Scientific evidence of Tango Therapy - NTT Tango Therapy

Go to content
The effect of Tango Therapy
The below-mentioned studies show that the Argentine Tango has better therapeutical qualities and health-improving elements in comparison to other types of dances and other movement therapies. Elements like contra body movements, the widest variety of movement dynamics, musical composition, breathing techniques, non-verbal improvised couple communication and variations of different rhythms (vals, milonga, tango). The positive effects of the Argentine Tango have already been scientifically proven. Neurotango with the NTT (Neuro Technical Tools) is a further development with extensions and additional focus on neurological and psychotherapeutic target groups. Specific embodiment effects have shown life-changing results.

Beerenbrock, Y., Meyer, L., Böhme, J., Herrlich, S., Mews, S., Berger, B., Martin, D., & Büssing, A. (2020). Perceived effects of Tango Argentino on body  experience in persons with Parkinson's disease (PD)-A qualitative study  with affected persons and their partners. Complementary therapies in medicine, 48, 102221.

Chauvigne, L.A.S., et al. (2018). Taking two to tango: FMRI analysis of improvised joint action with physical contact. PLoS ONE.

Constantini et al. (2020). Trossero tango therapy and psychological distress in female cancer patients: An Italian pilot study. In: Clinical and medical Investigations 20 /Volume 5

Hackney, M. E., Kantorovich, S. Earhart, G. (2007). A Study on the Effects of Argentine Tango as a Form of Partnered dance for those with Parkinson Disease and the Healthy Elderly. American Journal of Dance Therapy 29.

Hackney, Madeleine & Earhart, Gammon. (2010). Effects of Dance on Gait and Balance in Parkinson`s Disease: A Comparison of Partnered and Nonpartnered Dance Movement. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair 61 (6), 475-481

Koh Y, Kim IC, Noh G. Tango Therapy: Current status and the next perspective. J of Clin Rev Case Rep. 2018;3:1-5.

Quiroga Murcia, C. Bongard, S. & Kreutz, G. (2009). Emotional and Neurohumoral Responses to Dancing Tango Argentino. The Effects of Music and Partner. Music and Medicine 1, 14-21

Quiroga Murcia C, Kreutz G, Clift S & Bongard S. Shall we dance? An exploration of the perceived benefits of dancing on well-being. Arts & Health.2010;2:149-163.

Lötzke D, Ostermann T, Büssing A. Argentine tango in Parkinson disease-a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Neurol. 2015;15:226
Studies about  the influence and significance of emotions on cognition and learning
In Neurotango, effective learning of new motor, cognitive and behavioural patterns is of particular importance. Learning is always a combination of a new ability linked with emotions. The emotional factors are the music, the dance partner, the interaction in a group and the trainer. Of course, the room atmosphere as well as all sense perceptions, play an important role in creating emotional connections for new learning patterns.

Ekardt, P. (2016). Certain wonderful gestures: Warburg, lessing and the transitory in images. Culture, Theory and Critique.

Ekman, P. (1992). An Argument for Basic Emotions. Cognition and Emotion.

Ekman, P. (1999). Basic emotions. Cognition.

Holmes, E.A., & Mathews, A. (2005). Mental imagery and emotion: A special relationship? Emotion.
Neurocognitive and neuromotor learning through movement
Besides emotions, movement is an essential factor for the brain to create new learning patterns. These new patterns can be new movement patterns, cognitive knowledge, or behavioural patterns. Changes can be observed on the neurological as well as cognitive and psychological levels. Movements are an important factor in the creation of new learning patterns. The further new learning patterns link with (e.g., through experiences with all the senses) uncountable new brain connections. This makes learning faster, and the new patterns remain longer retrievable as brain information.

Bart,O., et al. (2012). Neurocognitive control in dance perception and performance. American Journal of Dance Therapy

Bläsing, B., et al. (2012). Neurocognitive control in dance perception and performance. Acta Psychologica.

