Movement Therapy started in the late 1940s in America. Mark Starks Whitehouse, in the 1950s, established the technique.

Further, in conjunction with physical medicine and rehabilitation, it additionally offers a comprehensive approach, and it is patient-centralized treatment.
Basically, based on the concept that the mind, body, and spirit are inseparable and interconnected to heal the patient. Meanwhile, it involves movement anyone can use this therapy who wants to connect with their body or needs relaxation.

Movement is the first language that we learn as an individual, starting from intrauterine life. Furthermore, makes a person functional, and expressible, and initiates developmental patterns. Currently, it is used for evaluation and treatment.

Benefits of Movement therapy

Generally helps to increase or improve self-confidence, self-awareness, attention, self-esteem, focus, and communication. In addition, reduces or eliminates stress, fears, anxiety, sadness, chronic pain, and depression.
Altogether, helps to increase the quality of life.

A cure for Diseases or conditions :

  • Hemiplegia: Paralysis of one side of the body.
  • Trauma
  • Cancer
  • Fibromyalgia: A rheumatic congenital disorder characterized by pain, stiffness, and localized tenderness.
  • Parkinson’s: Neurological disorder characterized by bradykinesia tremors and rigidity. However, the effect is generalized.
  • PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder-Psychiatric disorder results from failure to recover from trauma, generally childhood trauma.

Some more relevant diseases

  • ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder-Psychiatric disorder generally found in children.
  • Autism: a developmental disorder with varying degrees of severity, generally impairment of communication and interaction is present.
  • Anxiety: A mental health disorder characterized by a feeling of dread or unease caused by the anticipation of danger.
  • Cerebral palsy: A non-progressive congenital movement, muscle tone, or posture disorder with abnormal brain development.
  • Vertigo: Sudden spinning movement results due to head movement.

How to Become a Movement Therapist?

In order to become a movement therapist, one must have knowledge of different dance forms and movements. In addition to this, knowledge of psychology. Undergraduate studies in any field related to it. A master’s degree or PG diploma is necessary. Training and internship are in the course time. These are some master’s courses through which one can become a movement therapist.

  • MSc – musculoskeletal
  • MSc – physiotherapy
  • MA in drama and movement therapy
  • Music therapy

Some certificate courses are also available.

To apply for a job, you should first register yourself as “Dance Therapist Registered (DTR)” or “Academy of Dance/Therapists Registered (ADTR).”


  • Delhi-based Creative Movement Therapy Association
  • Women’s Christian College, Chennai
  • Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  • Delhi’s Shristi Centre of Performing Arts and Institute of Dance Therapy
  • Pune’s Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts


  • Italy’s ART Therapy Italiana
  • Israel Academic College of Society and the Arts
  • Apollo Education and Consultancy in China
  • German-based European Society for Authentic Movement
  • Russian Institute of Practical Psychology and Psychoanalysis
  • Australia’s International Dance Therapy Institute

Physiotherapist giving physical assessment to patient



In this one person follows another person. This practice helps build empathy and connection with one another. It can help build cooperation and understanding.
For example –  One person follows another when he leaps or lags the movement.
In addition, the performance of the task can be changed accordingly.

Movement metaphors

Metaphors basically include the person dancing in the ways they feel. Just express what they feel through the movement. Generally, the use of props can extend the metaphor.

Hence,  celebrate the accomplishment, work through confusing emotions, or perform meaningful interactions between you and another person.
For example- In general, learn to express that feeling with a movement like rage with highly energetic movement.


Jumping is a way to bring more impact to your movements. Depressive people tend to have decreased vertical movements. Further practice moving in all directions. In addition to all this, the use of music can exaggerate the effect. For Example- skipping, stepping up and down on steps, and trampolines.
As there are many other ways like just moving fingers, laughing, running, crying, shaking, or vibrating your body. Do whatever you feel like doing. As a matter of fact, it is according to specific patients, like how they are feeling.


  • Movements are not specific
  • Should help a person deal with an illness (physical or mental) or a disability
  • prepare for life’s challenges
  • Make them functionally independent
  • The aim is to enhance the person’s cognitive, physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing
  • Movement should be rhythmical



Yoga is a holistic approach to treating chronic pain, and cancer, promoting mental health and postural awareness, spinal condition, and cardiopulmonary and Neurological rehabilitation.
There is a large variety of yoga and all of them are basically based on these fundamental philosophies:

1. Asana—physical poses
2. Pranayama—breathing techniques
3. Meditation
4. Advice for an ethical lifestyle
5. Spiritual practice

Various styles of yoga used commonly

1. Ashtanga- A vigorous style that requires exertion equivalent to a gym workout.
2. Bikram- A fixed sequence of 26 poses taught by an instructor with verbal instruction and physical examples. Bikram yoga requires a room generally at 105°F.
3. Vinyasa- An athletic style that uses a continuous flow of movement through a series of poses that synchronizes as, one breath per movement.
4. Hatha – Slow-paced practice focusing on flowing breathwork in static postures, in contrast to heavy breathing movement flows more commonly found in Vinyasa or Ashtanga.
5. Iyengar – intensely focuses on proper form and precise bodily alignment of poses.
– Yoga improves physical fitness and cognitive function and may serve as an effective treatment in addition to many medical and psychiatric conditions.


