Step Up For Parkinson's steps onto the world stage at Congress
Dance Studies master's student, Natalie Muschamp, has presented her research findings into the benefits of dance for people affected by Parkinson's disease at the 5th World Parkinson's Congress in Kyoto.
The triennial Congress, which was held from 4 to 7 June, brings together health practitioners, scientists, neurologists, sufferers and caregivers to learn about the latest scientific discoveries, medical practices, caregiver initiatives and advocacy work in the field.
Ms Muschamp was accepted to present at the prestigious event after being encouraged to submit an abstract and felt privileged to be the only speaker from Malta invited to attend. Her poster presentation outlined findings from her research into the therapeutic benefits of dance for Parkinson's sufferers and their carers.
'The research I presented shows that movement and dance have the ability to really improve quality of life, not only for people with Parkinson's but also for their carers, who are on their own journey after this life changing diagnosis'.
The health and wellbeing improvements Ms Muschamp found were specifically around anxiety, mood, sociability, well-being and energy levels, with participants in the study saying they always felt better after dancing, and that going to classes gave them 'a chance to forget'.
Ms Muschamp said that the tone of the Congress was extremely hopeful and uplifting, and she had received very positive feedback from her poster presentation and an offer of international collaboration in the future.
Being part of this global discussion had made Ms Muschamp very keen to see a platform developed in Malta that would give the various providers of Parkinson's related services a way to work together as a team for the benefit of the patient. She was also keen for Malta to lead the way by becoming the first country in the world to make dance therapy accessible as part of the Health System.
Ms Muschamp had been encouraged and supported to attend the Congress by several supporters and was extremely thankful for the ongoing support she received from her mentors at the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Business Incubation (CEBI), the School of Performing Arts at the University of Malta and her 'Parkinson's family'.