Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Katharine Hill


Social Work


An increasing number of people around the world are joining a blossoming community of hoop dancers and reporting positive holistic benefits and sharing stories of transformation and healing attributed to their hooping practice. The hoop is being reported to provide relief and support for people with depression, anxiety, addiction, and PTSD by igniting their bodies and providing a soothing rhythm and a pathway to dance, movement, self-expression, social connections, personal insight, and meditational benefits. This qualitative study explores the biopsychosocial and spiritual effects of hooping reported during seven non-scheduled standardized interviews with professional hoopers. Stories of change and healing are consistently reported and thematic contextualizing and categorizing data analysis revealed significant effects of hooping on participants’ physical, mental, social, and spiritual wellbeing. Significant improvements in participants’ mental health are described, including decreased symptoms of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and increased feelings of happiness, meaning and purpose. Participants report achieving self-acceptance, and the repair of the mind-body-spirit connection. The hoop is reported to reduce personal competitive tendencies, and bring people together to create open and accepting communities. The data reveals insight into the therapeutic elements of hooping that are helping people achieve embodiment, transcendence, integration, and healing. The implications of these findings are far reaching and contain deep wells for clinical and community social work practices to draw upon for insight into the nature of emotion, bringing people together for a common good, and the development of affordable, enjoyable, resiliency and holistically-based alternatives to deficits-based models of mental health care.

Included in

Social Work Commons