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Free Parkinsons Recovery Newsletter
I send a newsletter to your email address announcing my guests on the Parkinsons Recovery Radio show, discussing new discoveries and conveying my own thoughts about what is required for the body to come back into balance. You will also receive the links to the Sunday Connections programs as they change from week to week. All of these programs are free to access anytime but you will need to receive the newsletter to get the links.
Enter your current email address and name on the form below. You will receive an email in a few minutes from me at GetResponse (the company I employ to insure you will never be spammed).You must click on the confirmation link in this email to begin receiving the newsletters.
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Once confirmed you will begin to receive the free newsletters in your email. Your name and email address are private and confidential and will never be sold, traded, released or given to anyone or any organization for any reason. You can unsubscribe from the newsletter anytime.
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D
Several years ago I received numerous requests from people with Parkinson’s interested in having an organized summary of Parkinsons Recovery resources I have generated over the past decade. I initially resisted this idea. It takes quite a bit of time and effort to write, edit and publish books. Besides, all of the information is readily available on the websites maintained by Parkinsons Recovery.
Several people pointed out that the information is scattered all over the place: radio shows from five years ago, blog posts written over the course of 10 years. To get some of the information you need, you have to listen to a series of one hour radio shows.
I was ultimately convinced by supporters and readers of my work and proceeded to write books which summarized the insights and information I had been documenting on my many websites. The premier book is Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease, with other companion books including Pioneers of Recovery, Five Steps to Recovery and Seven Secrets to Healing. I have also released many books about specific therapies that help people find relief from their symptoms. They are listed on my Amazon author page.
How to Claim Parkinsons Recovery Resources
Many of my books are now available in public libraries, but not all libraries. If you would like to read any of my books and it is not available on the shelves of your public library, you can always submit an interlibrary loan request through your local library. Interlibrary loan requests are free to submit in most libraries. Your library should be able to obtain the book from another library that has it. If your local library receives enough interlibrary requests for a book, the staff will add it to their permanent collection. This makes the book readily available to everyone your community.
Help others by helping yourself. Claim the Parkinsons Recovery books you want to read from your public library.
Robert Rodgers PhD
What do I need to do to reverse Parkinson’s disease?
I know of no more difficult question to answer than this one. There is no reference to any symptoms that might be experienced. It is tough to provide any focus when there is no clue as to the possible root cause. Might it be heavy metals or pesticides or an infection or lyme disease or tetanus or …? Of course it takes additional investigation to figure out the answers to any of these possibilities, but having no place to start, what is the best answer possible? How in the world can someone reverse Parkinson’s disease?
Click the purple arrow below to hear my two cents worth.
How to Reverse Parkinson’s Disease
After researching the factors that aggravate the symptoms associated with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, I have drawn the conclusion that one factor in particular stands out relative to all the other factors. It is not toxins, though you would probably think it should be. It is not pesticides, though the research certainly suggests this should stack at the top of anyone’s list. And most curiously, it is not an imbalance of hormones though most people would presume this should be the top factor.
No, the single most important factor that contributes to the symptoms day in and day out is stress. When stress rears its ugly head, symptoms begin to smack people in the face and sometimes knock them over sideways. Of course, this in itself is stressful, so taming the stress demon turns out to be the challenge of a lifetime.
This revelation is why I developed the Parkinsons Recovery Mindfulness program. My honest confession is that I worked long and hard on this project because I was determined to find ways to tame my own stress level.
Be sure to check out any suggestion or recommendation you might discover here (or on any of the many Parkinsons Recovery websites and publications) with your medical doctor before deciding how to proceed. I am a researcher, not a medical doctor. My purpose is to provide persons with Parkinson’s symptoms options that they can discuss with their doctor.
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease
The phone has been ringing off the hook these past few weeks. Everyone wants to know the dates and location of the 2014 Parkinsons Recovery Summit where presenters will discuss what options reverse Parkinson’s symptoms. The answer is that I have not decided at this point. Several options are being reviewed. You will be the first to hear once the 2014 Summit has been set. We are just finishing work from the Santa Fe Summit.
Many of you have asked that presentations from the Santa Fe Summit be video taped taped so that you could see what was presented at an amazing Summit you may have been unable to attend. Although it has taken a mountain of effort and tons of money since the February Summit, videos of 19 presentations have at long last been edited and mastered.
In celebration of the release of Santa Fe videos this week – they will be available at a 25% discount for the next 24 hours. To claim you discount enter the code 2013options on the shopping cart when you check out and the price of any online videos or DVDs that you order will be automatically discounted by 25%. Any and all videos can be ordered from the Parkinsons Recovery Summit website:
Acquisitions of videos help to cover expenses of the Summit presenters and
reduce the tuition of future Summits.
