Conscious dance: perceived benefits and psychological well-being of participants

Article


Laird, Kelsey T., Vergeer, Ineke, Hennelly, Sarah and Siddarth, Prabha. 2021. "Conscious dance: perceived benefits and psychological well-being of participants." Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2021.101440
Article Title

Conscious dance: perceived benefits and psychological well-being of participants

ERA Journal ID13314
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsLaird, Kelsey T. (Author), Vergeer, Ineke (Author), Hennelly, Sarah (Author) and Siddarth, Prabha (Author)
Journal TitleComplementary Therapies in Clinical Practice
Journal Citation44
Article Number101440
Number of Pages9
Year2021
PublisherElsevier
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1744-3881
1873-6947
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2021.101440
Web Address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1744388121001390
Abstract

Background: Meta-analyses suggest that dance has potential to decrease psychological distress, increase trait mindfulness, and enhance quality of life. Conscious dance can be defined as unchoreographed, intentionally nonevaluative mindful movement commonly practiced in a group setting for purposes of authentic self-expression, self-discovery, interpersonal connectedness, and personal healing or growth.

Objective: To assess perceived effects of conscious dance practice (e.g., Ecstatic Dance, 5Rhythms) and examine associations between frequency/duration of practice and psychological well-being among participants.

Methods: Self-identifying adult conscious dancers completed a survey (N = 1003; mean age = 47 years; 52% from the U.S; 78% White; 73% female).

Results: Conscious dancers with ≥5 years of practice had significantly higher trait mindfulness and life satisfaction compared to newer practitioners. More frequent practice (≥once per week) was associated with higher trait mindfulness. A strong majority of participants endorsed experiences consistent with mindfulness (i.e., feeling 'more present in my body'; 99% of the sample) and psychological flow ('I felt like I was ‘in the zone’ or ‘in the flow’ of things'; 93% of the sample) during conscious dance. Among participants endorsing any of five stress-related health conditions, the majority reported therapeutic effects (i.e., that conscious dance 'helped them cope' with the condition). Therapeutic effects were most consistently reported by individuals with depression or anxiety (96% endorsement), followed by those with a trauma history (95%), chronic pain (89%),and history of substance abuse or addiction (88%). For all conditions except addiction, therapeutic effects were associated with greater experiences of psychological flow during dance, and the magnitude of these effects was large (Cohen’s d range: 1.0–2.3).

Conclusion: Individuals who engage in conscious dance report that these practices help them to cope with stress-related health conditions. Participants reporting longer duration or greater frequency of practice scored higher on measures of psychological well-being. The feasibility and efficacy of conscious dance for improving well-being among individuals naïve to these approaches will be important to determine in future research.

Keywordsecstatic dance, 5rhythms, meditation, open floor, movement medicine, soul motion, contact improv, biodanza, journey dance, Azul, Nia, dancing mindfulness, authentic movement, dancing freedom, trance dance, chakradance
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020520399. Clinical and health psychology not elsewhere classified
520107. Sport and exercise psychology
420899. Traditional, complementary and integrative medicine not elsewhere classified
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsUniversity of California, United States
Centre for Health Research
Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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