THERACYCLE… My “Wonder Drug”!

How easy it is to begin a day with an exercise program that gives me immediate satisfying results. I call it “instant gratification,” and that is what I experience when I use the Theracycle.

After experiencing months dealing with balance and gait issues, and suffering from many falls, in August of 2013 at the age of 68, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Medication was prescribed, which seemed to help, but I continued to have occasional minor falls. At this time, the presence of Bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremors in my left hand were subtle. As these symptoms became more noticeable in 2015, another medication was prescribed. This medication does help but is not always effective for me and may wear off sooner than expected.

Through friends and network television news stories, my husband and I became aware of a surprisingly new discovery for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease… The Theracycle. Both of us were very skeptical, but out of curiosity, we decided to research the bike and subsequently ordered it in the spring of 2016. When the bike arrived, I immediately began a passive regimen each day of cycling for 20-30 minutes at 12 mph. Within 2-3 weeks, I experienced improvement in my balance and have had no falls since I began using the Theracycle.

Within the past six months, I have discovered that the Theracycle helps my medication become effective quicker and last a little longer between doses. I now cycle for 60 minutes each day (a 10 minute warm-up, 40 minutes of voluntary cycling at 15 mph, followed by a 10 minute cool-down). I wish I could say the Theracycle has replaced my medication, but that is not the case. However, riding it for 15 minutes or so will “jump start” a dose of medication that is taking longer than it should to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of rigidity and Bradykinesia. The Theracycle has become my “break through” prescription when I am experiencing “off” times with my ropinirole and carbidopa/levodopa.

The Theracycle was a sizable investment for my husband and me, but the benefits have far outweighed the cost. During the past 12 months, walking two blocks at one time has increased to almost two miles. The tremors in my left hand are almost non-existent. My medications work more efficiently. I have been able to continue my work as a part-time pharmacist technician. My strength, mobility, endurance and energy have all greatly improved, and at an age of almost 72, I feel much healthier than I did one year ago. I contribute all of these quality of life improvements to the Theracycle… which I now call my “Wonder Drug”!

— Willodean H., High Point, NC

Exercise – It’s as Important as Your Prescriptions!

Per an article in today’s New York Times, a group of researchers from different institutions around the country recently concluded a clinical study with 128 subjects who had been newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) within the last 5 years. These subjects were split into 3 different groups – one group did not exercise at all, one group exercised moderately, and one group exercised more intensely. The first two groups showed an increase in their PD symptoms after 6 months while the group who exercised intensely showed no increase in PD symptoms.

These positive results are very similar to research that has been done with PD subjects who have undergone a “Forced Exercise” regimen on either a tandem bicycle or a motorized stationary exercise machine. “Forced Exercise” is defined as riding a bicycle at a higher cadence (80–90 RPM’s) for a longer duration than a person with PD can do on their own. Functional MRI’s of these subjects after a “Forced Exercise” regimen have shown actual changes in brain function and improvement in their PD symptoms.

If a person with PD has the requisite strength and endurance to participate in an intensive exercise program, by all means they should be advised to do so. However, if they are not able to maintain such a program, following a “Forced Exercise” regimen on a motorized exercise bicycle may be able to replicate these same promising results.

Read the complete New York Times article »

Sometimes Starting Is The Hardest Part

We all know that exercise is good for you both physically and mentally. But sometimes it is easier said than done. Most exercise equipment requires a certain level of health. Your arms and legs need to be able to support your body at least minimally. You need to be strong enough to remain stable.

But what if you can’t control your limbs because the pain is too much or the flexibility has been lost or you no longer have the strength to keep them in one place without help?  Something that seems like it should be so simple can be a huge undertaking if your body isn’t equipped to handle it.

The Theracyle is built to enable people to exercise who otherwise could not. The feet are secured to the pedals. The seat is built with clients who are not confident in their ability to maintain balance in mind. The Smart Motor helps move their legs, starting the process of regaining muscle tone and flexibility.  A regime designed around forced exercise is initiated and physical fitness through exercise is possible again.

