Please feel free to cite my experience with the Smart Lounger. I’ve been using it twice a day with Suzanne’s general PD disk and once a day with her Arthritis disk, all since Easter week end. When I go to sleep I plug in to my earbuds the Peter Hubner music – this I’ve been doing since mid March.
To put things in context, I’m 62 and I’ve been diagnosed with PD for nearly seven years and as an index I’ve been on 600mg pd of Levodopa.
First, Hubner’s music is unusual but a positve pleasure to listen to and I’m convinced that it has improved the quality and length of my sleep.
Some of my problems before the Smart Lounge arrived :
I had been apprehensive about the urgency with which I could sometimes have to go to the lavatory , which of course discouraged my liquid intake and undermined one’s general social confidence.
I was liable to drool when tired, prone to back ache when standing in queues, and more conscious of the “off” periods when the medicines were not yet kicked-in, making me move slower . For example manoevering oneself in bed could be difficult and even harder in the bathroom . Then there was the slowness of doing buttons up, the nigh impossibility of getting one’s trousers fully up unaided, and the humiliation of needing my food cut up if I froze at a restaurant.
In the last three weeks I have also joined a local “Spinning” class at the local gym for 2-3 weekly 45 minute fast and challenging pedaling sessions during which one can get the pulse rate up to 120-130pm. This follows my reading of a paper by Jay L Alberts et al of the Cleveland Clinic inJuly 2009’s Neurorehabilitation and Repair.
I realize that this confuses the issue in theory , but in practice whether it’s the Smart Lounger or Spinning – one or more things are really working right and I hope for more improvements. For example I can now again wet shave myself in 3 minutes rather than have to electric shave .
I can pull my trouser up, tie my tie and shoe laces. My gait is improved, and freezing is less likely. My handwriting is “on” for more of the day. At last I really feel progress and I hope for more ….. on the road to recovery
We have benefited from reading your news posts. You have so much to share. I want to ask your opinion about the Theracycle. Do you know Parkinson’s sufferers who have benefited from this? Do you have testimonials or contacts or can you give my email to one of these. We are trying many of the suggestions we have heard about in your posts. I would like to get this equipment for my husband.
Thanks so much for your e mail. I am so glad to hear you benefit from my posts. Be sure to catch the radio program too if you have the chance. I interviewed Deborah today on the show!
On the Theracycle:
I do not know anyone specifically who has benefited from the Theracyle product. The principle of forced exercise is discussed in my radio program on April 23, 2009 with Dr. Jay Alberts, an exercise researcher from the Cleveland Clinic. Jay tells me he thinks that forced exercise might be helping to rewire the brain. His early research suggests that it may provide benefits that are equivalent to current Parkinson’s medications.
You can likely get the same benefit from using equipment at the health club that forces the person to go at a faster pace than they can do on their own. I personally think a special approach that accomplishes the same purpose is the old fashioned tandem bike – with two seats. The healthy person peddles on the front as the person with symptoms of Parkinson’s peddles on the back – keeping up so to speak.
It is not 80 RPM that is critical in my personal opinion. It is that the person on the back is being helped to go at a rate a little faster than they can do on their own. Tandem’s give both persons something fun to do together. And, both benefit from the exercise.
My hunch (without having any evidence) is that the Theracyle is probably great for people. I also suspect there are alternatives (like the tandem bikes) that are less costly. Your husband could try out forced exercise at a health club to see how his body reacts to the exercise approach. It doesn’t have to be on a Theracyle.
I do know they are working on some programming for the Theracycle specifically for Parkinson’s. That will certainly prove interesting and promising I would suspect.
Whatever you decide, please let let me know the outcome. As you are well aware, I will spread the word!
All the best,
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.