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Can Yoga Help Parkinson’s Disease

Tai Chi Yoga Massage Ayurveda And Parkinsons

Complete Yoga Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

Also in Pioneers of Recovery, Daniel Loney tells his story of how he has almost completely eliminated his motor symptoms using Tai Chi. When he was first diagnosed, he became very depressed, believing that there was no hope. His mother passed away shortly after his diagnosis, and he spent the next year mourning both her and his own life. Daniels condition went downhill rapidly; he almost quit practicing Tai Chi altogether, and he began to suffer from confusion, anxiety, and panic attacks.

Daniel began exploring alternative treatments, including Ayurvedic medicine, yoga, massage, acupuncture, and Chinese herbology. He felt that they all helped to some extent. Finally, he realized that in his Tai Chi practice he had everything he needed to heal himself.

Daniel left his stressful job and focused entirely on his recovery, putting an extreme emphasis on Tai Chi. His depression and mental symptoms went away almost immediately. As he regained strength, his tremor disappeared almost completely. He now feels very relaxed in his body; his stability, coordination, and strength have all improved; and he no longer stoops when he walks. It took about six months to a year for him to relieve his motor symptoms. Daniel now teaches Tai Chi for people with Parkinsons in Israel.;

Why Do We Get This Illness

Parkinsons Disease is a degenerative brain illness.


Why does our brain health start to degenerate?

It degenerates due to a loss of nerve cells in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra.

These nerve cells in the substantia nigra manufacture a neurotransmitter called dopamine. But as the nerve cells die off less dopamine is created.

We need dopamine.

The loss of dopamine leads to the loss of body control and leads to a whole cascade of other physical and mental symptoms that combine to steadily ruin a persons life.


Theres a simple, well-understood trail from good health to Parkinsons:

Nerve cells dying off in the substantia nigra > reduced dopamine production;> Parkinsons Disease

However, almost all modern-day medical treatments start at step 2 reduced dopamine. Were trying to increase dopamine.

Which sounds sensible at first. But the problem is that were tackling a disease that has already started.

And were not addressing it at the point of its underlying cause.


Its like being in a sinking boat and constantly bailing out the water instead of fixing the leak.

We can bail for so long. And then we sink.;

The reason why most people eventually get so ill with this condition is because almost no treatments tackle step 1 the dying of the substantia nigra cells.

Yet doesnt it make sense to address the initial cause of this dreadful condition?

Of course it does.


Ive learnt a lot about this disease..

Animal Studies Suggest Running May Restore Lost Neurons

Running can completely protect mice from the neurotoxic effects of MPTP, a chemical that kills dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, causing Parkinsons disease. Researchers found that one month of voluntary running on a running wheel provided no protection, two months provided partial protection, and three months provided complete protection of loss of dopaminergic neurons.

In addition to protecting against the loss of neurons, running has been shown to increase the number of dopaminergic neurons in animal models of Parkinsons. Researchers observed restoration of lost neurons after 18 weeks of treadmill running in mice treated with MPTP.; And researchers in Korea found that running for 30 minutes twice a day for just 16 days was enough to recover some of the dopaminergic neurons killed by the neurotoxin 6-OHDA.

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Sampling And Recruitment Strategies

Convenience sampling will be used. Potential study participants will be recruited through PD support groups and outpatient clinics. PD support groups will include the following: the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation, a nonprofit rehabilitation organization serving over 100,000 members through its own primary-care facilities in Hong Kong and Hong Kong Parkinsons Disease Association, a PD patient support association serving over 1200 members.


Combinations of advertising strategies that have been found to be successful in prior recruitment initiatives for PD trials will be adopted . These strategies will include printed flyers within the patient support centers and neurological clinics. Information will be disseminated through newsletters of patient support groups, which are expected to reach around 100,000 members. Enrollment will be further aided by collaboration with outpatient clinics, including the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital and the Prince of Wales Hospital. Potential participants will be referred by neurologists during their regular medical follow-up visits. Information and registration will be accessible online.

Putting The Theory Into Practice

Can yoga help Parkinsons patients?

This is a great study. We actually use yoga in a couple of capacities at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, Dr. Holly Shill, a movement disorder neurologist and director of the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, told Healthline.

Dr. Shill said her center hosts yoga classes through their outreach program.

One of our occupational therapists, Jordan Staenberg, even uses these mindfulness yoga practices with many of our patients in their therapy sessions, she said.

We see great success, Shill added. Not only do the movements encourage better flexibility and posture, but it also helps loosen tight muscles and seems to have a calming effect for many people.


As with any exercise for patients with Parkinsons disease, the benefits are tremendous, she said. Not only for helping manage the symptoms of the disease, but also for improving overall quality of life.

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And Now I Know Why We Dont

There are 8 main factors leading to Parkinsons. Some have a small effect. A couple are huge.

Together theyre essential in beating this horrible condition.

In truth, some of them my health-care center already acted on.


