resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Help Patients Achieve Optimal Vitamin D Levels
Much research has been done on vitamin D levels and their impact on health; optimal levels have been correlated with a reduced risk of developing numerous conditions.
5 Ways to Occupy Occupational Health
Despite the progress that has been made to better protect workers, occupational health and safety remains a priority area for many national governmental organizations due to the widespread problem of occupationally related morbidity and mortality.
Managing Patient Expectations About Acupuncture
Last year, I attended the Pacific Symposium in San Diego for the first time in six or seven years. It was the 25th anniversary of this event, and on one evening there was a panel discussion with the title; "What is Qi?."
The Tao of Gender
If you think gender is as simple as having a new client check off the "male" or "female" box on your intake form, we hope this article will expand your understanding and thus the reach of your health care.
Understanding and Identifying Pediatric Growth-Plate Fractures
In general, fractures in children heal well with little intervention as long as the alignment is good. Fractures involving the growth plate, however, are a different issue. In fact, growth-plate injuries are the primary reason for the subspecialty of pediatric orthopedics.
Transparency and Accountability: Q&A With the CCE
Every profession needs an organization dedicated to upholding the quality and integrity of its degree programs and educational institutions.
The X Factor in Clinical Research: The Patient
It was the great baseball legend, former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra – he of countless aphorisms, each with a mind-bending twist – who once declared, "You can observe a lot by watching."
Pulse Diagnosis: What We Know
I am still finding pearls of wisdom from the books and papers that I inherited from my pulse diagnosis mentor Jim Ramholz.
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
Jingei Diagnosis: An Effective and Powerful Diagnostic
I graduated from the Kotatama Institute under the direction of Drs. Masahilo and Katsuharu Nakazono in 1984. As a student, I was exposed to the practice of most of the various theories and modalites of Oriental Medicine.
The Wonders of Light Therapy: An Interview with Wes Burwell
I first met Wes Burwell in 2011 when he was teaching a class on light. Since then, every time I hear him speak, his understanding of the benefits, function and capacity of light has evolved.
To The Finish Line With the Help of TCM
When acupuncturist Eddy De Smedt pursued a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine, he knew he wanted to make a difference.
Lime Jello on Morphine
Taste is in the eyes... actually the mouth... of the beholder. My food preferences have changed, lightening from the food of my youth. My parents loved heavy eastern European cuisine and I loved it as a child. Now I enjoy leaner, healthier whole foods.
Saying No to Medicine
An interesting article recently appeared in Men's Journal titled "When to Say No to Your Doctor." The article begins with the summary statement above and effectively arms readers with information that will help them "take more responsibility for your own health care, because you can't be sure anyone else is.
AOMA Strengthens Leadership Team
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a leading college of acupuncture & herbal medicine, announced the appointment of Donna LaPoint Hurta, MBA as the new VP of Finance & Operations this Fall.
Simple Ways To Find True Happiness
Patients in our clinics are always seeking happiness. As their health advocate, we need to ensure we inform them that in order to find happiness, they have to make sure to identify what makes them happy in the first place.
Managing Today's Fertility Patient
I recently received an email from one of my fertility patients: "Got my lab results back. FSH is 11, AMH is 0.7. My doctor said these numbers aren't good. I guess I'm infertile. Just as a thought. Just set up an appointment to speak with an adoption agency."
Healing With TCM at San Quentin State Prison
For the prisoners at San Quentin State Prison, life-sentences are the reality of every day life. It is not often that prisoners get the opportunity to use alternative medicine to deal with common ailments they encounter behind bars such as, depression, anxiety and pain.
The Heart Protector
On the physical level, the Pericardium is a double-layered sac of fibrous tissue that envelops the Heart. The space between the layers is filled with serous fluid that protects the Heart from external shock or trauma and lubricates to allow for normal Heart movement.
Web Marketing: Content Is King
Google's sweeping updates to its search algorithms over the past few years have brought a paradigm shift in how you can optimize your chiropractic website to gain maximum marketing leverage.
Blaming the Gluteus Medius, Overlooking the Deltoid
The gluteus medius (Gmed) is commonly written about, strengthened and blamed for many conditions, and rightfully so. After all, the Gmed plays a role in pelvic stability, hip motor control and lower-quarter dynamic movements.
June, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 06
Is Dancing a Way To Beat Alzheimer's?
