Dance Has Positive Effects on Depression: Study

Positive young lady in wireless headphones and casual clothes listening to music with pleasure and dancing of sofa in light moDid you know that dancing has positive effects on depression? Studies have found that dancing can help improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote a positive self-image. So, if you’re feeling down, why not give dancing a try? There are plenty of different types of dances to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that suits you. And who knows – maybe you’ll even start to enjoy it!

A new study from the University of Eastern Finland has released an avatar-based dance choreography illustrating the narratives of six study participants regarding their desired future. The hope is that people can find the good in everyday life through dance and that it may help people deal with issues and events through movement without using words.


Senior Researcher Hanna Pohjola found evidence in earlier studies that dance can help free a person from illness and help them see their condition differently. She specifically found that within a dance company where all of its dancers were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the role of the dancer was emphasized, and the disease was reduced to the background.

Pohjola said, “A similar phenomenon can also be seen in our depression study.” The participants identified themselves as dancers first, and dance took priority over other things.”

For the study analyzing the relationship between dance and depression, each participant had a collaboratively produced dance narrative that was based on the participants’ own stories and their narration through dance. Named Minuina (“As Me”) the dance choreography paints a picture of the desired future through movement.

The process of performing a dance to help with depression has not been studied much yet, but this new research is paving the way to understanding more. Researchers hope to hope to learn more about the activation of the mirror neuron system in the brain through dance. Mirror neurons are neurons that react to sounds, movements, expressions and gestures and mimic what another person is doing and feeling. This is why they are also called empathy neurons.

When a person sees a dance genre that is familiar to the viewer, the mirror neuron system is activated. In this study, they were activated by the participants recognizing their own movements being performed by the avatar. This brain activity could offer more insight into how dance could help with mental health and cognition.

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Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.