For example, they prescribed dopamine-enhancing drugs. For sure, I needed more dopamine.

I had tests and underwent occupational therapy. Again, good stuff it helped me manage my problems with balance, movement, stiffness.

But I also realized they were not helping me to avoid the worst symptoms of this disease. At best, they were just delaying it.

Yet thats what I wanted most to not end up with my own personal Parkinsons horror story.

Which is why I went headlong into my own research about my illness and, eventually, found my way out.

The Disease Doesnt Stand A Chance

Because this is an illness that can be tackled on so many fronts doing what I did meant my overall health actually got better over time.

The three steps I described provide health benefits that overwhelm the downside of the disease.

You deteriorate 1 part because of the illness but improve 3 parts because of these new, powerful daily habits.

More than anything, what I learned is that Parkinsons is not the terrifying, life-destroying diagnosis that so many of us believe it to be.

I was able to choose what this illness did to me. And I chose for it to do nothing to me.

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How Yoga And Meditation May Change The Brain

Yoga is one of the leading alternative therapies used by Americans, according to a National Institutes of Health survey on alternative medicine use.

Collectively, recent research studies of the effects of meditation practice demonstrate that meditators realize significantly higher attentional abilities, enhanced cognitive abilities and brain structural changes, according to the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences Advances in Meditation Research: Neuroscience and Clinical Applications. There is increasing research evidence to support the practice of meditation techniques to help improve cognition and memory in patients with neurodegenerative diseases, the study states.

Recent Studies on Yoga and Meditation include:

  • Randomized working memory capacity trial

The results of a randomized trial of undergraduates published in the journal Psychological Science showed that participants who spent 10 minutes per day performing mindfulness meditation realized improved working memory capacity and Graduate Record Exam performance. After just two weeks of daily meditation, participants performed an average 16 points higher on the verbal portion of the GRE and demonstrated improved ability to attend to a task without distraction.

  • Neuroimaging studies of meditation
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment, Dementia/Alzheimers Study
  • Six-month study on Yogas ability to offset PD symptoms

Mental Benefits Of Yoga

Yoga for Parkinson’s Disease: Breathing Exercise (Pranayama) to slow the progression

Studies show that stress and negative emotions may have a negative effect on learning and memory. Yogas incorporation of meditation and breathing has been shown to improve a persons mental well-being.; Current research suggests that even short periods of meditation can cause changes to brain structure and function and lead to improvements in memory, attention and cognitive function. It also has been shown to positively impact mood, emotion regulation and stress resilience.

The practice of yoga and meditation may:

  • Increase peace of mind and sense of satisfaction
  • Increase ability to pay attention
  • Reduce symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, pain and insomnia
  • Increase positional sense, the ability to know where your body is in the world

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Why Choose Yoga For Parkinsons

Practicing yoga daily helps the patient who has Parkinsons disease in the following ways-

  • Reduces tremors and bradykinesia which are symptoms of the disease
  • In this disease, the patient finds difficult to move or walk, and the muscle becomes stiff, but practicing yoga loosens the muscles and improves mobility and helps in reducing the effect of disease gradually.

Study: Yoga Improved Mobility And Balance

The earlier study, published in 2012 in Yoga & Physical Therapy, showed similar results. Using a group of 13 Parkinsons patients and a control group, researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center found that doing an adapted form of Iyengar yoga twice a week for 12 weeks resulted in progress in several areas. The patients strength, range of motion, flexibility, motor function, and balance scores all improved.

Yoga provides an alternative method for addressing some of reversible factors that impact motor function like strength, flexibility and balance. The core strengthening that is part of yoga should be investigated for this reason. The individualized improvements in posture with yoga training we observed may have contributed to improved motor scores and noted gait parameters, wrote the authors of the study.

This study also investigated the effects of yoga in older, healthy adults without Parkinsons; the authors noted that yoga programs of eight and 12 weeks resulted in increased hip extension and stride length, as well as a positive effect on balance and the fear of falling.

So is yoga a complete cure-all? Not quite, but it looks like it could still be life-changing for some people.

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Yoga Remedies Urinary And Bowel Irregularities

Although, not a signature symptom of Parkinsons, yet patients of PD do suffer urinary and bowel disorders. Now, this is primarily because your bowel and urinary movements are automated by your nerves.

Thus, with most fundamental nervous disorders our urinary and bowel systems take a hit. Yoga poses will help your nerves to establish proper movement in your abdominal tracts, organs, and muscles.

You will find yoga poses that work specifically on the abdominal region. And you will find yoga poses that primarily stimulate your CNS, but indirectly benefits your gut surroundings.

Standing Forward Bend Or Uttanasana Yoga Pose

Yoga Therapy: Relief from Symptoms of Parkinsons Disease ...

In the uttanasana yoga pose for parkinsons disease, you should make sure to stand with the feet together, keep your arms in your sides and in relaxed condition for about 5 breaths. On exhalation, you should bend in a gentle way in the forward direction at your hip joints and allow your head to hang from the root of your neck. If possible, you should keep knees as straight and drop the hands to floor to give support. You should put efforts to release tension in your hips and lower back with each of your inhalations. Finally, you should hold your breath for 10 numbers.