Di Pellegrino, G., et al. (1992). Understanding motor events: a neurophysiological study. Experimental Brain Reserch

Barton EJ. Movement and Mindfulness: A formative Evaluation of a Dance/Movement and Yoga Therapy Program with Participants Experiencing Severe Mental Illness. Am J Dance Ther.2011;33:157-181
Positive effects of Meditative / Mindful Movement Therapy
Neurotango® fulfils all criteria of meditative movement therapy. Especially due to the multitasking of the participants (concentration on coordination, balance, steps, couple communication, music, counting, spatial orientation and movement etc.), they are directly in a meditative state.
The brain works immediately in the sense perception network. This specific brain network meets all requirements of "mindful meditation", as described in the studies below. It is not possible for the participants to think about everyday worries or problems during the training. While the brain is busy with sense perception tasks, it cannot activate negative thoughts or fear at the same time. This is part of the default mode network, and both networks cannot be activated at the same time. This causes a feeling of physical lightness and mental relief directly after a Neurotango® training session.
For many people, movement meditation is the only way to achieve a meditative state. Mental relaxation while sitting or lying down and quieting the mind is not attainable for all. Especially in quiet situations, the mind starts thinking about unreal scenarios and brings up problems of everyday life situations instead of having a bigger view of their problems, creating new ideas and experiencing productivity. This is what makes Neurotango® different. The participants very often develop completely new life concepts or find new solutions to their problems without needing to be in a quiet state. It just happens to them during the Neurotango exercises with music.

Brefczynski-Lewis, J. A., Lutz, A., Schaefer, H. S., Levinson, D. B., & Davidson, R. J. (2007). Neural correlates of attentional expertise in long-term meditation practitioners. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104, 11483–11488.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). Flow and the foundations of positive psychology: The collected works of mihaly csikszentmihalyi (1st ed. 2014). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands: Imprint: Springer.

Desbordes, G., Negi, L. T., Pace, T. W. W., Wallace, B. A., Raison, C. L., & Schwartz, E. L. (2012). Effects of mindful-attention and compassion meditation training on amygdala response to emotional stimuli in an ordinary, non-meditative state. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6.

Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M. S., Gould, N. F., Rowland-Seymour, A., Sharma, R., … Haythornthwaite, J. A. (2014). Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174, 357.

Kerr, C. E., Jones, S. R., Wan, Q., Pritchett, D. L., Wasserman, R. H., Wexler, A., … Moore, C. I. (2011). Effects of mindfulness meditation training on anticipatory alpha modulation in primary somatosensory cortex. Brain Research Bulletin, 85, 96–103.

Kurth, F., Cherbuin, N., & Luders, E. (2017). Promising links between meditation and reduced (Brain) aging: An attempt to bridge some gaps between the alleged fountain of youth and the youth of the field. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 860.

Orgs, G., Dombrowski, J.-H., Heil, M., & Jansen-Osmann, P. (2008). Expertise in dance modulates alphabeta event-related desynchronization during action observation. European Journal of Neuroscience, 27, 3380–3384.

Pinniger, R., Brown, R. F., Thorsteinsson, E. B., & McKinley, P. (2012). Argentine tango dance compared to mindfulness meditation and a waiting-list control: A randomised trial for treating depression. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 20, 377–384.

Tang, Y.-Y., Ma, Y., Wang, J., Fan, Y., Feng, S., Lu, Q., … Posner, M. I. (2007). Short-term meditation training improves attention and self-regulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104, 17152–17156.
Toneatto, T., & Nguyen, L. (2007). Does mindfulness meditation improve anxiety and mood symptoms? A review of the controlled research. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 52, 260–266.
Embodiment - the body as a transmitter of psychological patterns to the outside (as behavior) and external influences on the behavioral patterns from body movements.
The reason why we can realize changes on a psychological, biochemical, physical, neurological, and social level by body movements is the embodiment effect. This works in both directions. It means the transmission of external stimuli (e.g., situations with fear, worries, stress) to the inside (e.g., psyche, health or physical condition). And as the internal transmission of psychological states to the outside (posture and movement, kind of communication, behaviour and reaction, physical symptoms of illness). Here we are at the holistic approach of Neurotango. We have been able to observe the effect and impact in countless cases and manifestations. External triggers of focused and changed body movements (body language) undoubtedly produce psychological, biochemical and social effects.

The expressions of new movements are different for every person, although the exercises are the same. The tools bring out authentic inner needs, talents, wishes, problems, and characters. This enabled the participants to directly bring about positive changes in the social sphere through their own body experience (how the body reacts in certain situations). Body language does not lie and gives a 1:1 authentic picture of the current physical and psychological situation. And it brings reliable information for the participants about the personal purpose of life and how far the current behaviour and situation is away from it.
This mechanism is particularly helpful in executive or business coaching.