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
I live in Lake Mary, Florida and I want to know if you have any Parkinsons Recovery programs here in Florida. I have been diagnostic with in a early stage of PD, currently I am taking a new medicine call AZILECT. So far I am not sure if it is working or not (I just stared last Monday) but I prefer a natural recovery with therapy.
Parkinsons Recovery provides extensive support and resources to persons across the globe using various means and technologies. I will preview below some of the support systems we have put into place.
Parkinsons Recovery Summit
We sponsor an annual Parkinsons Recovery Summit which convenes together persons who have succeeded in discovering ways to reverse their symptoms in addition to practitioners who present their own discoveries about options that are helping people reverse their symptoms. The 2013 Summit will convene in Santa Fe, New Mexico February 21-24th.
You will find information at: http://www.summit.parkinsonsrecovery.com. The early bird cost is only $150 per person for the four day event if you register by August 15th.
You are invited to connect and talk with a rotating panel of hosts (many of whom have Parkinson’s Disease and have succeeded in reversing those symptoms). If you are looking for ongoing support and resources, this is an ideal opportunity. You call in to a phone number each Sunday at 2:00 pm pacific time or connect through your computer to
talk, bounce around ideas and get fresh perspectives from people who are also on the
road to recovery: http://www.sundays.parkinsonsrecovery.com. Sunday Connections costs a mere $5 a month who helps pay for the cost of the technology we use. Parkinsons Recovery subsidizes the remaining cost.
Parkinsons Recovery Radio Show
I host a regular internet radio show which now has a large listening audience of persons just like yourself who are searching for answers. The Parkinsons Recovery Radio Show page is: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/parkinsons-recovery. All shows are archived and free to download. I have hosted the weekly show now for over three years. Each show is dedicated to issues connected with Parkinsons.
Parkinsons Recovery Blog
There is a wealth of information on the Parkinsons Recovery Blog:
Parkinsons Recovery Chat Room
Enter the chat room 24 hours a day. The 24 hour Chat Room is always open and free.
How do you know whether the therapies you are pursuing are helping? Track your symptoms over time for free. Use the Parkinsons Recovery Symptom Tracker.
Write me your questions. I am happy to research them or find people who can help sort out the answers. You of course already know about this free service because you submitted the question above.
Parkinsons Recovery Free Magazine
Thanks for your interest in the work of Parkinsons Recovery. The exciting news of the year is that more and more people are figuring out ways to reverse their symptoms.
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Pioneers of Recovery
On Friday, June 22, two workshops will be presented at the very same time slot: A preview of how TMJ treatment has helped people recover from Parkinson’s symptoms and a presentation by John Baumann, an international speaker on Parkinsons who inspires everyone to embrace health and wellness.
The Parkinsons Recovery Summit is being held in Cincinnati, Ohio June 22-23 at the Garfield Suites Hotel.
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
| Reversing Many Parkinson’s
Symptoms And Reversing
Parkinson’sCheryl tells her story with a
dental device she nicknamed
Henry. Jo Rosen, Founder and
President of Parkinson’s
Resource Organization, joins
her to discuss the TMJ
results and other exciting
12:00 – 1:30
|Decide Success: 12 Action
Steps to Live Life to the
Fullest with Parkinsons
You Ain’t Dead YetThis amazing workshop
offered by a proud ten year
person with Parkinsons
instructs People with
Parkinsons how to successfully
live life to the fullest.
Several weeks ago I sent out an invitation to persons who receive my free newsletter to do an exercise I have found personally powerful. The invitation was to jump ahead one year to January, 2013 and reflect back on everything you are grateful for. In other words, you set in motion the ability to manifest your dreams for 2012.
What follows is an email from Alan who has given permission to post here on the Parkinsons Recovery blog.
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Pioneers of Recovery
A student went to his teacher/guru, having become quite sick.
“I see you have made yourself ill, said the teacher, but tomorrow you will feel better.”
Gladdened, the student went home and regained health. He returned to thank the teacher, who said,
“I see you have made yourself well. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?”
A wave of fear went through the student at the prospect of becoming ill again. He did become ill again and could hardly drag himself back to the teacher. Of course, the teacher said,
“You have again made yourself again indisposed.”
The student, exhausted, asked the teacher what was going on.
“Really, it has been your thoughts that have alternatively made you feel weak and strong. You have seen how your health has exactly followed your subconscious expectations. Thought is a force, even as electricity or gravity.”
