Dance as a treatment for neurological disorders

Ana Lossing, Mary Moore, Micah Zuhl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Dance has been explored as a therapeutic intervention because of its unique combination of exercise, music and cognitive engagement. Dance therapy is a specific form of dance-based treatment that focuses on how movement correlates with psychological aspects such as self-awareness, expression and coordination, which culminate in a mind–body treatment. In recent years, dance-based programmes have been used as an intervention to improve symptoms of neurological diseases/disorders. Positive results have been shown for patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, dementia and depression. The neurological adaptations such as improved neural activity and neurogenesis are induced by the combination of coordinated movement strategies, exercise, musical arrangements and social interactions (partnering). With the continued growth of dance therapy, the purpose of this review is to explain the recently proposed theories of how neural changes are mediated through dance, and discuss the positive effects on those suffering from neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-184
Number of pages15
JournalBody, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017


  • Dance therapy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • dementia
  • depression
  • neurological disorders
  • treatment


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