Dance Movement Therapy for Chronic Pain

A recently published study suggests that mindfulness based Dance Movement Therapy* is a promising therapy approach for people living with chronic pain.

Chronic pain is now classified by the World Health Organization as a health condition in its own right, recognizing it’s close links with significant emotional distress and it’s interference with the activities of daily life and participation in social roles .

For a body-based condition, such as chronic pain, it seems logical that there may be value in a body–mind intervention with a holistic/creative character, such as Dance Movement Therapy (DMT).

DMT is defined as “the therapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical, spiritual, and social integration of the individual.” It’s core components are somatic awareness and kinesthetic empathy, movement as creative self-expression and dance as non-verbal interaction, and there is growing evidence that this creative body–mind form of psychotherapy may have a positive impact on the psychological states of patients with somatic concerns.

As well as the safe therapeutic environment, which is a key element in all therapy, and the creative process which underpins all DMT, key factors in this approach include mindfulness skills; body awareness; relaxation/releasing; distancing and staying with discomfort; meaning making; self regulation; acceptance and integration, with dance and movement providing a means for self-expression and communication of concerns which might not be expressed verbally.

you can read the full study here

Majore-Dusele Indra, Karkou Vicky, Millere Inga
The Development of Mindful-Based Dance Movement Therapy Intervention for Chronic Pain: A Pilot Study With Chronic Headache Patients
Frontiers in Psychology VOLUME=12 2021

*in the UK the profession is Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP)