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Belly dancing can improve body image, study says

belly dancing.jpg

Besides being a cultural mainstay in the Middle East, belly dancing might also help to improve body image, say researchers from Flinders University in Australia.

Recruiting young women from dancing schools, Dr. Marika Tiggemann interviewed 213 individuals for a study - 112 of whom were experienced belly dancers.

The women answered questions about their bodies: how they felt others perceived them, how they rated their own self-image and how attractive they thought they were to men.

Function rather than form

Building on previous research that found street and modern dancers had better self-image than exotic dancers, Dr. Tiggemann discovered that belly dancers had better overall body image than non-belly dancers.

"Belly dancing is an activity associated with positive body image, because participants tend to focus less on their external appearance, and more on the experience and what they are able to do with their bodies," Dr. Tiggemann said.

Belly dancing may also help to foster physical and mental harmony, leading to less critical thoughts, Tiggemann concluded.

"It allows women a rare, safe and creative opportunity for exploring and expressing their sensual and sexual selves."

Source: The New Age