Health Benefits of Spinning Poi: Part 1
Time to get serious. The world needs to have more fun with flow, and there are studies, now from both in and out of the laboratory, that shows how beneficial flowing poi can be on the brain, body and emotions. The following blog series is based predominantly off of the doctoral research of Dr. Kate Reigle van West on the health benefits of poi; Along with my own studies from practicing and performing poi for the last seven years. May it come to grow even more insight and investment into your own flow journey and the flow arts movement worldwide.
I first heard of Dr. Reigle van West a couple years ago shortly after she finished her doctorate and her research proofs hit the mainstream. I was both overjoyed and surprised that this was the first time that poi had ever been studied in such a way. She states, “[I] began to notice the profound impact poi had on my wellbeing. I started to imagine the impact poi could have on hospitals, aged care facilities, and beyond, but quickly found there wasn’t any research proving poi efficacy as a therapeutic tool.” She moved to New Zealand, where the art of poi originally began, and did her study. “This research not only proved the positive health benefits of poi, but it opened up the flood gates for poi as a therapeutic tool.”
To anyone who spends any amount of serious time studying flow arts, the benefits become very apparent right away, but you’ll typically only see young adults participating, rather than where poi’s potential truly lives, in the hands of the youth and the elderly, to grow much greater cognitive awareness and bodily function! There is so much potential to turn this seemed “playing” into a huge professional potential! Under the case study labeled “Poi’s Proven Benefits” it is written: “The double-blind randomized controlled trial found that after just one month of poi practice, participants significantly improved their grip strength, balance, and attention. These are exciting results especially when thinking about maintaining good quality of life as we age.”
Exciting indeed! Stay in tune for this multipart blog series on the clinically proven benefits of poi, and let’s grow this fire of conscious awareness!
Yours in flow,