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What Are the Benefits of Movement Therapy?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 17, 2024
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Movement therapy offers a number of physical and emotional benefits to participants. Though dance therapy is one of the most common types, simple stretching exercises or yoga sessions can also be an important aspect of movement therapy for people with significantly limited mobility. One of the most important benefits of this type of therapy is improvement in physical ability; people might experience greater coordination, strength, and flexibility, which are important for people of all ages. The emotional benefits of movement and/or dance therapy are numerous as well. Many participants state that it allows them to express themselves and have fun in a nonthreatening environment.

There are a number of different groups of people who may experience the benefits of movement therapy. Senior citizens experiencing decreased mobility may find this therapy very helpful. Kids, or people of any age, with certain mental illnesses or developmental disabilities may also be benefited by different varieties of movement therapy. Individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for instance, are often helped a great deal by alternative therapies such as this. In some cases, the therapy will be combined with traditional talk therapy or other alternative treatments such as music or art therapy.

The immediate benefits of movement therapy are often physical. When people are encouraged to get up and dance, stretch, or do yoga, this improves their balance and coordination, and may make it easier to simply walk. It may even help to reduce chronic pain in some cases. Over time, this type of exercise can increase strength and overall flexibility. All of these physical benefits reduce the likelihood of future injuries due to falls, and may make it more likely that people will want to continue the therapy because it makes them feel good.

The emotional benefits of movement therapy are important as well. In many cases, these types of alternative therapies allow individuals to express emotions that may be difficult of impossible for them to verbalize. It may help to relieve stress or anxiety, and may even teach them new skills if they are learning to dance. In addition, it helps people to really learn how their bodies work and what they look like; for people suffering from disassociative disorders, or eating disorders that can distort perception, this can be invaluable. Over time, movement therapy may also be able to improve self-esteem and overall self-confidence, in addition to increased awareness and physical health.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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