A New Government Initiative Proves It: Dance Heals
It’s a cliché because it’s true.
Doctors in the United Kingdom will soon be able to prescribe dance classes or other artistic experiences to patients suffering anything from mental health struggles to lung conditions, according to The Times. This initiative, which the British government is calling “social prescribing,” is one part of a new preventive health strategy in the UK that will educate general practitioners on guiding patients toward treatment in the form of experiencing or participating in the arts.
Y’all already know how dance changes and improves lives. And the research supports this idea: A study conducted in south London found that dance workshops helped young adults at risk of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other mental health challenges. Another research study found that practicing partnered dance reversed some symptoms of cerebellar ataxia (an extremely serious brain disorder) in a patient who’d had the disease for 15 years.
A similar program was announced in Montréal
in October, allowing patients to visit the city’s Museum of Fine Arts for free. Next, we’re hoping our own stateside government will put similar faith (and funding!) behind the healing powers of dance and the other arts. After all, as British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, “We should value the arts because they’re essential to our health and wellbeing. Access to the arts improves people’s mental and physical health. It makes us happier and healthier.” One more time for the legislators in the back!