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Lively polka music surges from the treatment room as Dennis Klima, PT, DPT, PhD, MS, leads a patient in a dance. But he"s not having a party. He"s providing rehabilitation.

"I incorporate dancing as part of neuromuscular reeducation, as well as aerobic training," says Klima, an associate professor of physical therapy at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. "Some of those dances can go on for 4 or 5 minutes without a break."


Klima believes he was among the first physical therapists (PTs) to use dancing as a technique in treating patients who are older. For 30 years he was artistic director and choreographer of the Ojczyzna Polish Dance Group. While he loves dancing, however, it was his patients who gave him the idea to add it to treatment.

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  1. Kleim JA, Jones TA. Principles of experience-dependent neural plasticity: implications for rehabilitation after brain damage. J Speech Lang Hear Res. February 2008(51):S225-S239.
  2. An Introduction to Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech-Language Pathology Incorporating Hippotherapy in Clinical Practice. Fort Collins, CO: American Hippotherapy Association, 2016. Accessed January 10, 2018.
  3. Kennedy BL, Wirthrington N, Dupree PJ, Black J, Flynn S. Treasure in therapeutic neurogaming for cognitive rehabilitation. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2010(96):e30-31.

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