With so many factors contributing to the stresses we face in our modern society, it's a wonder any of us can sleep at night. Not only does stress impair us psychologically, it also has an effect on us physically. That's right - a lot of the money you may be wasting on jars of creams, non-invasive procedures and makeup could be saved by simply avoiding stress.

Sounds good enough, right? The problem, as you are well aware, is that stress isn't something that's easily avoidable in our day-to-day lives. Commitments and kids and careers and relationships and finances all mean that keeping calm and healthy isn't as easy as just saying it.

Luckily, Biodanza exists to help this happen.

The system stimulates your body's chemistry in a positive way, by allowing for a biochemical and neurological change to occur. This leads to enhanced relaxation and future adaptation to stress. In fact, studies done by Dr Marcus Stueck of the University of Leipzig (http://www.biodanzarenskyclad.co.za/english_ausdruckA5.pdf) show that regular attendance of Biodanza led to marked improvements in various measurable stress indicators.

What does this imply for our pretty faces? Well, research has long shown us that stress has a platitude of negative effects for our skin, hair and nails.

Not only does worry cause facial expressions that are not ideal for our smooth, wrinkle-free countenance, it also results in damaged and destroyed cells, accelerating the ageing process. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, causes the skin's moisture to evaporate, leading to dry, dull skin (so not a good look). Additionally, the excessive cortisol levels that accompany stress allow free radicals to build up, which cause oxidative cell damage.

One of the easiest tell-tale signs of stress is a person's hair and nails. Whether they're chewed down to stubs or just brittle, nails that are less than healthy are often related to chronic stress. And, as I'm sure we've all experienced at some point or another, stress makes hair fall out like crazy.

With additional possible effects such as weight gain and acne, it's a wonder we aren't all trying to find something to alleviate the effects of tension and anxiety. Biodanza can give you just that - the combination of dance, emotion and music willing you into a state of joyful relaxation, with the possibility of further positive stress-reducing or -avoiding abilities. Stueck's study saw participants experiencing an improved regulation of emotions, greater positivity and optimism, an improved ability to experience joy and increased social and psychological coping.

So, no, Biodanza may not be able to solve every problem or anxiety-riddled thought in your life that may be causing you stress (don't quote me on that), but it can definitely solve this one - who wouldn't want to look ten years younger and have fun doing it, too?

Christina Seimenis

(photo - Pearl Stillerman)