It might be a little slow getting going, but at least it is going. Soon, muscles are strengthened and stretched. With that comes more stability and a better sense of balance. And you don’t even have to leave your house to do start on the road to fitness again.


Cycling away Parkinson’s tremors

Theracycle 200

If you or someone you love has Parkinson’s disease, I hope you’ve read our
eBook A New Therapy Brings Hope & Results to People with Parkinson’s Disease.

As a follow-on to that hopeful eBook, in February, we posted the first (of several to follow) personal accounts of people living with Parkinson’s Disease — the story of Dave Davenport.

Dave’s story and those of five others who’ve been riding a Theracycle and seeking substantial reductions in their PD symptoms are included in our newest eBook titled “First-person accounts of people now living better with Parkinson’s disease.”

If you’re interested in getting a copy of our “Living better with Parkinson’s disease” eBook, send me an email and I’ll be happy to send you one:

From that eBook, here’s a first-person account from Deb Snow of Wisconsin, who was diagnosed with PD 5 years ago, but who tells us riding her Theracycle has helped her to “do everything I used to do.”

Read on for Deb’s story…

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New Parkinson’s Disease Therapy eBook

As you may know, The Theracycle is a motorized therapy bicycle uniquely designed for individuals with PD (and other movement disorders). Because the Theracycle is motorized, it allows individuals to easily maintain the consistent pedaling cadence of forced exercise therapy.

Research has shown that a therapy of assisted high-cadence cycling, referred to as “forced exercise,” significantly reduces the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

We’ve written and published an eBook that provides an overview of the Cleveland Clinic’s findings on forced exercise, as well as commentary from doctors and therapists about the therapy and their experiences.

This new eBook is titled:
A New Therapy Brings Hope & Results to People with Parkinson’s Disease

Click here to register and download our eBook to learn more about forced exercise or to share what you’ve learned with your doctor.

Boston Herald on Theracycle: “Parkinson’s sufferers will reap benefits”

Fans of the Theracycle will want to read this just-published (2-15-12) article written by Boston Herald business reporter Brendan Lynch titled “Exercise Bike Reinvented– Parkinson’s sufferers will reap benefits”  featuring an interview with Peter Blumenthal.

Read on below or see the article at the website at


Boston Herald
Exercise bike reinvented
Parkinson’s sufferers will reap benefits

By Brendan Lynch            Wednesday, February 15, 2012  |  Technology Coverage


Article URL:

A Franklin company bought out of bankruptcy in 2002 has landed federal funding for its “forced exercise” technology — motorized exercise equipment — to help treat people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

“It sounds counter-intuitive,” Theracycle CEO Peter Blumenthal told the Herald. “Why would you ever use an exercise bike with motors? But you can overcome the motors as you regain strength.”

Theracycle won a $200,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant to modify its bike to replicate a therapeutic effect caused by tandem bicycle riding discovered by a Cleveland Clinic study.

In August, the company plans to apply for a Phase II SBIR grant, which could be as high as $2 million, to prove the bike would be effective in treating Parkinson’s.

People with Parkinson’s or other mobility-limiting conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, cerebral palsy or spinal cord injuries, often don’t exercise at all because it’s so difficult, which exacerbates their condition.

“(Exercise) gives the same benefit a healthy individual gets, except it’s much more important,” Blumenthal said. “Since their bodies are so decimated, they get secondary conditions, like Type 2 Diabetes, poor circulation, stiffness.”

Blumenthal once owned the retail chain Frame King, but sold it in 1998 for “between $5 million and $10 million.” In 1999, he was struck by a car in Newton while riding a bike. He broke his neck, but was not paralyzed.

“When I started rehab I found it was impossible to use traditional exercise equipment,” he said. “I couldn’t do it.”

