Healthy Living

How Dance Impacts the Lives of Those with Parkinson's

How Dance Impacts the Lives of Those with Parkinson's

Brooklyn has been known as one of the most populous boroughs in New York's metropolitan area. This area, teamed with its beautiful parks, flourishing flea and street markets, and grandiose landmarks, is definitely a place that every New Yorker all knows and loves.

However, the most compelling, and probably less known, feature of this borough so far has been its movement to help provide therapy for Parkinson’s patients. In 2001, The Hamilton class was created to help alleviate the pain and discomfort Parkinson’s disease brings.

Dance has been shown to improve many of the symptoms Parkinson's disease brings, and physical activity has actually shown to delay the progress of these symptoms. Even though an active life with Parkinson's is a challenge for many patients, it's  important to understand how being more active can ultimately help your overall health.

How dancing helps Parkinson's disease patients

According to research conducted in London, England by Dr. Sarah Houston of the University of Roehampton, there is a significant impact that dance lessons can have for those with Parkinson’s disease. It has a lot of positive effects on the patients, such as remarkable development on the patient’s physical movement, socialization, and overall well-being.

In fact, Dr. Houston has been awarded the Vitality for Life Prize, a prestigious award from the Bupa Foundation for her outstanding research that has currently helped a lot of patients suffering from the disease. Considering there is no cure yet for the disease, this research is indeed groundbreaking.

Thanks to Dr. Sarah Houston, the patients can live a healthier lifestyle and can lead as quality a life as they can, while also having a little fun.

Understanding Parkinson's disease

But before we go into how these dance classes operate, let's first understand this disease still confounds experts today.

As a kind of neurodegenerative disorder, Parkinson’s disease has affected seven to ten million people all over the world, according to statistics.  The disease affects the brain's neurons, or rather the substantia nigra, which is a structure in the midbrain that is responsible for movement.

People who suffer from this disease experience involuntary trembling or tremor in their hands, arms, or even legs. Their muscles become stiff and eventually, restrict their movement entirely, sometimes even leaving them bound to a wheelchair later on. Over all, it impacts the way patients walk, let alone, run. While this disease doesn't cause the death of a patient, the patient would have it for the rest of their life.

But, there still is hope for those with this neurodegenerative disease. As technology and research advance, methods like these dance classes are developed. While there may not be a cure for the disease yet, patients can use these methods as a means to treat their symptoms to make them a little more bearable.