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Dance for Health

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News November 2013

Wheelchair dancing gains in popularity.

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The popularity of wheelchair dancing continues to rise, and now there’s evidence that it’s not just fun, but good for your health, too.

A short-term scientific study of American DanceWheels Foundation’s Wheel One wheelchair dance curriculum showed that
participants received significant physical and psychological benefits.

The study, a collaboration between American DanceWheels and the Palo Alto (Calif.) Veterans Hospital, was led by principal investigator Minna Hong, PhD.

In July, teachers Melinda Kremer, Robert Hansberry and Aubree Marchione taught the six-week Wheel One program in the San Francisco Bay area. The program covered wheelchair ballroom and Latin dance, including rumba, tango and salsa. More than 30 couples participated.

The participants showed significant gains in strength, coordination and range of motion as well as improved wheelchair skills, confidence and self-image. Some participants reported weight loss.

Researchers are now pursuing a long-term study to further validate the therapeutic advantages of the wheelchair dancing program. Hong hopes to prove that this type of partner dance can also be used for post-traumatic stress disorder among wounded veterans. She is currently seeking publication for her findings in scientific journals.

The study was funded by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Paralyzed Veterans of America and American DanceWheels supporters. To see videos of wheelchair dancing or for more information, visit americandancewheels.org.

 

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