Both my mother and my father were excellent dancers. They won dance contests together. My mom was a wonderful tap dancer. And Dad was an Arthur Murray Dance Instructor for a few years in his younger days. I was naturally drawn to dancing as a child. I wasn't good at running or kickball or basketball but I could dance.
My preferred dancing shoes are my sneakers. I will dance to any kind of music. Even now after my brain injury, I am quick to pick up new dances and put my own spin on them.
After my brain injury, my balance [not in the technical sense of "inner ear damage," but rather more in the lay-person's sense of being able to walk around without falling into walls and things] was really pretty bad. I fell sideways often. The constant presence of external vertigo-- I am not dizzy, the world around me spins to the left-- did not help much at all. I fell in my home. I fell in the neighborhood. I fell in the park. I fell a lot.
A wonderful anesthesiologist in private practice hooked me up with pool therapy. The pool was indoors and there was a whole lot of folks like me in it. The water had a combination of chlorine and salt in it. There were pool therapists, pool therapist assistants, floats, music, laughter, tropical plants. The water was kept warm as was the temperature in the pool room itself. When I got into that pool, the pain melted away. I was able to do the exercises given to me. I found myself improving. I used to spend up to two hours in the pool. It was a relief during a time when not much was comfortable in my life.
I found a float against the wall that was v-shaped. I asked what was done with it and soon I began to incorporate it into my exercises. I would sit on the float and deliberately induce the vertigo to speed up. I did this by spinning myself back and forth randomly in place on the float. I learned to stick to my seat, not fall off. After pool therapy was done, the neurologist remarked that my balance [in the lay-person's sense of the word I am sure] was much improved. I knew this to be true because I was less bruised from falling. I began to dance again. At first with the cane, but it was definitely dancing.
The other thing that happened immediately after my injury is that I began to insist that my husband not turn off the classical music when he was ready to sleep. He wanted to. I didn't want him to. When he tried to turn it off, I cried. After a few nights, he gave up and the music stayed on all night for the next two years.
Those of you who follow my sapphoq reviews blog may be aware that I love the author Oliver Sachs. His book Musicophilia talks about the connection between music and the brain. [ http://www.oliversacks.com/books/musicophilia/ ]. The University of Western Ontario plans to carry out more research on the connection between music and movement.
[ http://communications.uwo.ca/western_news/stories/2012/January/finding_ties_between_music_the_brain_and_how_we_move.html ].
In some of the t.b.i. support groups and functions that I've attended I've heard much talk of a religious or spiritual nature and how that sort of thing has helped other t.b.i. survivors. Being an atheist and happily unchurched, I cannot add my voice to the chorus. But what I can attest to is that music has been a very active and necessary part of my own recovery.
sapphoq healing t.b.i.