Meditation and tango dancing reduce symptoms of depression and stress

Tango_Dancers_by_ceibaPinniger, R., et al. (2012) Argentine tango dance compared to mindfulness meditation and a waiting-list control: a randomised trial for treating depression. [Full abstract]. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 20 (6), 77-84.

Objective: To determine whether tango dancing is as effective as mindfulness meditation in reducing symptoms of psychological stress, anxiety and depression, and in promoting well-being. Ninety-seven people with self-declared depression were randomised into tango dance or mindfulness meditation classes, or to control/waiting-list.

Process: Participants completed six-week programmes (1½h/week of tango or meditation). The outcome measures were assessed at pre-test and post-test, including Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale; The Self Esteem Scale; Satisfaction with Life Scale, and Mindful Attention Awareness Scale.

Results: Depression levels were significantly reduced in the tango and meditation groups, relative to waiting-list controls. Stress levels were significantly reduced only in the tango group. Attending tango classes was a significant predictor for the increased levels of mindfulness.

Conclusion: Mindfulness-meditation and tango dance could be effective complementary adjuncts for the treatment of depression and/or inclusion in stress management programmes. Subsequent trials are called to explore the therapeutic mechanisms involved.

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