The human brain is amazing and unique! Our brains are comprised of billions of organized nerve cells that are precisely connected and contain groups of neurons that govern all behaviors and bodily functions. This essential organ has 100,000 miles worth of blood vessels and yet accounts for only 2 percent of our body weight! Involuntary functions such as circulation, temperature regulation, respiration, and sensory perception are controlled by this neural activity. The brain is the primary center of operation and, as part of the nervous system, it is responsible for our emotions, thoughts, sensations, reasoning, consciousness, cognition, and memory.
While many experience a continuum of healthy brain functioning, there are also many people living with brain disorders caused by illness, genetics, or trauma. Brain afflictions include: brain injuries, brain tumors, neurodegenerative diseases (such as Parkinson’s and dementia), and mental illness. These disorders often result in physical and cognitive disabilities, sensory impairment, and changes in mood, behavior, and personality. Feelings such as frustration, depression, and loss are common for those affected.
Dance/movement therapy (DMT), based on the principle of mind-body connection, engages the sensory systems, and stimulates the physical, emotional, and cognitive areas of functioning simultaneously. This psychotherapeutic modality supports brain health and improves quality of life, as participation enhances coping skills and compensates for sensory deficits. DMT also offers the opportunity for individuals with brain disorders to express their feeling states, regardless of functional level.
Brain Awareness Week is a worldwide campaign coordinated by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, a philanthropic organization that has been committed to educating people of all ages about brain health and advancements in brain research since 1993. Let us honor their mission and move together towards brain wellness!
References and Resources:
- Berrol, C.F. (1992). The neurophysiologic basis of the mind-body connection in dance/movement therapy. American Journal of Dance Therapy, 14(1), 19-29.
- Levy, F.J. (2005). Dance/movement therapy; A healing art (2nd rev ed.). Reston, VA: National Dance Association, an Association of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.
- 15 Things You Didn’t Know About the Brain
- Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives
- Overview of Brain Disorder