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The Science of Tango for Parkinson's Disease

The Science of Tango for Parkinson's Disease


Today, we're going to delve into the fascinating world of neurorehabilitation and explore an unconventional yet promising intervention for people with Parkinson's disease. So, grab a cup of coffee, get cozy, and let's unravel the science it all.

Unraveling Parkinson's Disease

Let's start by understanding the basics. Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement and, as it progresses, leads to various non-motor symptoms. From tremors and muscle rigidity to cognitive impairments and sleeping disorders, the impact of Parkinson's disease is multifaceted and can significantly compromise an individual's quality of life.

The Quest for Effective Rehabilitation

Traditionally, rehabilitation programs for people with Parkinson's disease have focused on physical activities and exercises to improve motor functions. However, these programs often face challenges related to adherence and retention rates, especially among older individuals. This has led to the exploration of alternative interventions, including dance-based programs, as a means to enhance social interaction and support while addressing the limitations of traditional therapies.

The Rise of Tango as a Therapeutic Tool

Enter the Argentine Tango – a dance form that has emerged as a promising option for neurorehabilitation in Parkinson's disease. Studies have shown that tango dancing can lead to equal or greater improvements in outcomes compared to other forms of dance or exercise-based programs. Notably, the study by Rabinovich et al. explores the potential of this type of dance to help people manage their condition, offering a unique perspective on the frequency and dosage of dance as a rehabilitative tool.

High Dose Tango Intervention: What's the Buzz About?

The study by Rabinovich et al. investigates the effects of a high dose tango intervention on motor and non-motor functions of people with Parkinson's disease. The intervention involved daily tango lessons, each lasting 90 minutes, over a two-week period. The results were striking, revealing a significant 18% improvement in motor symptoms as measured by the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). Additionally, improvements were observed in activities of daily living, sleep, and psychological needs, indicating the potential of high dose tango intervention to address both motor and non-motor aspects of Parkinson's disease.

Beyond Movement: The Psychological Impact

One of the most intriguing aspects of the study is its exploration of the psychological benefits of tango classes for individuals with Parkinson's disease. The multifaceted nature of dancing, combining physical activity with cognitive and emotional engagement, has the potential to fulfill basic psychological needs such as autonomy, competence, and relatedness. This aligns with the self-determination theory, suggesting that tango classes may nurture these fundamental psychological needs, leading to an elevated sense of vitality and enjoyment among participants.

Embracing the Partner Dance Experience

Partner dancing, particularly the characteristics and role of partner dancing in the context of Parkinson's disease, is a relatively unexplored area. The study sheds light on the unique dynamics of partner dancing and its potential impact on individuals participating in dance-based rehabilitation programs. This highlights the importance of understanding the intricacies of partner dancing and its relevance in enhancing the overall experience and outcomes for individuals with Parkinson's disease.

Closing Thoughts

The findings from the study by Rabinovich et al. provide valuable insights into the potential of high dose tango intervention as a short-term rehabilitative tool for people with Parkinson's disease. The significant improvements in motor and non-motor aspects, coupled with high levels of adherence and enjoyment reported by participants, underscore the promising role of tango intervention in addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by Parkinson's disease.

So, there you have it – a glimpse into the world of high dose tango intervention for Parkinson's disease. As we continue to explore innovative approaches to neurorehabilitation, the potential of dance, particularly the Argentine Tango, shines brightly as a beacon of hope for individuals living with Parkinson's disease.

Stay curious, stay informed, and until next time, keep exploring the fascinating realms of science and human potential!

Citation: Débora B. Rabinovich et al., “A High Dose Tango Intervention for People with Parkinson’s Disease (PwPD),” April 18, 2019,


  • Neurorehabilitation: Neurorehabilitation refers to the process of aiding recovery from a nervous system injury or disorder, such as Parkinson's disease, through specialized rehabilitation techniques and therapies.

  • Motor Functions: Motor functions refer to the ability to control movement and physical actions, which can be affected by conditions like Parkinson's disease.

  • Adherence and Retention Rates: Adherence and retention rates refer to how well individuals stick to and continue with a rehabilitation program over time.

  • Tango Intervention: Tango intervention involves using the Argentine Tango dance form as a therapeutic tool for neurorehabilitation in Parkinson's disease.

  • Partner Dancing: Partner dancing involves dancing with a partner and can have unique physical and psychological benefits for individuals, including those with Parkinson's disease.