-

Phoenix Rising Wellness

Create, Dance, & Heal

Blog

Dancing & Expressive Arts- Benefits

Posted by earthygirl81 on April 5, 2019 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (3)

As you may already know exercise & movement is an important part of our health & wellbeing. You may be asking yourself what does this have to do with mental health. I work Holistically, meaning I view the whole person~ Mind, Body, & Spirit, not just the ‘mental’ aspects, its all connected.


The body expresses things non-verbally that we can’t express with just our words. It is the biggest communicator of how we are feeling and provides data and information that something is right or is off for us. We know that research shows us that the body holds the trauma. This can show up as physical pains, somatic issues, muscle twitches, digestive issues, and so on. Emotions are energy and when this energy is not acknowledged/moved/processed through then issues arise. This can be on a subconscious level or conscious level. We often don’t have the words to express the emotions, especially after traumas. Dance & Art is another wonderful tool for expressing what we can’t verbal or choice not to. Either way we are moving this energy and expression. With dance we are expressing fully the energy and emotions, there is no buffer to stop it. Its primal innate expression.

The healing nature of Music, Dance, & Art brings us together and communicate to us on a deep level that we are safe after trauma or coming from unhealthy/unsafe environment. We can see and sense with our whole bodies that these people mean no harm to us and that we are ok and safe again. It can open up space for healing, expression, release, and relaxation to occur. I use music, dance, & art alongside with education of coping skills, mindfulness, nutrition, & lifestyles in my office as I am interested in the movement of this energy and releasing feelings out of the body to allow new fresh energy to flow in for healing. It brings our awareness mindfully into our bodies and the present moment. Meaning it gets us out of our heads and into our bodies.

Let’s talk Brain Health for a minute. The Right-Side of the brain has functions of~ creativity, music awareness, abstract thinking, intuitive, imagination, spatial & visual learning/awareness, emotions, big picture/holistic, random sequencing and it controls the left side of the body. On the other hand, the Left-Side of the brain’s functions are~ logic, language, verbal, detail oriented, ordered sequencing, mathematical skills, time awareness, literal, detached, and it controls right side of the body.

Both of these sides are equally important for us to function at our maximum ability, however, an imbalance I often see is Left-Side prodomient, meaning the person is detached from their creativity, emotions, and expression. This can be from trauma and/or avoidance of emotions. Ideally we want balance between these hemispheres and firing of neurons equally on both sides of the brain. Dancing & body movements tap into both sides of the body helping to create healing, balance, and to move stuck energy & emotions.


Other Benefits of Dance as a Therapy Tool:

  • Healing Expressive Techniques
  • Increased Self-Expression
  • Increased Creativity
  • Decreased Stress, Anxiety, & Depression
  • Increased Mindfulness- Alertness, Focus, & Concentration
  • Positive Self-Care
  • Increased Physical Activity/Fitness
  • Increased Emotional Awareness
  • Increased Body Awareness
  • Increase Self-Confidence
  • Positive Outlets for Emotions such as anger, frustration, sadness, & so on
  • Increased Communication Skills
  • Increased Social Connections
  • Increased Empathy & Understanding for Others
  • Increased Motor Skills, Agility, & Spatial Awareness
  • Increased Balance, Flexibility, & Coordination
  • Increased Muscle Strength & Endurance
  • Better Heart & Lung Health
  • Weight Management
  • Increased Ability to Work with Others

What is Expressive Arts Therapy?

Posted by earthygirl81 on January 24, 2019 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

What is Expressive Arts Therapy?


My hope for this blog entry is to provide you with an understanding on my personal perspective on Expressive Arts and my approach use of it in office.


The American Art Therapy Association beautifully states, “Through integrative methods, art therapy engages the mind, body, and spirit in ways that are distinct from verbal articulation alone. Kinesthetic, sensory, perceptual, and symbolic opportunities invite alternative modes of receptive and expressive communication, which can circumvent the limitations of language. Visual and symbolic expression gives voice to experience and empowers individual, communal, and societal transformation.”


As a licensed Art Therapist I find art making taps into the unconscious mind and allows for free expression of worries, anxieties, fears, anger, and other emotions. This allows the energy to shift, move, and to be processed through the body. This process is often non-verbal allowing for the mind to stop blocking the healing process. Sometimes when words are not enough to express what we are experiencing, dance & art helps.


Let’s talk Brain Health for a minute. The Right-Side of the brain has functions of~ creativity, music awareness, abstract thinking, intuitive, imagination, spatial & visual learning/awareness, emotions, big picture/holistic, random sequencing and it controls the left side of the body. On the other hand, the Left-Side of the brain’s functions are~ logic, language, verbal, detail oriented, ordered sequencing, mathematical skills, time awareness, literal, detached, and it controls right side of the body.


Both of these sides are equally important for us to function at our maximum ability, however, an imbalance I offend see is Left-Side prodomient, meaning the person is detached from their creativity, emotions,and expression. Ideally we want balance between these hemispheres and firing of neurons equally on both sides of the brain.


The body holds the trauma as traumas and emotions can become trapped into the physical body causing several issues. Some issues are irritability, frustration, uncontrollable crying, lack of ability to express/understand what you are experiencing, insomnia, and somatic symptoms. This is the connection between the Mind & Body.


Expressive arts allows for this energy to move through creating healing and increased awareness. This taps into the Right Side of Brain allow for us to access our emotions and creativity for healthy expression. Most expressive art activities require us to utilize the Left-Side of the brain as well to problem solve and plan. Dance is my favorite form of expressive arts that I use in the office. This requires us to use both sides of the brain and body to do and ideal for mind-body connection expression.


Let me step over into the land of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to help you understand this from an energetic perspective as well. TCM talks about one pattern specifically that can create feelings of depression, irritability, feeling stuck, frustrations, and so on. This is called Stagnation of Qi (Liver Qi Stagnation). Qi is our lifeforce/energy in our bodies, often called prana in Ayurveda traditions. When these energies get stagnated it is like a traffic jam leaving feelings of frustration, annoyance, physical pain, and a stuck- hopeless feeling in our bodies.


This sounds a lot like an imbalance on the Right-side of brain here with the Left-Side being prodiment! One of the recommendations for someone with Liver Qi Stagnation I would provide as an Herbalist/TCM practitioner would be to do creative activities to move the Stagnated energy Qi in the body and to express what is not being expressed and held in the body. This would of course increase activity on the Right-Side of the brain.


In my office, I go beyond verbal/language expression and use Expressive Arts to help people to tap into their own subconscious and healing through- dance, movement, art, play, building, creating, pure expression, sensory activities, & etc. This helps to move the energy in body, express emotions in a healthy way, teach positive coping skills/ tools, and to increase mindfulness. Its not about painting a ‘pretty picture’, its about understanding and expressing ourselves on a deeper level in order to heal.


Go here to learn me about my trainings~https://www.phoenixrisingwellness.net/about

Go here to learn more about Art Therapy~ https://arttherapy.org/about-art-therapy/