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Dance can be an effective form of therapy

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7/28/2015

In recent years, as access to therapy of all kinds has become more widely available, the perception that it can be hard, slow, and painful has slowly stripped away. That's because more professionals in the industry are looking to make things like occupational or physical therapy fun with a number of unique methods, such as designing video games for patients, or making games for them to play. One that has recently been highlighted as potentially being effective for many patients is as simple as a dance lesson.

A 37-year-old woman in Bismarck, North Dakota, suffered a stroke earlier this year and has been going through what would usually be described as a difficult recovery process in a surprising way, according to a report from the Bismarck Tribune. She has been taking a kind of occupational and physical therapy that involves dancing in ballet slippers.

What's the story?
The woman, Angie Neigum, was living her normal life as owner of a small dance studio in Bismarck, when one day everything changed, the report said. The stroke took a woman with decades of dance experience to being unable to perform even the most basic physical tasks.

"I was getting my daughters ready for school one morning, and, during breakfast, it immediately felt like I was in the middle of a tornado," Neigum told the newspaper. "Everything was spinning, I fell over and could not regain my composure. I could not understand what was going on. It was like vertigo times 10 million. It felt as though my eyes were being shaken like dice. There was nothing for me to grasp to gain control of the situation. ... It didn't seem real. It was the last thing I could have ever thought was wrong with me."

One might not consider ballet a great way to recover from a stroke, but occupational therapists can utilize this and other methods to aid in the healing process.One might not consider ballet a great way to recover from a stroke, but therapists can utilize this and other methods to aid in the healing process.

The road to recovery
After a six-week hospital stay, Neigum began outpatient treatments three days a week, the report said. In just a few months, she has been able to put aside the walker she needed to get around during that period, and is now beginning to dance her way to recovery. Shawna Wing, Neigum's occupational therapist, says that her patient is incredibly motivated to recover not only for herself, but also for her young children and so that she can return to work as soon as possible. The fact that she is so young might help her in this regard, and her goal right now is to end therapy before the beginning of August and be ready to return to her dance studio full-time a month or so after that.

This just goes to show that occupational or physical therapy can take on many forms, all of which can significantly aid in the recovery process and be tailored to a person's preferences and lifestyles. The more therapists can do to help this process along and allow their patients to feel better about their chances for getting back to 100 percent quickly, and in a way that doesn't seem too much like drudgery, the better off all involved are likely to be.



Reflectx Staffing Services  7/28/2015

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