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Bellydance Benefits

Bellydance and its benefits

Various benefits for the body and the mind are usually associated to this ancient form of art, called Raks Sharki (Oriental dance) in its original language.

Oriental dance moves have many benefits on women's health. It is a kind of low-impact but complete fitness that can be practiced at all ages. It focuses on the perception of your body and it aims mainly at balancing tensions, enhancing flexibility and muscle endurance, restoring joint mobility. It allows to work on the spinal column and on joints, enhancing breathing, coordination and the sense of rhythm.

At physical level
Our vertebral column contains more bones and ligaments than any other part of our body. Its 33 vertebrae are stack up together forming a column, they are connected through cartilage and ligaments, and most of the movements of our bust are possible thanks to its flexibility and efficiency.
Muscle groups which are attached to ligaments and vertebrae create the movements of the thorax and the pelvic areas: bellydance tones up these muscles and guarantees safe and effective flexibility. Through dancing, the movements of the hips, the circles, the « eight » figures allow the joints and the ligaments of the lower part of the back and of the pelvis to move through a range of complete smooth and repetitive sequences. These moves help enhance the flow of synovial fluid (a natural lubricant) in joints. Bellydance can help to give relief from the stress on the back, acting against the constant compression of the intervertebral discs due to a sedentary lifestyle. Toned up muscles enhance the posture and help prevent back ache which can be caused by an unnatural inward curvature of the vertebral column, that happens when muscle groups are weak (lordosis). Through bellydance, small muscle groups of the back that we usually don't use are aligned and strengthened.

Muscles surrounding hips are used and trained thanks to the movements of the pelvis and the « eight » figures, enhancing flexibility and suppleness. A better flexibility of the hips can lead to a better balance, even when walking. Even arms and shoulders are trained. Bellydance can help losing weight if associated with a balanced diet.
Stress reduction
The repetitive moves of this dance and the concentration needed to make them can help free your mind from the daily stress and to relax. One of the effects of the stress is that our body tenses, resulting in contractions or spasms, such as those to neck, shoulders or back. When a muscle contracts, it produces lactic acid and causes pain.
Also the blood flow to muscles diminishes. Bellydance stretches smoothly and uses the vulnerable muscle groups: as those muscles are used, the blood flow increases and the lactic acid is eliminated. Contracted muscles relax if they are moved smoothly. The body becomes flexible and it warms up, and who trains often states that the back and neck pains diminish. Bellydance is a nice and healthy way to exercise.
At emotional/energetic level
An healthy body is connected to the harmonious flow of vital energy. The effect of the movements of the vertebral column and of the pelvis is similar to that of yoga in activating the chakra. This energy coming from our body allows us to progressively master our emotions without repressing them, thus enjoying them fully. Our life is in our hands, and we become aware and able to manage it, learning to be honest to ourselves.
At spiritual level
It's undeniable that the harmony between the physical, emotional and mental levels is necessary to feel really well. Dance becomes a kind of meditation in movement.
Benefits of music
Music is one of the first elements accompanying bellydance performances, especially Arab music typical of bellydance, which amplifies the therapeutic potential of the dance, being on its own a beneficial and healing element. In fact, Arab music has some characteristics that have been studied for a long time in music therapy: they have specific physical and psychic influences globally called « relaxation effect ».
The "heart of oriental music" beats relaxing, pacifying and calm rhythms that are, at the same time, cheering. These rhythms easily have a resonance effect on our physiological rhythms which tend to harmonize with them. Consequence of this harmony are positive emotions and healthy feelings such as serenity, happiness, confidence on one's own abilities and self-intimacy, which are evident since the first notes.

What eases relaxation is also the fact that this kind of music is characterised by the predominance of one instrument, the presence of the flute and rhythmic, trembled and deep sounds, which are produced by string and percussion instruments and aerophones. These sounds are far from the musical Western interests and habits, characterised by electric guitars and sounds obtained through synthesizer.
Moreover, neurophysiological studies carried out thanks to the use of modern bioimage techniques stressed that in this kind of melodies the inarticulate and sometimes repetitive combinations of sounds stimulate the unconscious creativity, activating different areas of the right cerebral hemisphere connected to imaginative activities.
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