Is Belly dance the answer to fibromyalgia pain? New scientific study.

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.”

Photo by Claire Collins

My take

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.

Healio 2012

What belly dancers can learn from Justin Beiber.

I know, not a title I ever thought I would write! I have never been a fan of the Beiber and until last night the only songs I had heard of his were “Baby, baby, baby, Ohhh” and various parodies. So it was with some surprise that I found myself watching a small part of a Justin Beiber concert after accidentally discovering it while channel surfing.

Musically, I just don’t know how this boy became so famous, so fast. His voice does nothing for me what-so-ever, and yet he is a superstar. Perhaps he shows off the power and range of his voice in songs I haven’t heard yet and I am judging him harshly??? I don’t know, but what I do know is that boy is a natural entertainer on stage.

He backed himself 100%, he committed to what he was singing.

Jade Belly Dance

I love this picture of my gorgeous dance student Chloe – its her first performance ever and she is totally in the moment!

It is so easy as dancers to just learn the steps and then paste on a wooden smile, particularly in group pieces. Really hearing the music and showing how it makes you feel is whole different game. It is what makes the super stars – otherwise how the hell would Beiber be a house hold name??? 😉

Of course it is easier said than done but keep it in mind next time you are rehearsing a piece. Learn the steps first (or get an idea of what works for the piece if its improv.) and then keep practicing until you are comfortable enough with the music that you can naturally emote. What is the worst thing that can happen? Someone says “wow, you were really into that weren’t you?”. I bet you will get more compliments and be pleasantly surprised when you look at video footage of your next performance. Showing how I feel about dancing is something that I have been working on for a while now and am getting better at it, next performance I will see if the memory of the Beiber concert helps me put on an even better show!

Love to hear if it helps you out! Please comment below!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

Growth in Adversity, Luxor, Egypt.

Lately a lot of people I know have been struggling. Sometimes life throws things your way that can overwhelm you. Obstacles can seem insurmountable. I think it can be the same in life as in dance (belly dance of course 🙂 ). Sometimes one is striving for a  level, a step, a combination, a style that it seems impossible to achieve. Then one day there is a break through – we grow.

Growth in adversity

Palm trees in Egyptian temple, Luxor Egypt.

When I was in Egypt looking at the marvellous temples and edifices, I got fascinated by the plants that managed to survive in such harsh conditions. In the desert, in sites that are heavily trampled by thousands of tourists, a few hardy species hung on to life with an astonishing tenacity.

Even if you are feeling stuck – remember that growth is possible, even if it seems to you that it is against all odds.

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