Pilates is a low-impact exercise based on movement.


  • Concentration – keeping full focus and attention on the movement
  • Centering – activation of trunk muscle
  • Control – proper recruitment of muscles and in series.
  • Breathing – synchronized with movements of exercise
  • Precision- Focuses on bodily alignment and emphasizes proper technique
  • Flow – smooth rhythmical movements

Stimulates body awareness, muscle recruitment, body alignment during movement, and posture awareness and control and stabilizes the core muscles during movement. Pilates uses isokinetic exercises with resistance to strengthen deep muscle groups.


In contrast to yoga, there are 2 major forms of Pilates :

Mat Pilates

This uses body weight as resistance and the equipment only is a mat.

Reformer pilates

Pilates Reformer uses machines made of a combination of springs to offer resistance. For this method, one should know the function of the machine and get familiar with it.

Pilates improves pain, function, psychological health, and kinesiophobia in people with disabilities, low back pain, breast cancer rehabilitation, physical fitness, and fall prevention in seniors. As well as pelvic floor muscle function.


Tai chi is a Chinese, meditative, martial arts practice that gently strengthens and relaxes the body as well as the mind. It is a system featuring coordination of movements, meditation, and purposeful breathing.
Basically based on the concept of QI. Qi is an energy source thought to be present in every individual which maintains bodily function. However, when the QI is blocked or disturbed and disrupted, it results in pain.
Basically, the focus is to unlock the QI.
This is done by generating improved functional capacity, balance, stress reduction, and enhancement of peacefulness, and healing, including life expectancy.

Characteristics of Tai chi

  • Circular – circular movement promotes dynamic stretching and balance.
  • Relax – achieved by deep breathing and avoiding exertion.
  • Calm – Keep your mind calm to stop excessive overflows of thoughts to focus on movement
  • Continuous – to make the rhythm
  • Intent – focus on movement
  • Energy – Try to produce movement with less effort and maximum efficiency and biomechanically correct.

Tai chi may apply to a wider range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbance, schizophrenia, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and immune disorders.
Also, prevents falls in the elderly and treats chronic pain.


Qigong uses the “mind” (or concentration) to coordinate breathing and smooth movements that promote the circulation of Qi.
Improvements in sleep disturbance, depression, fatigue, pain, and QOL. In addition, this may even reduce the inflammatory response that causes the progression of cancer.


The somatic learning method. Series of sensitizing body and perceptual feedback to choose between favorable and unfavorable positions. Hence, increases health conditions.


– Awareness – Group class and learning through verbal cues.
– Functional integration – Individual lessons with practitioners learning by gentle touch/manipulation from an instructor to manually guide movements


Eye movements are used to relax the patient.
Some conditions that can be treated by eye movements are PTSD, Trauma, panic attacks, bipolar, anxiety, and ADHD.
Rapid or slow eye movements are used.
Lateral (side-to-side) movements are purposefully done.

Eye movement desensitization & reprocessing – EMDR

The bilateral stimulation (BLS) used in EMDR, focuses on the person’s accessing painful memories along with unwanted thoughts. This helps dim the intensity of memory, allowing space to process it without an overwhelming psychological response. The traumatic memory will start to be desensitized and will be less emotionally distressing. EMDR is an eight-phase treatment method.

  1. History taking
  2. Client preparation
  3. Assessment
  4. Desensitization
  5. Installation
  6. Body scan
  7. Closure
  8. Reevaluation of treatment effect

It takes generally 6-12 sessions.

Side effects

  • An increase in distressing memories.
  • Elevated emotions or physical sensations during sessions.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Vivid dreams.
  • The surfacing of new traumatic memories.


The neurological rehabilitation technique emphasizes the forced movement of the affected side by restraining of the unaffected side.
Mainly, in Cerebrovascular accident cases or stroke and cerebral palsy ( hemiplegia ) treatment. Neuroplasticity is treated with this method.


  • Improvement in impaired side
  • Improve the quality of life
  • Improve the extent and quality of movement
  • Helps to promote ADLs – the activity of daily life
  • Initiation of movement


Basically, based on the protocol of exercise that induces rhythmical movements, promotes coordination, and improves the functional ability of a person.


This technique focuses on movement and mind-body coordination. The therapist performs the movement or manipulation and patients, feel the therapist is moving his hands on their body. Induction or Initiation of self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-knowledge in the person.
Generally, it is used to promote relaxation and reduce pain and stress.


