Dance and Music Therapy

Music and Dance are not only very important art forms but also deeply rooted in the Indian culture. However in the recent years, music and dance have also been used to treat various psychological and physiological illnesses.

Dance and music therapy have been formally established in the twentieth century. Before this, there have been anecdotal evidences of how music and dance help a person suffering from an illness of either mind or body, but since the 1950s there have been efforts to make these evidences more descriptive and experimental.

Dance Therapy

For many years dance has been a medium to convey emotions and stories across the audience. Today its therapeutic affects benefit a multitude of people. Many dance forms are used as a therapy e.g. Indian classical, Modern, Cotemporary and they are employed to treat diseases like dyslexia, joint pains, Parkinson’s. Dance is also known to increase concentration levels.

In Indian classical dance, the dancers tap their feet against the ground and this aspect is often utilized by therapists as a form of acupressure therapy.

Patients of schizophrenia are prescribed dance therapy because it enables them to express their feelings in movements rather than words. Dance therapy is also widely used to help patients deal with several types of trauma like abandonment, sexual abuse, loss, grief, pain. Studies have also shown that dance therapy helps patients suffering from depression and anxiety.

The modern advent of technology has imposed a slew of stressors into our lives. One of stressor is the need to always look best, which in turn has led to increase in eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. Dance promotes the dialogue between the body and mind and create a balance. The dance therapy of Blanche Evan which mobilizes the interaction between psyche and the body through a range of discrete dance movements.

Ayurveda holds dance as a power of healing (therapy) and inner awareness (psychology). Forms of dance like Bhangra (Punjab), Karagam (Tamilnadu), Chou, Rayabese, Dhali (West Bengal) is known to promote good health and strength. The fast footwork of Kathak dance helps to release anger and tension, also used to relieve stress. Manipuri dancers make rounded movements and avoid any jerks, sharp edges or straight lines. This often translates to proper body control and peace of mind.

Music therapy

Humans found out many ways to communicate his thoughts. Music is one such brilliant innovation he found to express his emotions as well as passing messages (like Daasa pada’s, Meera’s songs and Sufi songs etc) to the society. In the course of time, by producing rhythmic way of telling the words, systematically he started collecting different sounds and named it as ragas (as concerned to Indian classical music). If we consider music history of India, we do observe lot of different forms of music. At the same time, he realized strength of the music as a therapy for certain health condition specially with respect to the neurological functions. Even though earlier it was observed that, by listening to different ragas (like Todi raga), person who was suffering from psychological problems like anxiety and depression was getting relief, but it was not clear how it was helping the person. Now by understanding neuronal functions scientists are trying to understand the connection between music and brain function specially with respect to the emotions.

At the same time, training the child specially who has autism and like disorders, will help to improve the cognitive function. This is because, at the time of learning, person will do multi-tasking like singing, putting the talas by keeping the memory of the raga. And during singing in the group, person has to synchronize his voice with others. So, this will improve his listing capacity.

Conclusion

Overall dance and music have become integral part of the human life. Earlier it was just restricted to performing and enjoying purpose. But at present condition, these two forms of art has become stress reliefer as well as treatment for certain neurological abnormal functions.  

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