Value of Massage for People with Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease, which is also referred to as Parkinsonism is a disorder of the central nervous system, which progressively degenerates over time. In addition to its degeneration of the motor skills, Parkinson’s disease also causes rigidity of the muscles and stiffness of the body.

Tremors, slow movements, rigidity, poor balance, and difficulty in walking accompany this disease. Medications have been known to control some of the symptoms of the disease but many specialists believe that massage therapy aids patients afflicted with the disease. As such, massage therapy has been highly recommended and many patients have benefited from the positive effects of the treatment. There are many ways in which massage therapy has been found to be useful and are mentioned below.

Benefits of massage therapy for people with Parkinson’s

1. Reduction in muscle rigidity

When the brain’s production of dopamine is diminished, motor system nerves are unable to control the body coordination and movements. Massage therapy therefore becomes a natural choice for alleviating the muscle stiffness and rigidity. It is considered safe bodywork as long as the patient feels sensations on the area being massaged. A study titled “Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms are Reduced by Massage Therapy and Progressive Muscle Exercises,” conducted by researchers from the University of Miami and Duke University has revealed that Parkinson’s patients that were given 15 minutes of massage in the prone position and 15 minutes in the supine position showed marked improvement in the functioning of the degenerative spots. With massage therapy, stiffness and rigidity of the muscles are reduced as the nerves begin to relax.

2. Improved blood circulation

Whether for Parkinson’s disease or for any ‘normal’ stiffness of the body, massage has been found to be beneficial for tired muscles. When massage therapy is given to Parkinson’s patients, there is lessening of muscle tension, which helps blood vessels to dilate, and enhances the circulation of blood in the body. The improved blood circulation in the body helps to calm the nervous system, which in turn brings down the tremors evident in such patients.

3. Improved sleep pattern

Many Parkinson’s disease patients have poor sleeping patterns and this in turn affects them physically. Since massage therapy improves blood circulation and reduces muscular tension, this can often allow patients to sleep better. Massage can enable a restful sleep up to 10 hours and there is no wakefulness or restlessness during sleep. With proper sleep and rest the patient suffers less from the effects of the disease.

4. Improved physical stamina

As a brief from the National Parkinson Foundation titled “Massage Therapy: Is it for you?” suggests: one of the specific benefits that massage therapy can deliver for PD patients is an “increase in daily stamina.” As with some of the other aforementioned benefits, increased stamina can have a trickle down positive impact on other patient symptoms including an improved ability to exercise on a regular basis, which in turn will deliver other benefits such as mental and physical relaxation.

5. Confidence of the patient

Massage therapy not only improves blood circulation and sleep patterns, it also reduces the level of stress hormones. A lower level of stress can reduce the incidence of going into tremors or turning rigid and can improve the confidence level of the patient by a marked degree.

IMPORTANT: As all people are different, for maximum safety, anyone considering massage treatments or Parkinson’s disease should consult their physician before beginning massage, exercise or other alternative therapies for their recommendations and to prevent any contraindications.

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About the author:
Alia Haley is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology, health and parenting. A regular contributor to Pinstripe Magazine, some of her recent writing include an article on Exercise-induced asthma for DIYHealth, “Learning Toys for Toddlers” for Parenting Clan, “Social Media Policy” for Bloggodown.

 

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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Art & Laughter as Parkinson’s Therapies

Anne's "Painting with Parkinson's" Group

Innovative therapies for people with Parkinson’s disease are originating and being practiced all over the world. From Australia via the Pacific Northwest comes this write-up “Art, laughter are therapy for PD group.” Written by Anne Atkin — volunteer, public speaker, ambassador and librarian with Australia-based Parkinson’s Victoria. as well as author of a new book: “Living and Laughing with Parkinsons”

Anne began her first “Painting with Parkinson’s” group in 2007, parlaying her love of art and experience as a teacher into benefit for others with Parkinson’s. Anne’s article was orginally published in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of The Parkinson’s Post, bi-monthly newsletter of the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation (www.nwpf.org). The mission of this Seattle-based organization is “to establish an optimal quality of life for the Northwest Parkinson’s community through awareness, education, advocacy and care.”

Special thanks to Ruth Egger of the NWPF for permission to reprint the article.

Here’s Anne Atkin’s article “Art, laughter are therapy for PD group”

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Parkinson’s Nutrition: Concerns & Recommendations

The Holiday Season is over!   With the New Year, it’s time to get back to healthy eating!

Proper nutrition for people with Parkinson’s disease is a recurring theme here at The Theracycle Blog.  Thus we’re glad to post a very informative write up on concerns and recommendations for Parkinson’s nutrition, courtesy of the California Parkinson’s Group (www.calparkinsons.org), whose mission is to “foster support and collaboration among friends and families with young onset Parkinson’s Disease through dialogue, education and involvement in the medical research community.”

