Veterans in Louisville, Kentucky are barn dancing to combat their post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, Stat News reports.
Many veterans suffer from PTSD or traumatic brain injuries. These conditions often involve serious symptoms such as anxiety and depression that can be debilitating depending on level of severity.
People use a variety of treatment methods to manage their PTSD symptoms. Often a combination of methods – such as therapy, medication, and exercise – are implemented.
In Louisville, one group of veterans use barn dancing as a way to treat their PTSD or traumatic brain injuries.
United States Army veteran Roosevelt Smith III said, “It’s a way of calming yourself, an outlet so to speak. We have a lot of things to we do as far as prescription drugs, but this right here is the best prescription I’ve had, [with] no side effects.”
The veterans dance group at the AmVets post in Louisville is led by Deborah Denenfeld, who was inspired to provide dance as therapy by a psychiatrist at Fort Knox. After this discussion in 2011, she founded the “Dancing Well” program.
Dancing Well began in 2013 and has been a source of joy for veterans with PTSD ever since.
Denenfeld chose barn-style dance because “[it] is so simple and pure it’s a natural for this population.”
The program provides a comfortable and safe environment for the veterans from the lighting to the music to the privacy. Dancing Well sessions always have low lighting for veterans with traumatic brain injuries; music without sudden, loud percussion for veterans with PTSD; and a non-advertised location for any veterans who want to maintain privacy.