People with Parkinson’s can be trapped into a vicious cycle of escalating symptoms. Here is how the process unfolds.
Symptoms tend to creep up gradually. Little signs pop up here and there – a twitch here or a muscle cramp there. Signs are ignored or dismissed as being minor annoyances. Symptoms gradually become more persistent.
A search is launched for therapies that have the potential to provide relief. The search for relief in itself is stressful. Stress from the search inflames symptoms further. A diagnosis is made which hammers away at the idea that recovery is no longer possible.
The person begins to believe that recovery will never be possible. Since our thoughts affect our health, the next step is obvious.
Other more troubling symptoms emerge. Movement becomes more challenging. Exercise becomes painful. Movement becomes more limited. Without physical exercise symptoms are destined to get worse.
Every day tasks become much more challenging . Hope of recovery begins to hang on a very thin thread.
The problem I have thus been working on is this: How can this vicious cycle be reversed? My answer is simple.
If you can’t exercise your body, you can always exercise your mind. Why not build new neural networks without lifting a finger?
Simply put, you do not have to exercise your body to get the benefits of exercise. Research suggests that you can actually get two thirds of the benefits of physical exercise by exercising your mind (without lifting a finger).
Isn’t that a cool idea? I think so.
We can exercise our mind through memory exercises and guided visualizations. This forms new neural networks. Memory exercises facilitate the body’s ability to make dopamine. As the symptoms subside, physical exercise becomes a viable option.
Presto. You are back on the road to recovery.
I call this approach recovery “Mindwork.” Memory exercises and guided visualizations are being posted on the Parkinsons Recovery member website every week now. I am asking everyone who is participating in the Mindwork exercises to track their symptoms so we can all get an idea of how the recovery process unfolds when the mind is used as a form of exercise.
The good news is that Mindwork is fun, non intrusive and safe. The only side effects are improved health on some level.
© 2009 Parkinsons Recovery