24 Healing Options for any Illness
24 Healing Options for any Illness

Dance

Exercise and physical activity in general have known benefits for those with Alzheimer's, and dance may be especially beneficial. Dance involves routines and repetitive motions, and performing such movements over and over can help build and strengthen memory. Additionally, dance can help "stretch" the brain in new and interesting ways, which promotes neuronal development and keeps the mind flexible.

Dance is a flexible medium that can be customized to suit the needs of the patient. In addition to its potential cognitive benefits, dance can improve balance and mobility and is a fun form of exercise. It can also be done in groups, giving the opportunity for social interaction and allowing it to serve as a form of non-verbal communication, the latter of which can be especially beneficial for Alzheimer's patients who have trouble communicating through words.

Scientific Studies:

A German study from 2002 investigated the effects of dance on Alzheimer's and depression. Five patients with moderate Alzheimer's and five depression patients of the same age participated in a 12-day dance course. At the end of the study, Alzheimer's patients showed significant improvements in learning, and the authors comment on its potential as a future Alzheimer's therapy.

Dance could be an especially effective treatment for Alzheimer's patients with mobility problems. A case study published in 2013 detailed the treatment of an 84-year-old woman with Alzheimer's who had problems with movement and balance. Physical therapists had her participate in salsa dance sessions twice a week for 12 weeks. At the end of this period, her therapists noted that she "showed improvements in range of motion, strength, balance, functional mobility, gait distance, and speed." The patient only experienced one fall during the course of treatment, and in a follow-up six months later, her caretaker reported no subsequent falls.

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