combined with a deep knowledge of the body and how movement is connected to well-being.

Dancing is normal … at any age, it’s a joy, a release, it’s a celebration of life, so dance, dance, dance for a happy and healthy life!

Have you heard of Dance Therapy before? Do you think is it something worth trying? Share your thoughts down below or on social media with the hashtag #joysuperpowers. Don’t forget to tune in next week for our new podcast episode with the wonderful dance therapist Erica Hornthal!

Join the discussion

Further reading