Can you dance your way out of depression? There is some evidence that dancing is effective in relieving the symptoms of depression. Although formal studies have been limited on this, there was a recent, small study done that showed that a small group of participants who took salsa dancing classes for nine weeks showed significantly lower depression scores after completing their classes. Would these results apply only to salsa dancing or do all types of dancing have some positive treatment benefit for depression?
There are a variety of reasons why dancing might be effective treatment for depression. Brisk physical exercise has been shown to increase a group of brain biochemicals associated with maintaining a sense of well being. Certainly, fast paced dancing would qualify as an activity that could have a positive effect on brain chemistry.
In addition, the depressed people who participated in the salsa dancing study may have had their self esteem boosted by learning a new skill. This may have had some positive effect on their symptoms of depression. Plus, the simple process of interacting with the other participants on a social basis may have been somewhat therapeutic. Depressed people often isolate themselves socially which may further contribute to their symptoms of depression.
If you have a history of depression and are seeking an alternative treatment independent of prescription medications, you may want to consider signing up for a dance class in your area. Although salsa dancing was the mode of dance used in this study, there are other forms of fast paced dance that may have a positive impact on brain biochemistry. Plus, dancing is usually enhanced by upbeat, happy music which may also subtly alter brain biochemistry in a positive manner.
Although a dance class would be ideal for the potential treatment of depression due to the social interaction involved, you can also use a dance video at home to help relieve your symptoms. Anything that gets you up off the couch and moving should have a positive effect on the symptoms of depression. Choose a dance video with lively, fast paced music to further help elevate your mood. It’s important that you dance for at least thirty minutes in order to get maximal, mood elevating benefits.
It’s important that you continue your prescription medications for depression, if you were advised to take these by your doctor, but dancing may be an additional, all natural step you can take to further enhance conventional treatment of your depression.