By Sharon Puszko, PhD, LMT
We all know that dance is fun. Even those of us with two proverbial "left feet" have a hard time resisting the universal foot-tap or leg-shake when certain music comes on. As it turns out, that involuntary physical response to music is deeply rooted in our evolution as human beings.Examining the relationship between music and dance takes us back to the beginning of both. Researchers today believe that dance began as an early form of communicating, before our vocal chords were sophisticated enough to produce any type of language. In its earliest form, "dance" consisted of hand clapping and foot-stomping, to create a pattern or rhythm. People began attaching things to their arms or legs (beads, shells) that made noise when they moved to help keep tempo and voila! music was born. Of course, it wasn't that simple or quick, but the point I am trying to make is that music and dance have been instrumental to the evolution of our species. Our emotional and physical response to both are not things we should fight or restrain, but rather embrace as a necessary and healthy element of who we are. In addition to making us feel good or keeping us active, examining the science of dance can also help us as practitioners.
An article in Scientific American caught my attention when researching this topic, because it discussed what happens in the brain when people are dancing, or observing dance. A team of researchers at University College London conducted a study to examine the brain activity in dancers observing others dance. In particular, they wanted to know if the brain would show a difference in activity when the dancer watched their own specialty and when they watched another form of dance. For example, would the brain of a tap dancer react differently when that person watches someone else tap dancing, versus someone else break-dancing. According to their results: "Investigators have found that when people watch simple actions, areas in the premotor cortex involved in performing those actions switch on, suggesting that we mentally rehearse what we see - a practice that might help us learn and understand new movements. Researchers are examining on how widely humans rely on such imitation circuits. The ability to rehearse a movement in your mind is indeed vital to learning motor skills."
Therefore, the brain of tap dancers watching someone tap reacts differently than when they watch someone break-dance, because tap is what their body and brain has spent the most time learning. It would be helpful to take the results of this study and apply them to massage therapy, since it is also a so-called motor skill. In essence, when we observe someone else giving a massage, we are unconsciously rehearsing the moves in our mind. While actually practicing massage is the best way to teach and learn, this provides evidence that observation also is a valid and useful teaching tool.
Speaking of learning, I came across an article that spoke about the evidence that dancing helps protect against dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. In this study, researchers wanted to see if any physical or cognitive recreational activities influenced mental acuity . They had seniors aged 75 and older participate in certain activities (reading, doing crossword puzzles, bicycling, swimming, golfing and dancing), and measured the reduced risk of dementia these activities produced. The results were surprising: bicycling, golf and swimming offered no protection, the mental activities offered minimum protection, and dance offered the greatest protection of all. They theorize that because dancing - in particular, the freestyle social dancing most seniors participate in - requires rapid-fire, split-decision making skills, it increases our cognitive reserve and builds new neural pathways.
By increasing the number of neural pathways, we are providing our brain with multiple ways to access information, instead of just one way. The key finding here was that teaching yourself how to do anything differently, or learning anything new - whether or not it be dance - helps build these neural pathways, which in the long run, will keep your mind more healthy. I found it fascinating that dancing, an activity that is so much fun, not only makes you physically more healthy, but can also make your smarter.
Another article discussed the theory that dance can serve as a type of falls-prevention tool among the elderly. The results of one study conducted in Italy concluded that an exercise program consisting of dance improved balance among the elderly, which ultimately can help reduce the number of age-related falls. I do not think I need to spend much more time discussing the physical benefits of dancing. We all know it is a fun way to exercise and can help lower blood pressure, improve coordination and balance, lower bad cholesterol levels, and help lower the risk of coronary heart disease. However, did you know that dancing can provide an alternative to the monotony of weight lifting? According to the American Council on Exercise, in addition to being an aerobic activity, dancing is also a weight-bearing sport, with your body weight serving as the load. Therefore, you can salsa or line dance, and build bone density at the same time!
There are psychological benefits to dancing, too. "Engaging in regular physical activity, like dancing, is an important component of overall health and well-being - including psychological health. We know that physical activity helps to alleviate some of the physiological symptoms of depression and the benefits of exercise can help combat the negative impacts of stress. In fact, research has proven that dancing can act as a natural anti-depressant. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter related to mood, and dance has been found to raise serotonin levels in people with depression, which is what anti-depressants are designed to do," said Dr. John Stachula, a professor of psychology at St. Ambrose University. "It can be especially important for people suffering from isolation or loneliness because it also creates a venue for interaction with others because of the intrinsically social nature of dance. This is why it is both a popular and beneficial activity among singles or the elderly: it provides that social connection we desire, and need, to live healthy, satisfying lives." These statements bring me back to the theory that dance and music evolved as an early form of language. Maybe this is why our brain responds so strongly to dance; because we have been hard-wired to associate it with communication and expression for thousands of years.
Whether your preference be tango, tap or line dancing, if you enjoy it, do it. It will tone your body and mind. In the long run, dancing will help you more than you realize, so keep it up as long as you can. And if you wake up sore after a night out dancing, just call one of your colleagues to give you a massage!
Sharon Puszko is the owner/director/educator for Day-Break Geriatric Massage Institute. She may be contacted at
or through her Web site: www.daybreak-massage.com.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.