The most common way of movement therapy is generally used for treatment. Dance/movement therapy can aim to treat an individual, couple, family, or group session by observing and assessing clients and their own movements, using verbal and nonverbal communication to create and implement interventions that will improve the emotional, social, physical, and cognitive integration of an individual.


The form of physical therapy is used to promote social, mental, and physical well-being through exercise in any person. In order to make them functionally independent.


The manipulation technique is done to release the muscle.
In addition to the treatment, the therapist breaks the trigger point and adhesions. It is a form of physical therapy.
For example – myofascial release, and deep friction massage.


John Epleys is the scientist who basically designed a series of movements to bring back the crystals that were lodged in the semicircular canal into the utricle.
Eg. Walking is a simple and very effective way to improve symptoms of vertigo.


It is basically the technique that focuses on correcting impaired body movement. It is generally done for sudden and persistent pains from:

  • Tense and painful muscles triggered by emotional stress
  • Working from home with poor ergonomics (neck, shoulder, wrists, and back pain)
  • Muscle pulls, strains, and other sports injuries


At first, the assessment is done, to know where and what is the cause of the pain. Then tests are done to know the state and efficiency of the muscle or the group of muscles. Then treatment is planned accordingly.

In addition to treatment, corrective methods are used to find the compensation movements that induce pain. Finally, the reinforcement of movement and retraining of new muscle action is done. Home exercises are prescribed. 1 session is about 50-60 minutes.


Cranial sacral therapy (CST) is also referred to as craniosacral therapy. This is a hands-on technique that relieves compression in the bones of the head, sacrum, and spinal column.
The non-invasive technique uses gentle pressure on the head, neck, and back to reduce the stress and pain due to compression.
With the idea of techniques, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the central nervous system can be normalized. This removes “blockages” from the normal flow, which enhances the body’s ability to heal.


It is a form of physical therapy used to treat stroke patients generally and cerebral palsy patients.


  • A pattern should develop in character
  • Pattern promotes functional independence
  • When the motion is lost the reflex pattern in synergy brings back the movement.
  • The stimulus should be appropriate and adequate to generate the reflex pattern.
  • Proprioceptive stimulus helps to spread the response.
  • Facilitation
  • Voluntary isometric contractions
  • After eliciting the movement correct the pattern
  • Reversal patterns taught
  • Break the task

Six phases of recovery

  • Flaccidity
  • Spasticity appears
  • Increase in spasticity
  • Spasticity decreases
  • Complex movement combinations
  • Spasticity disappears

The normal function returns after this. At last, we can say that the movement improves the quality of life and the way of living and can also help relieve daily stress to some extent.
In addition, it is an innovative and creative way of treatment and it generates the interest of patients generally without any extra counseling. Additionally, it improves the level of self-awareness, self-esteem, attention, and communication. Henceforth, this is one of the most effective and efficient techniques that one should opt for.


[faq question=”Q: How often should I do movement therapy?”]Answer: Recommended frequency depends on the type of movement therapy and individual needs. Many experts suggest 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise 3-5 times per week for general health benefits from movement therapy.[/faq]

[faq question=”Q: Is movement therapy safe?”]Answer: Movement therapy is generally safe for most people when practiced under the guidance of a qualified instructor. Certain precautions may apply for some medical conditions or injuries.[/faq]

[faq question=”Q: How do I get started with movement therapy?”]Answer: Consult your doctor first if you have any health concerns. Then find a licensed instructor in your desired type of movement therapy and start with beginner classes 1-2 times per week.[/faq]

[faq question=”Q: What should I wear for movement therapy?”]Answer: Wear comfortable, breathable clothing that allows free range of motion. Proper footwear is also important for safety and support.[/faq]

[faq question=”Q: How much does movement therapy cost?”]Answer: Costs vary by location and type of therapy, ranging from $15-$50 per group class on average. Private sessions generally cost more.[/faq]

[faq question=”Q: Is movement therapy covered by insurance?”]Answer: Some types may be partially covered, especially physical therapy prescribed by a doctor. Check with your insurance provider.[/faq]

[faq question=”Q: Who provides movement therapy?”]Answer: Qualified professionals like physical therapists, occupational therapists, dance therapists, yoga teachers, Pilates instructors, and more.[/faq]

[faq question=”Q: Can children benefit from movement therapy?”]Answer: Yes, age-appropriate movement therapies can help children improve coordination, body awareness, balance, self-esteem, and behavior.[/faq]

[faq question=”Q: How does tai chi help health?”]Answer: Tai chi promotes serenity through gentle, flowing movements. It improves balance, flexibility, muscle strength, depression, arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, and more.[/faq]

[faq question=”Q: What is Feldenkrais method?”]Answer: The Feldenkrais method uses gentle movement and directed attention to improve movement and enhance human functioning.[/faq]

[faq question=”Q: What is aquatic therapy?”]Answer: Aquatic therapy involves exercising in a warm water pool to improve flexibility, strength, and circulation and reduce pain and swelling.[/faq]

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