Belly dancing and Fibromyalgia -

Can belly dancing help to relieve pain for fibromyalgia patients?

By Jennifer Lim


The Research

In 2009, the researchers at Federal University of Sao Paulo studied 80 women with fibromyalgia. Patients between 18 to 65 years were divided into 2 groups – a dance group and a control group.

The dance students took one hour belly dance classes twice a week for 16 weeks. The control group was placed in a waiting list.

Throughout the research period, patients in the dance group were evaluated with regard to pain, function, quality of life, depression, anxiety and self image. The evaluations were carried out in the beginning, at 16 weeks and 32 weeks by a masked assessor.

Compared to the control group, the dance group achieved significant improvement statistically for pain, six-minute walk test, Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, self image, emotional aspects and mental health.

The research concluded that belly dance leads to improvement in pain, sleep pattern, functional capacity and self-image in patients with fibromyalgia. [It is] a safe, effective therapeutic strategy for women with fibromyalgia.


My thoughts about belly dancing and fibromyalgia

After teaching several belly dance workshops at a Fibromyalgia Conference, I can understand why belly dancing can help fibromyalgia patient relieve pain and discomfort. Belly dance exercises are gentle and calming. The low impact moves help increase flexibility, tone and strengthen the body. Belly dance can be learned in slow progression. The important factor here is moving your body and belly dancing to your favourite music could be the answer to help you manage the pain.

Here are a few pointers to take note if you want to take up belly dancing:

  1. Consult your doctor before taking up a new form of exercise or dance
  2. Discuss with your belly dance teacher about your condition before you start
  3. You don’t have to master every technique immediately. Take your time to learn and let your body tell you when you are ready to move to the next level
  4. Do sufficient warm ups and cool downs


Belly dance classes in Chichester, The Witterings, Bracklesham and Bognor Regis, click here for more info 



Belly dance with Jenn

"When I dance, the sun sails safely through the night;

When I dance, the future is formed by my feet;

When I dance,the stars move through the heavens;

When I dance, Venus shimmers the desert;

When I dance, dust becomes silver, stones are made of gold!"

Cosi Fabian

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