Moving Through Life C.I.C.
Embodied movement for health and wellbeing
We have a broad range of past and developing work experience which helps us provide a considered, yet creative and
innovative approach to projects and regular engagements. Some examples are shown below.
With the main focus on functional and physical care, joy and pleasure in dementia and neurological care can be overlooked, despite the ethos of person-centred care. Yet, these aspects of wellbeing have the capactiy to lift mood, reduce agitation, and address feelings of isolation. Dance and movment have particular affinity with these benefits by providing a means of creative expression and reconnection with others, through shared experience and non-verbal communication. The latter has a particular impact where language is lost or confused.
Bridget is working with a national care home association delivering weekly dance therapy to residents either with dementia or needing nursing care following stroke. She has witnessed physical benefits such as improved posture and increased capacity to release emotional response such as joy, sadness and frustration. Participants have laughed and cried at reminiscences; communicated with facial expression, imagined language and gesture; and moved with rhythym and synchrony. Even those with advanced dementia have responded to music and movement, seeking connection through eye contact, swaying, holding hands, or engaging with props: a huge balloon provides an ideal outlet for showing strength and brings an element of fun.
Bridget's work at a centre for people living with MS enabled participants to explore and regain their identity and personalities - rather than being defined by illness. The group experienced autonomy, creativity and playfulness - another much underestimated element of pyschological wellbeing.
Before contemporary medicine discovered the body/mind connection, dance existed as a powerful healing medium in every human culture. Using a mix of expressive movement, words, and art, thoughts and feelings are brought into awareness helping people consider how past experiences may be contributing to current issues. DMP encourages people to expand their movement repertoire, trying out new ways to be and experience their bodies and world around us. Changing how we move can affect psychological state, improve self-esteem, help develop communication skills, give insight into behaviour patterns, and reveal new options for coping with personal issues.
Although anyone could benefit from DMP it is particularly helpful for people experiencing emotional problems due to mental or physical illness, relationship, difficulties, issues with self-confidence, or anxiety. DMP is also suitable for anyone wishing to develop their creativity as it can unblock barriers to self-expression and relieve tension. DMP is person-centric: it focuses on how a individual chooses to move, wants to move and is able to move – and is not about being ‘good’. It is particularly beneficial for individuals who find it hard to put feelings into words or avoid difficult emotions through intellectualisation. DMP can:
•Address and enhance self-esteem, confidence and body image
•Change patterns of thinking to reduce anxiety and lift mood
•Gain insight into personal issues and improve communication skills
•Help feel more integrated, connected, and self-aware (mindfulness)
•Encourage feelings of acceptance and belonging
Both Bridget and Enid have experience of holding group DMP sessions within community and residential mental health organisations including Mind.
Alongside our respective work with mental health and older populations, Enid and Bridget have additional experience providing workshops and programmes combining therapeutic dance with other movment practice.
Bridget is currently running a programme for the Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living on 'Moving Through Menopause'. The programme supports women during this life transition which can challenge identity, sense of purpose, and body image. Through movement based on Laban principles the group explores where they are in the process, relationships to self and others, and acceptance of this milestone all women face. Bridget also holds a weekly 'Moving Through Life' creative dance group open to men and women aged 45+. It is based on similar principles to MTM such as self-expression and connection through rhythm, movement and music. For more information please contact Bridget.
Enid has extensive experience providing Tai Chi Chuan as both exercise and for therapeutic wellbeing via a GP referral scheme. Enid recently relocated and is busy setting up new classes for Tai Chi Chuan and therapeutic movement in her new areas of north Herefordshire and South Shropshire.
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