New research by an Edge Hill University Professor on treating depression with dance movement therapy has been published by a world-leading resource which directly affects global health policy.

Professor Vicky Karkou worked with Dr Bonnie Meekums and Professor Andrea Nelson, both from University of Leeds, to carry out their study ‘Is dance movement therapy an effective treatment for depression? A review of the evidence’ which was published in the prestigious Cochrane Review.

Professor Karkou’s study examined the effectiveness of dance movement therapy in alleviating the symptoms of depression, a debilitating condition affecting more than 350 million people worldwide. The Cochrane Review is a highly influential body with official links to the World Health Organisation (WHO) where it provides input into WHO resolutions by determining the effectiveness of various treatments.

Professor Vicky Karkou said:

“Having research published by the Cochrane Review is highly prestigious considering the influence it has on health policy. This is the type of review which ultimately informs policy makers, affecting millions of people worldwide.

“Our research found that although some evidence suggests that Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) is more effective than standard care for adults, we still need to do much more research work to establish the clinical significance of this intervention.

“We do know that dance in itself and music with art can offer possibilities for vitality, and we now hope to use this as a starting point for future research to be explored. This initial review will act as a springboard and will hopefully pave the way for future research into the effectiveness of alleviating depression in adolescents, children and older people through dance movement.”

The use of arts to improve people’s physical and psychological health and wellbeing has grown significantly in recent years. Professor Karkou is holding a number of events on the subject at Edge Hill University in the coming months from intensive workshops to public lectures.

She added:

“Through dance and the arts there is a way of talking about things which people usually wouldn’t feel comfortable doing. The series of arts for wellbeing events we are holding will offer an opportunity to make this field more accessible to the wider public while offering an opportunity for researchers and practitioners to share best practice and apply their research in a real setting. The series of events will appeal to anyone interested in movement for artistic, educational or therapeutic reasons.”

Find out more about Edge Hill University’s Arts for Wellbeing programme here.