Finding relief for your fibromyalgia can be a challenge. Although doctors will often prescribe medications to give you fibromyalgia relief, that is usually only part of a broader range of treatment therapies. Most fibro sufferers need to have a list of potential therapies that they use in combination. Dance therapy is one of the more unconventional treatments you might want in your arsenal. Here’s how dance therapy may help you get some relief.
THE BENEFITS OF MOVEMENT
Exercise and movement are great for any chronic pain patients. It may seem like exercise could cause more pain for people who already experience a lot of pain. But the result is actually the complete opposite. It can seem like it’s counterintuitive, but regular exercise has a lot of pain-relieving benefits.
Some of the physical benefits of exercise include the following:
- Improved flexibility, which can help loosen tight or tense muscles
- Increased range of motion, which can make it less painful to do daily activities
- Increased muscle strength
- Improved coordination and balance, which can prevent falls
- You may lose weight, which can put less pressure on your joints
The best exercises are often those which you’ll actually do on a regular basis. In that regard, dance therapy can be a great choice: it’s so much fun that you may hardly notice that you’re also getting a good workout at the same time.
Exercise has benefits for both the mind and the body. Dance therapy, like other types of exercise, has great advantages to promote mental health. Dancing reduces anxiety, helps you to cope more easily with worry. It also produces feel-good chemicals in the brain called endorphins. You may be familiar with the concept from terms like a “runner’s high.” But you don’t need to run or do other high-intensity forms of exercise to get all the good results for your mental health.
Dance therapy has other positive effects on mental health as well. It helps to alleviate depression. It also boosts stress reduction, which can ultimately lead to less pain. Because stress can lead to physical pain, especially in fibromyalgia patients, reducing stress can also reduce pain.
ONE-ON-ONE VS. GROUP DANCE LESSONS
If you don’t know much about dance therapy, you may not be aware that you have multiple different options available. The number of options available can depend on the size of the area where you live, the number of local people with fibromyalgia, and whether or not there are trained dance therapists.
Many people with fibromyalgia have to stay at home a lot and might enjoy more opportunities to be social. For these people, group dance therapy classes can be fun and helpful. Group dance therapy classes can vary in size. Small groups may only include two or three people, while large groups can contain up to 20 participants. This can feel like an enjoyable, social way to get your exercise, which may make you more likely to keep attending classes.
Individual dance therapy is a good option for people who may need more one-on-one attention. Some people with fibromyalgia may have poor coordination or balance and may need more direct assistance. Others may feel self-conscious or anxious in group settings and would prefer the comparative relative privacy of individual work with an instructor. One-on-one classes can also progress at your own pace, depending on your strength and stamina.
HOW TO FIND DANCE THERAPY FOR FIBROMYALGIA
Dance therapy for fibromyalgia may be a well-kept secret in your town. Chances are that you won’t see any billboards for dance therapy along the highway, for example. But if you ask around and put in a little bit of legwork, you may be able to find such opportunities where you live.
A good place to start your search is by asking around at your local hospital or even your doctor’s office. Hospitals often allow therapy groups to meet on their property if they are affiliated with the group, or they may know where such groups meet in your community.
Also, consider calling your local YMCA or community recreation facility. Local fitness groups are sometimes organized through the YMCA and community centers.
If there isn’t any existing dance therapy option for fibromyalgia, consider contacting local dance instructors and ask if they would be willing to develop either a group class or provide one-on-one instruction.