Tango Therapy for Parkinson's patients - Tango Therapy

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Shaking Palsy - Parkinson's disease

Tango for Parkinson patients

Why is it that tango is exactly the right sport and physical activity to ease the symptoms of Parkinson's sufferers?


Basically tremor lessens with any type of movement. Gentle, gliding movements to music in addition support the relaxation of the muscles. As the brain concentrates on the music, it distracts from the tension in particular areas such as hands or arms. The 4/4 time also causes a uniform, quiet heart rhythm which stabilises the whole circulation.

Hypokinesia and postural instability
Sufferers' movements all slow down. Movements cannnot be started or stopped quickly either. Focussing on the music, in tango stops are inserted in the dance and it is also attempted to walk faster movements, for example by dancing 3 steps in 2 beats. Tango is the only dance in which breaks and steps can also be danced 'against' the normal rhythm.
A special feature of the tango is the 'caminata' (translated 'walking'). Step techniques are trained in one's own axis, improving balance. The 'caminata' is a gait training where opposite movements of legs and shoulders are executed. Extremities are guided diagonally by both sides of the brain crossing over. This technique too counteracts the progressive postural instability and may prevent falls in daily life. The postural reflexes are sensitised in the movements.

Stiffness in arms and legs often arises in the course of the disease, leading to resistance in the sequence of movements. Tango with its soft gliding moves gently addresses and often softens these resistances.

Approximately 40% of all Parkinson patients suffer from depression as the disease progresses. Tango offers socialising, meeting new people and regular dances which can all enhance quality and enjoyment of life enormously. With tango one frequently changes dance partners and thus has many social contacts, which is why it has become one of the most popular ballroom dances. Furthermore is the embrace of the tango said to have a calming and healing effect. Although with this type of disease tango can of course 'only' offer relief.

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