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When Did You First Learn About The Benefits Of Yoga For Parkinsons Disease Symptoms

I have culturally been interested in Ayurveda, a holistic medicine system, for a long time. As a child, I grew up with many practices that were in this system of health even though my mother is a western trained family medicine doctor. Yoga fits into this system, which has been around for thousands of years and focuses on thinking about a person or patient in a holistic way. After the birth of my first child, I gravitated toward yoga to help my own sense of balance and wellbeing.

There are a lot of folks doing yoga here in California, US, and I see the benefits in my patients as well. As a physician who works largely with men who are veterans, it always amazes me to see the most seemingly unlikely patients thrive with yoga. A Latinx plumber in my practice really enjoyed yoga and looked better, both physically and mentally, after diving into his practice which he started after he was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease.

Dr Indu Subramanian has practiced yoga for two decades.

Can Laughter Yoga Help Me Sleep

Laughter can help improve lung function. This can help lead to a better nights rest. Some of the major sleep disturbances in people with PD are due to breathing problems. Laughing gives the lungs and chest muscles a workout by removing all the air and carbon dioxide inside the chest. This can make room for more oxygen in the lungs and make breathing a little easier.3

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According To The American Parkinson Disease Association Yoga Therapy Has Been Shown To Visibly Reduce Tremors And Improve Steadiness In Parkinson’s Patients

New Delhi: Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder. This disorder affects movement. Symptoms of the disease are tremors, stiffness or slowing of movement. While the symptoms start gradually, they can get serious with time. In the beginning, your face may not show expressions, arms not swing when you walk and your speech may become slurred. With time, these symptoms may get worse.

This year, World Parkinson’s Day is being celebrated on 11th April 2019 to spread awareness about Parkinson’s and make it easier for people with Parkinson’s to be understood. Living with a disease like Parkinson’s can be difficult, and any measures to cope with it can be beneficial. The disease cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be controlled and managed. Yoga is a great way to do so.

According to the American Parkinson Disease Association , yoga therapy has been shown to visibly reduce tremors and improve steadiness in Parkinson’s patients. Another recent study has found that people with Parkinson’s disease experience less anxiety and depression if they practise yoga focused on mindfulness and breathing exercises. Here are 4 yoga exercises or poses that patients of Parkinson’s can try to manage their symptoms better.

Getting To Know Parkinsons

Yoga for Parkinson’s Disease – Meditation

My first order of business was to investigate Parkinsons disease, or PD, the ill-mannered houseguest who had shown up at my doorstep. I did not like this intruder but knew that, having no choice in the matter, I had better respect and learn from it.

Setting forth on my quest, I quickly found out how ignorant I had been about PD. I was amazed to discover not only that was I not too young to get Parkinsons but that I was at a typical age for the diagnosis. According to Dr. Jill Marjama-Lyons, the author of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Parkinsons Disease, PDs incidence of onset peaks between the ages of 55 and 60. Up to 225,000 Americans under 50 have been diagnosed with what is called young onset Parkinsons. Although high-profile celebrities with the diseasesuch as Michael J. Fox, Muhammad Ali, and Janet Renoall have noticeable tremors, that is not the only telling symptom. While I didnt have a tremor, there are plenty of other ways the disease first makes itself known, such as the stiffness I experienced.

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Parkinsons Patients Success Stories

The first story I heard of someone fully recovering from Parkinsons disease was that of Howard Shifke. He describes how he recovered in his book Fighting Parkinsons and Winningan inspiring book that I recommend to all.

In September 2009, while working at his computer, Howard Shifke felt his entire body shaking on the inside. Howard had watched his mother suffer from Parkinsons for 24 years, and he immediately went into a state of denial that he could possibly have the same condition. But he began to realize that symptoms had been gradually coming on for some time: hunched posture, worsening balance, a shuffling gait, muscle pain and stiffness, and fatigue, among others.

Six weeks later he visited a neurologist and got a formal diagnosis of Parkinsons disease. Howard went into another state of denialdenial that his condition was incurable. He chose not to take any Parkinsons medications due to the side effects and immediately created a plan to recover from Parkinsons drug-free. His approach included the daily practice of meditation, medical Qigong, and switching to a vegetarian diet.

Are Classes Affordable

Many of the online yoga classes for PWP are $10 or less for a class. Check with your insurance to see if this is covered by your plan. There are also a lot of YouTube videos that you can watch for free. However, if you have not done yoga before, dont start with those.

Once we can get back in the gyms, try taking group classes. Most yoga instructors will give you modifications if they know that you cannot do certain poses the way they are taught. Tell them that you have Parkinson’s and they will help you. More importantly, you may find that you can do more than you thought you could. A group class, whether for PWP or regular yoga, will welcome you into a community that cares about you.

Namaste.

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