Be sure to visit the CPG for a collection of useful PD materials and to participate in their forums: www.calparkinsons.org

Don't forget to eat your prunes!

Your mother always told you to “EAT YOUR PRUNES!” Read on to learn why and other helpful insights in “Significance of Nutrition in Parkinson’s” from our friends at the CPG.

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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”  http://www.dopadoc.com 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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Is Exercise the New Drug for Parkinson’s Disease?

 In our earlier post, “Delay the Disease – Exercise to Fight Parkinson’s Symptoms” you met David Zid and Jackie Russell, the founders of Delay the Disease—an exercise program developed specifically for people with Parkinson’s disease.

Here in her first guest post for the Theracycle Blog, Jackie Russell provides her expert opinion on the topic “Is Exercise the New Drug for Parkinson’s Disease?”

 

 

 

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Lianna Marie – Super Parkinson’s Family Caregiver

Lianna Marie & Her Mom (Val)

In recognition of National Family Caregivers Month, Theracycle would like to single out someone who stands out as an extraordinary caregiver:

Lianna Marie of Bellingham, WA, whose mother Val was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease back in 1991. Since then, beyond providing extraordinary care for her mother, Lianna has become an extraordinary force of nature, driven to help families through their Parkinson’s journeys.

Among Lianna’s contributions:

  • Author and publisher of a valuable eBook:
    “Everything You Really Need to Know About Parkinson’s Disease”
    For $27 this book and the related bonus content that comes with a purchase, Lianna answers a huge number of common questions about life with PD, as well as tips, advice, stories, and words of encouragement and inspiration
  • Host and Moderator of the Parkinsons Disease Forum
    A vibrant online community, where people with Parkinson’s and those who care about them can connect online get help, advice, friendship and support.
  • Blogger and Editor of the AllAboutParkinsons.com Blog
    Beyond providing a platform for the Parkinsons Disease Forum, Lianna’s AllAboutParkinson.com blog serves up a steady stream of news and information, resource links and articles about PD.  This is definitely one to add to your blog list, and we’ll be adding it soon to the Theracycle bloglist of best Parkinson’s blogs!

Theracycle honors Lianna’s labors of love and her extraordinary example of a model caregiver. In recognition of Lianna’s past and ongoing efforts and in celebration National Family Caregivers Month, here’s her article 7 Helpful Tips To Help You Care For The Person You Know Or Love.”

Keep it up Lianna!

November is “National Family Caregivers Month”

In case you didn’t know it— November is “National Family Caregivers Month”.

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, more than than 65 million people (29% of the U.S. population), provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one.

For 15 years, the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA), has recognized and celebrated family caregivers. Identifying Family Caregivers! is the theme for National Family Caregivers Month 2011.

Theracycle is an ardent supporter of “National Family Caregivers Month,” and we hope you’ll join us in supporting the mission of the NFCA to educate, support, empower and speak up for the millions of Americans who give so much of themselves to provide for the health and well-being of a beloved family member.

To join or donate to the NFCA visit: http://www.nfcacares.org/join_nfca/

“Parkinson’s isn’t my life. I have Parkinson’s. Why does it have to have to be my life?”

Here’s another post from our friend and Guest Blogger Marc Sherman, who regularly chronicles what he calls his “journey and struggle through the life changes attributed to the onset of Parkinson’s Disease.” in his “But This is the Hand That I Shoot With” blog.

“Parkinson’s isn’t my life. I have Parkinson’s. Why does it have to have to be my life?

By Marc Sherman

The quote comes from the movie, “Love and Other Drugs.”  The movie was both fluff and at times true to life.  The quote “Parkinson’s isn’t my life. I have Parkinson’s. Why does it have to be my life?”  stuck with me, and made me wonder, is it my life?  If so, is it possible for it not to be my life?

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Help support “Ride With Larry” (A film of one man’s Parkinson’s journey)

A team of filmmakers, who all have loved ones with Parkinson’s, are creating the first film for the Parkinson’s community, by the Parkinson’s community that will help spark an international movement for research, awareness, and inspiration.

The film, Ride with Larry, follows Larry Smith, a retired police captain, now beloved small town baker, as he rides his bike across South Dakota, pushing his limits and expanding the boundary of possibilities for those with Parkinson’s disease. Weaved amongst the progress of Larry’s ride is an intimate portrait of the every day battle against Parkinson’s, the great minds working to find a cure, and the community love of Vermillion, SD that makes joined together to give Larry Smith one great ride.


The Exercycle Company (makers of the Theracycle) is a proud sponsor of Ride with Larry (including having furnished this Theracycle for Larry to work out on). We hope that readers of the Theracycle blog and others will join us in supporting this important film by contributing to the next state in its creation…

Read this message from Team Larry on how YOU can help!

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