Always love to keep you up with the latest belly dance related scientific research!!
This latest study comes from Brazil where researchers from the Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo studied 80 women with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a disorder where the suffer experiences widespread pain in their muscle and connective tissue, it is often accompanied by issues with depression, anxiety and other stress disorders.
What did they test?
Patients between 18 to 65 years were randomly allocated to a dance group (n=40; mean age= 49.5 years) and control group (n=40; mean age= 49.1 years). Patients in the dance group underwent 16 weeks of belly dance twice a week, while the patients in the control group remained on a waiting list. The patients were evaluated with regard to pain, function, quality of life, depression, anxiety and self-image. Evaluations were carried out at baseline, 16 weeks and 32 weeks by a masked assessor.
What did they find?
The dance group achieved statistically significant improvements for pain, six-minute walk test , Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, self image, emotional aspects and mental health.
What does it mean?
In a nutshell
“Belly dance leads to improvement in pain, sleep pattern, functional capacity and self-image in patients with fibromyalgia. [It is] a safe, effective therapeutic strategy for women with fibromyalgia.”
What I find particularly interesting is that these findings tie in nicely to other recent research I have written about previously on this blog such as the work by Danielle Camilleri from the University of New England that found Belly dance significantly improves one’s body appreciation and image. Personally I am willing to bet that it is not just the benefits of movement and exercise that is the cause for these great results. I bet a dance style like ballet would not produce as significant results in improving a woman’s body image.
Belly dance helps you embrace your curves and quirks, you can be any height, weight or age and still look and feel fabulous. It’s not something you grow out of; you can keep dancing as long as you want to. It’s not like being a female newsreader, where you hit 40 and you are shown the door. You are not suddenly going to be kicked out of class because you had a birthday!!! Regardless of the age you find belly dance I think this is one of the reasons we love it so much, you are allowed to be whoever you happen to be.
Do you have any stories of how belly dance has helped you? Please comment below.
Baptista, A., Villela, A., Jones, A., Natour, J. 2012, Effectiveness of dance in patients with fibromyalgia: a randomized, single-blind, controlled study. Clin Exp Rheumatol. Epub ahead of print Sept 28. http://www.clinexprheumatol.org/abstract.asp?a=5294