Movement as Medicine: Dance/Movement Therapy for Individuals with Autism, Parkinson’s Disease, and Cancer
Researcher ORCID Identifier
Date of Submission
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2022 Alessia Zanobini
Dance/movement therapy (D/MT) is the psychotherapeutic use of expressive, creative movement to support holistic well-being. D/MT views the human being as a single body-mind unit and movement as a manifestation of life experiences. While typically practiced as a mental health intervention, D/MT can be adapted for a variety of populations. This thesis evaluates scientific data for the non-traditional use of D/MT for three conditions: autism, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer. For individuals on the autism spectrum, D/MT can strengthen attunement skills, provide creative communication outlets, and relieve harmful physical manifestations of autism. For individuals with Parkinson’s disease, D/MT can simultaneously ease cognitive and physical symptoms while slowing disease progression. For cancer patients, D/MT serves as an adjunct, palliative therapy accessible before, during, and after treatments to help with psychological and physical pain management. D/MT does not cure these conditions; rather, it is a complementary intervention that promotes healing, increases quality of life, aids in expression, and restores bodily safety. Limitations include a lack of robust scientific literature on the subject, a lack of diverse D/MT practitioners and practices, and limited availability of services. Through the D/MT framework of movement as medicine, we can view life itself as a dance.
Zanobini, Alessia, "Movement as Medicine: Dance/Movement Therapy for Individuals with Autism, Parkinson’s Disease, and Cancer" (2023). CMC Senior Theses. 3113.
Alternative and Complementary Medicine Commons, Biology Commons, Dance Commons, Dance Movement Therapy Commons