Dance may actually help people with movement disorders, Elizabeth Tracey reports


It seems counterintuitive. Many people who have trouble with movement, such as those with Parkinson’s disease or who’ve had a stroke, may experience a lot of improvement in their ability to move by dancing. That’s just one way the arts can improve our health, says Susan Magsamen, director of the Arts+Mind lab at Johns Hopkins and coauthor of a new book called “Your Brain on Art.”

Magsamen: We know definitively that dance helps people with Parkinson’s disease and stroke and other motor-based challenges. That it helps to improve gait, and sleep, and mood. We’re seeing that light and sound can alter the progression of dementia, that pain, chronic pain, things like headache, can be managed by dance and even virtual reality, and many other things related to physical and mental health.  :25

Magsamen and coauthor Ivy Ross hope “Your Brain on Art” will bring awareness to the many benefits of the arts with regard to our health and wellbeing, and help bolster efforts to employ them more widely. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.