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Breaking Free from Stress: The Surprising Benefits of Movement Therapy for Nurses

Updated: Dec 8, 2023


Breaking Free from Stress: The Surprising Benefits of Movement Therapy for Nurses


"The body knows things about which the mind is ignorant" - Jacques Lusseyran


Many nurses selflessly join the profession each year wanting to serve others, but the toll of such

work, particularly in healthcare, can be overwhelming. Nurses can be vulnerable to work-related

stress, which can lead to burnout, jeopardizing their well-being.


The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified a persistent shortage of nurses globally

while the reliance on their services continues to rise. With the situation becoming critical we must address the issue of stress management among nurses.



The Toll of Work-Related Stress on Nurses: Prioritizing

Self-Care and Well-Being

Faced with these obstacles, nurses must develop effective strategies to manage stress and prioritize self-care. Movement therapy, a potent and frequently neglected method, can play a transformative role here. Movement therapy, also known as Dance Movement Therapy (DMT), utilizes the natural connection between the body and mind to promote healing, resiliency, and overall health.


Movement therapy recognizes the body's wisdom as a valuable source of knowledge and insight, in contrast to conventional therapy approaches that predominantly emphasize verbal communication. By engaging in deliberate movement and dance, nurses can access their embodied experiences, relieve tension, and express emotions that may be difficult to articulate verbally. Movement's rhythmic flow and expressive nature offer nurses a unique way to manage stress, recover from trauma, and develop a deeper connection with themselves.


Harnessing the Power of Dance: Exploring the Benefits of

Movement Therapy for Nurses

In addition, movement therapy provides a holistic approach to stress management, addressing physical symptoms and emotional and mental aspects. Through purposeful movement, nurses can experience a sense of release, heightened self-awareness, and renewed inner harmony. The benefits extend beyond the therapy session, as nurses learn tools and techniques they can incorporate into their daily lives, enabling them to navigate the demands of their profession with greater resilience and equilibrium.


As the demand for nurses continues to rise, prioritizing their health is paramount. Healthcare organizations and nurses can pave the way for a healthier, more sustainable future by embracing movement therapy as a potent instrument for stress management. It is time for nurses to reclaim their health, liberate themselves from tension, and rediscover the surprising benefits of movement therapy.




The Path to Balance and Inner Harmony: Unveiling the Potential of Movement Therapy for Nurses


Movement Therapy, also called Dance Movement Therapy (DMT), is a creative and

straightforward approach that employs the power of movement to enhance physical, emotional, and

mental health. It is a beneficial tool for nurses seeking effective ways to manage stress and

achieve balance and inner harmony.




● Moving to de-stress: DMT helps lower cortisol and adrenaline - the body's stress

hormones - while boosting the natural painkillers and mood elevators- hormones called

endorphins.

● Having a happier mind: DMT can promote positive self-perception and alleviate

anxiety, helping to improve overall mental wellness.

● Boosting physical health: DMT can enhance the functioning of the vestibular and

cardiovascular systems may help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

● Elevating mind-body connection: DMT can help nurses pay closer attention to their

physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts during movement exercises promoting

greater self-awareness

● Enhancing non-verbal communication skills: DMT can improve nurses; nonverbal

communication with patients who struggle to express themselves verbally.


The range of DMT techniques


The techniques used in DMT can vary depending on the needs, goals, experiences and the

level of therapists' training, which supports you.

These techniques may vary in their use of verbal and nonverbal communication. For instance,

authentic movement involves spontaneous movement without direction, observed by the

therapist to uncover unconscious thoughts and feelings, whereas vocal processing involves

exploring emotions and experiences through language and reflection.

Other techniques, such as body-mind centring, use verbal and nonverbal elements to

deepen the exploration of bodily sensations and emotions. The power of DMT lies in its ability to

help nurses connect with themselves on a deep level, using the body as a tool to access and

process emotions and experiences that may be difficult to express in words.


Can DMT help post-COVID recovery?

Studies show that DMT can help decrease feelings of burnout and fatigue and increase overall

mood and well-being.

During the pandemic, nurses endured immense stress due to various reasons such as

inadequate protection, physical fatigue, emotional anguish, and gruelling work hours. DMT has

been found as a positive, creative outlet to help cope with the trauma faced during the

pandemic. Some find the nonverbal technique helps to process difficult emotions and

experiences when compared to talking.

DMT presents promising opportunities for nurses to cope with the challenges they face, by

facilitating stress management and decreasing feelings of anxiety that can stem from work-

related stress.


 

Reflection:

1. Do you ever find yourself dancing along to a song on the radio and feeler calmer and

more balanced afterwards?

2. Do you realise that movement and dance could positively impact your mental health?

3. Would you try DMT to help improve your mental health?


Sources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-

relax#:~:text=Exercise%20reduces%20levels%20of%20the,natural%20painkillers%20and%20m

ood%20elevators.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29470435/

https://www.ahu.edu/blog/managing-nurse-stress

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0197455616302404


https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33362654/



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