Sharing the lessons along the way…

Ah-Choooo to Tango


After I put my headset on, and sat down to compose (er, uh, dictate) a blog for you, I went into a sneezing fit. This was not just any sneezing fit.

This was a sneezing fit beyond any proportion I had ever experienced.

Each train of thought was derailed.

The Dragon Naturally Speaking software thought that I was dictating a series of random articles and prepositions. It kept trying to make sense of them, but they were sneezes, not words.

I wanted to write something about yoga and something else about the rehabilitative effects of dancing.


But then I would sneeze. And sneeze again, and again.

When I thought that the sneezing was over, I would open a new blank document.

I also wanted to talk to you about tweaking my master rehabilitation plan.

A ballroom dancing couple. Illustration by Dav...

A hundred or so words in, and it would start all over again.

After the first 30 minutes, I could hardly breathe out of my nose and I felt like my brain had been shaken inside my skull.

I couldn’t really remember what it was I had sat down to share with you.

Perhaps the universe would prefer that I be a bit further along in the tweaking of the plan process before sharing it with you. For now, I am in the thinking about it stage. And I have been thinking about it a lot lately.

I’m considering some outside of the box ideas to help make walking without assistance more safe.


I want to learn ballroom dancing. You know, like the tango. The first time the occupational therapist was here, she mentioned in passing that she and her husband were taking dancing lessons. The third time she was here, we talked about it a little bit more.

I had forgotten about meeting a gentleman several years ago who rehabilitated his spastic gait using dance. His name is Thomas Clouse and he has one of the spinocerebellar ataxia disorders. It is also a helpful method for Parkinson’s, although when the music stops, so does the smooth flowing movement.

My brain had misplaced that information also, but as I was listening to my occupational therapist talk about her dance class, all of that information came flooding back.

So I looked up Dr. Clouse  online and sent him an e-mail.


I will be sure and tell you more about all of that as soon as my allergies allow for it.


Comments on: "Ah-Choooo to Tango" (6)

  1. Thanks for linking to me!

    I think the arts, not only dancing, are really good therapy as they are multimodal and target many areas of the brain at the same time.


  2. I’m curious, not doubting. Why would it work? Is it partially cognitive in that you have fun and forget you’re getting therapy? Is it the repeated small movements that exercise without straining?

    On a related note, a PT I work with is studying a promising treatment for kids with autism spectrum issues where the use of rhythmic exercises may increase general coordination. It’s a small/early study, but that seems to be a related principle for a completely different condition.


    • David that is awesome about your PT friend! From the research I’ve read, it makes complete sense. Unfortunately the research isn’t clear on the neuroscience behind any of it. My illness is a motor neuron one, so it is really more about the brain then it is the specific muscle that I’m might be using at the time. In a tango dance, there is music, which is being processed by the auditory cortex. There are theories that indicate that this is helpful with Parkinson’s patients because it is bypassing the motor cortex and the basal ganglia. From what I have read, and it isn’t much, it seems to be a bit more complicated than that. There’s some speculation that it is related to mirror neurons, which I’ve read about, but what I have read is also based on limited research.

      Staying moving is important for my illness and really for anyone. That part makes dancing makes sense easily, but the way a jerky movement becomes more smooth is quite intriguing!


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