Dance therapy treats emotional problems with dance.
Dancing goes back to primitive times, and magical powers have been attributed to it. When a witch doctor dances, it is to exorcise evil spirits from the sick person. I read that during the Middle Ages people even danced to avoid the plague. The Tarantella of Italy is believed to have originated after a poisonous spider's bite caused tarantism, and the cure for it was a jumping dance. Today's dance therapy evolved from the age-old idea that dancing has the power to cure. These days, dance therapists are mental health professionals, who treat problems such as neurosis, psychosis, and even alcoholism with the dance. Dancing is a primal response to rhythm and music, so the dance therapist uses dancer's techniques to put the patient in touch with himself. A psychiatrist, of course, talks a patient through his problems, while a dance therapist uses the non-verbal, movement oriented techniques.
In dance therapy, the patient is made aware of his feelings through sensation and movement. Emotional problems and conflicts become concrete this way, they say. By integrating body and mind, the goal of dance therapy is to build the self-esteem and self-identity of an emotionally ill person.
The American Dance Therapy Association was founded in 1966. Its aim was to establish criteria for professional education and competence in this highly specialized area. The result of this is that there are now standardized procedures based on the present-day knowledge of the human nervous system and psyche, and of dance.
It is known that each one of our five senses sends messages to our brain through the nerves. And we react accordingly. In a nutshell, we jump for joy when we're happy about something, we slump when we are sad. That is body language. When the body doesn't react to the messages of the brain, we may blow an emotional fuse, and withdraw.
In Dance Therapy, patients are taught to act out hidden hurts. It is believed that acting out past hurts and frustrations can help the individual come to terms with his emotional problems and thus, learn to deal with them.
A Dance Therapy session consists of a small group, observed by a therapist. Sometimes, patients sit on the floor at the start, and as appropriate music plays, they keep time by striking beaters, in actuality bamboo reeds, against the floor. This is to help release hostility. Or daily routines are acted out, to the music. Finally the group begins to move around the room by walking, running, hopping, jumping, skipping, sliding, and leaping.
Then, patients learn how to re-establish contact with themselves by touching. First they touch their own hair, eyes, ears, lips, limbs, etc., then partners are selected and they are encouraged to touch each other's parts. Basically, these exercises lead to movements of varying tempo, dynamics and rhythm.
The purpose of all the various dance rituals and movements is to help patients participating gain new insights into themselves. And the session usually ends with a group hug, to create an atmosphere of love and acceptance.
Dance Therapy has been found very effective for people living out their lives in nursing homes. By providing opportunities for freedom of expression through movement, many of these old people regain more positive attitudes about themselves.
Although Dance Therapy is still a fairly new practice, it is known that it can provide an emotional release for pent-up, repressed feelings, and as a result, the patient may be sent on the road to improved mental health. And for the average person, putting on some music and dancing around in the kitchen, is not only great therapy, it's also fun!
A baby's feet grow very rapidly in the first year of life. The development of your baby's feet is very important as it can cause physical problems if they are not allowed to develop properly. It is extremely important that your baby wear soft soled shoes if you choose to put them on him or her at all.
Pediatricians now recommend baby's under two years of age do not wear rigid and restrictive shoes. Barefoot is actually best and is optimal for proper foot and muscular development. You may be tempted to abide by the rules our parents used, in that more support for a developing foot the better. But don't get caught up in that old way of thinking! Foot specialists will agree! It's not true at all, that more support is better, and that line of thinking can actually cause damage your baby's foot! Foot problems can lead to knee and hip problems as well, so it is very important to not inhibit the growth of your baby's feet in any way.
The human foot is made up of 26 small bones. A baby's foot is much different from an adult's as it is very flat and much more flexible. A misconception is that a baby has no arches in their feet. This is untrue. The soles of a baby's foot is usually padded with fat and this hides their arches until about age 3 when they will become much more prevalent and you will actually be able to see them.
The most desired thing in your baby's development is to let them go barefoot. This is really the best thing you can do for their foot development. For beginning walkers socks with non skid bottoms are ideal. Once your baby is walking all over the place soft soled shoes are highly recommended by parents and pediatricians. Soft soled shoes are usually made out of natural materials and look like booties. They offer plenty of protection for growing feet though and are much better for growing babies feet than traditional hard soled shoes. The rule of thumb when buying shoes for your child under 3 is you should be able to bend them by squeezing them in one hand. If this is not easy to do then the shoes may be too restrictive and because your babies problems with foot development as well as walking! Shoes that don't fit properly keep our baby from learning to walk properly. Ideally you want you beginner walker to be able to feel the ground with his toes. The toes grasping action helps with learning to walk. Too much support in a baby's shoes can actually damage their feet as cartilage can be actually be bent out of place and you might not even know it.
Soft soled shoes are perfectly safe. They are protective of a baby's delicate foot but not restrictive at all. A good rule of thumb to follow when your baby is wearing shoes, is if they are leaving any kind of marks on their skin they do not fit correctly and are too restrictive. It's hard to tell what is comfortable in small children as they can't always communicate how they feel, but this is just a common sense approach.
Soft soled shoes can actually help your baby walk better as they will not fall down as much and they will be able to feel the ground beneath them while learning to walk. This offers more balance and support than any shoe can!
You can find soft soled shoes in many department stores or online for about $10-$25 a pair. They are well worth the investment to insure your child's feet will develop properly and uninhibited.
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