In 2002, a friend told him about The Exercycle Co. He bought the 60-year-old Rhode Island company out of bankruptcy for $150,000, moved it to Franklin, and changed its name to Theracycle to reflect its new status as a medical device.

The company, with about eight employees, is moving toward profitability, Blumenthal said, and sells the bikes to homes and hospitals for $3,000 to $5,500.

Blumenthal is confident in Theracycle’s market opportunity — there are 1.5 million people with Parkinson’s disease in the United States.

“If we could get 1 percent of that market, that’s 15,000 bicycles,” he said. “That becomes a $75 million business.”

Article URL:

Copyright: Boston Herald

First-person accounts of people now living better with Parkinson’s disease.

From time to time the Theracycle team sends out articles and materials that we think may be informative and helpful. Recently, we created a new eBook titled “First-person accounts of people now living better with Parkinson’s disease.”

This new eBook details the personal stories of five people with Parkinson’s who’ve been riding a Theracycle and are experiencing the benefits of exercising on their Theracycle. They’re not only seeing substantial reductions in symptoms, but also improving their quality of life.

If you’re interested in getting a copy of the eBook, send me an email and I’ll be happy to send you one:

In the meantime, for a preview of the eBook click here to read the personal story of one of the 5 people profiled: Dave Davenport

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Davis Phinney Foundation: Exercise helps people with Parkinson’s “live better” today

The Triumphant & Victorious Davis Phinney-- Theracycle's Hero

As a company who builds exercise bikes for people with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders, it should come as no surprise that Davis Phinney is a hero of ours!

For those who don’t know of him, Colorado-based Davis Phinney is a retired professional cyclist (and 1984 Olympic medalist) who at the age of 40 was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s 12 years ago. A perpetual motion machine, Davis has led bicycle tours and conducted cycle-related fundraisers for PD research for many years.

In 2004, he founded The Davis Phinney Foundation (DPF), which is dedicated to helping people with Parkinson’s disease to “live well today,” through educational programs, events and, the funding of research focused on exercise, speech and other quality of life therapies.

DPF-funded research includes support for multiple projects directed by Theracycle’s own official Medical Advisor, Boston University Prof. Terry Ellis, PT, PhD, NCS including her 2010 study: “Factors Associated With Exercise Behavior in People With Parkinson Disease.”

For all these reasons, it is with great pride, that we share this first guest blog post from the tremendous team at the Davis Phinney Foundation — among the most dedicated and enthusiastic Parkinson’s exercise ambassadors we know!

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Bicycling helping people with Parkinson’s curb their symptoms

Image Credit: Matt McClain/Washington Post

As its title suggests, a January 10, 2012 feature article in The Washington Post (Bicycling and other exercise may help people with Parkinson’s curb their symptoms,) states “while it cannot cure Parkinson’s, heavy-duty exercise shows promise for countering, even delaying, the inability to move that the disease causes.”

In her article, Post reporter Alice Reid details results that medical researchers and Parkinson’s patients are seeing from regular, intense exercise (such as rowing and cycling)

The article notes that the National Parkinson Foundation “emphasizes exercise as an important tool to fight the disease,” and “The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has funded close to $3 million in exercise research.”

Jay Alberts, the Cleveland Clinic researcher best known for his landmark work on “Forced Exercise” (cycling for Parkinson’s therapy) is quoted throughout the piece. A ‘just-completed study’ conducted by Alberts in which patients rode indoor bikes for exercise benefits is featured prominently.

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Holiday Recommendations from an MD with PD

One of our favorite resources for events, programs and general information for the Parkinson’s community is the American Parkinson Disease Association.
Here’s a timely post from their National Young Onset Center written by Marshall “Dopadoc” Davidson— a New Jersey-based M.D. who was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease back in 2005, when he was 44.

Beyond this article, Marshall runs a blog called “Dopadoc’s Parkinson’s Journal” and is worth a follow on Twitter: @dopadoc.

Here’s Marshall Davidson’s “New Years and Holiday Recommendations for Parkinson’s Sufferers”

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