Dance Class for People With Movement Disorders

Patients say class helps them regain range of motion

A North Texas hospital's dance class is helping people with movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas offers the class twice a week. It uses seated exercises, ballet barres and dance to help the participants.

"With the music and the dance, movements together the body comes together," instructor Misty Owens said. "It reroutes itself through the brain to make the body express the choreography given in class."

She brought the class to North Texas from New York City in 2010.

"I couldn't snap my fingers before I came here," Peggy Martin said.

Martin was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease four years ago. She said she has been able to easily keep her balance since starting the class two years ago and that her doctors have reduced her medication.

Jim Rosenbloom, who has had Parkinson's disease for 11 years, was scheduled for rotator cuff surgery. Three months into the class, doctors told him there was no need for it.

"The doctors are a little bit surprised how slowly it's progressing," he said.

But not everyone has such success stories.

"It depends on what stage of the disease they are and, if they're advanced, it might not help," said Dr. Aanchal Taneja, a Texas Health movement disorders and Parkinson's disease specialist.

The hospital has more information on the class on its website.

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