Dance for rehabilitation after stroke
Updated: Nov 21, 2022
People often ask how dance is better than any other form of exercise. This article talks about the contribution of different senses to carrying out precise, controlled movements. Much more brain activity is involved than a simple motor command. Sensory input is essential to work out what our body's doing in relation to its environment so that we can plan the movement and to control and adjust the movement as we're doing it.
In the study, the authors demonstrate that combined sensory-motor training is more effective than simply stimulating muscle use in the rehabilitation of stroke patients. Many experiments show that stimulation of the senses reinforces brain connections to make the motor commands stronger: music or light touch can improve muscular force! Many techniques have been developed to take advantage of these brain-connections : Bobath, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF), Rood, Cognitive-Motor, Music-based and Sensory-Motor based training.
Dance not only involves all body parts, thus enhancing sensory information flow from internal and external receptors to the brain, but also requires that we move to music, thus using all of the brain systems involved in auditory, balance and rhythmic processes. Dance also has the added advantage of being fun! The Click & Dance website provides gently progressively complex steps that patients can do with their carers.