It’s nothing new that dancing is good for you on many different levels, and if you’re already a dancer, I’m sure you know that it works your muscles as well as your brain, not to mention raising your endorphin levels and helping release that feel good hormone that we all enjoy after dancing. But the exciting development is that conventional medicine is slowly waking up to the fact that dancing, and especially belly dancing, is so good that it’s worth prescribing on the NHS.
Dancing has previously not been rated as ‘proper exercise’ and I remember a student of mine telling me that it wasn’t on the nurses ‘tick sheet’ when she came in for her health check, where as more conventional exercise forms such as aerobics, swimming, cycling etc. obviously was. But the tide has turned and it was in the news already last year that the NHS would soon be able to prescribe dance classes as a way to help people combat everything from high blood pressure to depression.
The NHS even has a beginners belly dance class on their website as a way to get people moving.
But what got me truly excited was when I was asked to join the College of Medicine‘s Harmony in Health project – which takes it’s inspiration from the HRH Prince of Wales’ vision as set out in his book: Harmony; a new way of looking at our world. Little did I know that soon several hundred GP’s would be introduced to belly dancing and it’s many benefits at their recent conference at the London College of Medicine!
The responds was extremely positive. The room was buzzing and everyone got up and tried their best at shimmies, horizontal figures of 8s and taqs under the leadership of Dr. Eleni Tsiompanou, a dance student of mine. Feedback included comments like “I loved it” and “I which we could have done more.” Well, maybe soon they can…
I look forward to be joining the next Harmony in Health meeting in London later this month to discuss how dance, movement and music can be used to promote better heath for all. I am hoping this will help demystify belly dancing and make it more sociably acceptable as a way to keep fit; physically, mentally and possibly even spiritual – but also very much so it can be appreciated as the art form it is. It won’t be the solution to the entire nations’ bad health issues, but if it can help some people become fitter, happier and of course more bodily aware, then I can’t wait to start investing some more time into this project.
You can read more about my thoughts about how belly dance can benefit the body in many ways in my previous published article: Health, Harmony and Belly Dance
Have you experienced belly dancing benefiting you more than on just the physical level? Or do you think your dancing is mainly having a mental benefit by getting you out and experiencing something fun with fellow dancers? Is it maybe a moving meditation for you? How do you feel – if at all – that dancing helps your connect with your own body? Has belly dancing ever become spiritual for you? This is a topic that divides many, but looking at the scared origins of this ancient dance form it’s not something that should be dismissed.
I am a firm believer that belly dancing can have many different benefits to many different people, and over time this may change as our personal needs and circumstances change too. I have experienced this myself, but also witnessed and head a lot of amazing stories from my students over the year. But I always want to hear more! Please feel free to message me direct or leave a comment below. I’d be very interested in hearing your take on this.
Happy, holistic and harmonious dancing aways 😉
Did you miss my last post? Read it here: The psychology of dance