Over the years, many cultures worldwide have been using meditation to quiet the mind and get to states that are favourable to both psychological and physical wellbeing.
Tango dancing, as discovered by scientists after years of studying its functions, can enable a person to achieve mental states similar to that of people who meditate regularly. Also, it is likely that highly skilled Tango dancers are able to enter deeper levels of the mind. This coincides with the greater connection that a dancer has with his/ her partner.
The US National Library of Medicine conducted an experiment that aimed to prove that Argentine tango has similar effects as that of mindfulness meditation in terms of decreasing the symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress. For the experiment, they assigned 97 people suffering from depression to either a tango class, a meditation class, or neither.
Contrary to other types of meditation where you enter into some sort of sleep-like state, mindfulness meditation is a kind of meditation where a person is aware that he/she is meditating.
They have arrived to the conclusion that tango, just like meditation, can treat depression and manage stress effectively.
An even more comprehensive research was done by St. Mary’s College of California. Using an Electroencephalograph (EEG), they measured brain activity of dancers. They attached electrodes to the scalps of Tango dancers, as well as a group of volunteers who stand as a control group.
It was discovered in the study that just like in mindfulness meditation, tango dancers trust on internal focus and attention while dancing. Also, another thing that a person can benefit from meditation is not only can they decrease stress levels but they may also enhance their cognitive abilities.
Here’s how it works. As a person meditates, the mind relaxes and enters a state of heightened alpha-wave activity, the same waves that appear prior to sleep. These waves fill a considerable portion of the brain which ultimately settle in the frontal areas. If this is prolonged, the brain may exhibit theta and delta wave patterns as it enters into lower frequencies.
In conclusion, the study has proven that the more experienced a tango dancer is, the more powerful is their alpha state in comparison to other subject groups. Whilst all other subject groups did display an alpha state, the neural efficiency hypothesis has been perfectly demonstrated by the experienced tango dancers, suggesting that the use of mental resources is less for those who have more experience with the same activity.
Furthermore, just like with meditation, the more one practices tango, the more capable they are of entering these relaxed states. With more practice comes more chances of entering deeper relaxation states which ultimately leads to experiencing more positive qualities.