Neal. D.T., &Chartrand, T.L. (2011). Embodied Emotion Perception: Amplifying and Dampening Facial Feedback Modulates Emotion Perception Accuracy. Social Psychological and Personality Science

Pulvermüller, F. (2013a). How neurons make meaning: Brain mechanisms for embodied and abstract-symbolic semantics. Trend in Cognitive Sciences

Pulvermüller, F. (2013b). Semantic embodiment, disembodiment, or mis embodiment? In search of meaning in modules and neuron circuits. Brain and Language

Herbert, B.M., & Pollatos, O. (2012). The body in the mind: on the relationship between interoception and embodiment. Topics in Cognitive Science.

Hindi, F.S. (2012). How Attention to Interoception Can Inform Dance/Movement Therapy. American Journal of Dance Therapy

Pillatos, O., et al. (2005). On the relationship between interoceptive awareness, emotional experience, and brain processes. Brain Research Cognitive Brain Research.

Seth, A.K. (2013). Interoceptive inference, emotion, and the embodied self. Trends in Cognitive Science.

Craig, A.D. (2002). How do you feel? Interoception; in sence of the physiological condition of the body. Nature Reviews. Neuroscience. Craig, A. (2003). Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body. Current Opinion in Neurobiology.

Boulenger, V., et al. (2009). Grasping ideas with the motor system: Semantic somatotopy in idiom comprehension. Cerebral Cortex.

Critchley, H.D., & Nagai, Y. (2012). How Emotions Are Shaped by Bodily States. Emotion Review.

Cameron, O.G. (2001). Interoception: the inside story – a model for psychosomatic processes. Psychosomatic Medicine

Riketta, M. (2005). Cognitive differentiation between self, ingroup and outgroup: The roles of identification and perceived intergroup conflict. European Journal of Social Psychology.

Marmeleira, J. (2013). An examination of the mechanisms underlying the effects of physical activity on brain and cognition. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity.

Storch, Cantieni, Hüther, Tschacher (2017). "Embodiment - Wechselwirkung von Körper und Psyche verstehen und nutzen"
Neuroplasticity (brain expansion by movement therapy)
Neuroplasticity - The expansion of the brain by movement therapy and stimulation of human interaction
In this case, the correlations of neuroplasticity and the expansion of synaptic connections is the most difficult area of scientific evidence. The inclusion of musical effects, movement effects and embodiment effects of Neurotango® makes it difficult to verify the different impacts on neuroplasticity. Each individual area cannot be examined selectively. Therefore, studies are available that have investigated the benefits and connection of neural enhancement with each area. All 3 areas (music, movement, communication), as well as rhythm, have positive effects on the neural network.

Bernhardt, B.C., &Singer, T. (2012). The neural basis of empathy. Annual Review of Neuroscience

Shebani, Z., Pulvermüller, F. (2013). Moving the hands and feet specifically impairs working memory for arm- and leg-related action words. Cortex.

Kringelbach, M.L., & Berridge, K.C. (2009), Towards a functional neuroanatomy of pleasure and happiness. Trends in Cognitive Science.

Ernst, J., et al. (2013). Interoceptive awareness enhances neural activity during empathy. Human Brain Mapping.

Müller, P., et al. (2017). Evolution of neuroplasticity in response to physical activity in old age: The case of dancing. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

Myers, N. (2012). Dance Your PhD: Embodied Animations, Body Experiments, and the Affective Entanglements of Life Science Research.

Critchley, H.D. (2009). Psychophysiology of neutral, cognitive, and affective integration; fMRI and autonomic indicants. International Journal of Psychophysiology; Official Journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology.

Fukui, H., & Toyoshima, K. (2008). Music facilitates the neurogenesis, regeneration, and repair of neurons. Medical Hypotheses.

Fukushima, H., et al. (2011). Association between interoception and empathy: evidence from heartbeat-evoked brain potential. International Journal of Psychophysiology.

Ramon y Cajal, S. (1906). The structure and connexions of neurons. Nobel Lectures: Physiology or Medicine 1901.1921 (1976).
Read more....
You can also get more information in the textbook "THE PERFECT THERAPY - ALL ABOUT TANGO THERAPY". You can order it on this page or in bookshops.
Back to content