A BELLY dancer from Mamble has begun a research project with the University of Birmingham to find out the psychological and physical benefits of the dance.

Tina Hobin, 71, claims the health aspects of belly dancing are often overlooked and is relieved that medical research is finally taking place.

Physical benefits are said to include relief from arthritis, back problems, fibromyalgia, digestion issues and period pain. Mrs Hobin also claims that the dance helps women in labour.

“Psychologically, belly dancing classes can improve self-esteem and give confidence, especially to anyone who has suffered trauma,” said Mrs Hobin.

The research project is being undertaken by the sport and exercise science department at the university. It hopes to provide medical evidence to support the claims.

Mrs Hobin needs volunteers to help with the research, including both beginners and people who regularly attend her classes.

Classes are held in St Peter’s Church hall in Birchen Coppice every Tuesday evening at 7.30pm. There is a cost to attend.