He then went on to explain that the mind is a spark of divine consciousness and that a thought, if believed intensely, would come to pass. pp.133-4.
I could certainly use some work on the intensity of thought, but doing the exercise that Robert suggested has helped change my thinking. I listened to his broadcast many times to be sure I understood it. Then, I took some planned time and made my list of improvements as if looking back on them from 2013.
The next day, I found that I had planted those “subconscious expectations” mentioned above. For the past few weeks, that phrase “subconscious expectations” has been coming to mind. I wondered how I could set them up to be relieved of the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Without realizing it, this was the answer. Writing things out commits yourself to what you are writing. The next day. I kept thinking that change is possible and started acting as if it was happening.
The support for acting out change comes from within!! It is cool to see thought go to work for you. Everything will correspond. Of course, there is a battle between what is and what I can change. The nice thing is that the writing strongly plants new seeds in the mind of healthy thoughts because it is one of your actions–and it is free!
List of gratitude:
- I restore full use of my left hand with flexibility and contractions are released.
- My steady balance is restored.
- I have excellent bladder control.
- I regain and surpass the muscle mass that I have lost in the past few years.
- I turn over spontaneously in bed while sleeping.
- I live in a manner that improves my health, day by day.
- As my symptoms disappear, my medications are reduced down to nothing.
- Complete feeling returned to the left side of my body and face.
- I advance in my career, personal growth, and wealth.
- I easily chew and swallow all foods and liquids. Choking has ceased. I swallow saliva spontaneously.
- I complete all tasks, intellectual and physical, easily with normal speed.
- I walk efficiently with a normal gait and maintain a completely upright posture.
- I lift and carry heavy items with ease.
- I give positive encouragement to others.
It is necessary to have something in your mind besides devastation. I stayed positive and had faith in my first year and a half. I seemed to have spiritual healings but not so much physical ones. I was trying to defeat the “medical model”: it will progress.
That is all I knew and believed (from the Internet), and I did get worse in that time. I found Parkinsons Recovery at this time of year in 2008-9. I soon committed myself to recovery, starting with vitamins. I’ve had to fight progression, and it has been challenging. What is truly better this year is my eye viewing the scenery, close or far.
I am spontaneous at noticing things. My eyes flit about instead of stare, and I turn and notice things. Example: I heard some women laugh after a man spoke at the grocery checkout. I turned 180 degrees to see what that was. A tall man had just joked with three women who were facing him. I was surprised at my quick, turn around response. I have become more socially spontaneous, too.
Now, I hope to get into bodybuilding again. Two years ago, I couldn’t find any thoughts to desire it at all, and it had been a passion of mine. Listening to the music of Johann Strauss has freed me up to start thinking about mobility again. I can picture the ballroom dancers seen on youtube when I hear or think of this music. Prior to this, I couldn’t picture any motion at all.
Now, I need to expand my visualization to other activity. I used a study where one group exercised, one group imagined exercising, and another group did nothing. The second group improved, though not as much as the first. The third group made no improvement. This study told me that the mind will affect the body in regard to motion.
My biggest crisis this year was whether to go down in defeat or not. Howard Schifke said, if you fight Parkinson’s, it will fight you back. After that, I could see you can fight the whole thing–it may be fierce, but its fierceness does not have to beat you into a hole.
When you set up one therapy or practice you open up other possibilities of healing. I am excited with the effects already of making this list of gratitude for recovery in 2012.
I am appalled at the lack of scientific methodology demonstrated by your survey parameters. People with Parkinsons (PWP) are generally on a cocktail of medications to maintain a “reasonable” facsimile of a normal life. These medications do not effect the degenerative nature of the disease in any way; they merely mask the symptoms of the disease. Based on this fact, it is quite natural that the patient would “feel” better than in the past. Otherwise, what would be the sense it taking all the drugs? Had this been a valid survey, you would have to take the PWP off their drugs for a couple of weeks a year and then ask your question.
What you have created with your survey is merely pseudo scientific nonsense where the data proves your conclusion. Now either you realize this and are perpetrating a fraud just to sell books, or you have forgotten how to conduct a survey such that the data provides the conclusion.
I would ask that you voluntarily stop your survey and the spread of false information.
PWP need real facts not fiction. Life is hard enough with Parkinson’s, we do not need false hopes. Pedal your snake oil solutions somewhere else.
Thanks for your quick retraction of your “Survey”
Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to clarify for everyone that the 2012 New Year Survey is not – I repeat not – a scientific survey. The survey asks two simple questions. The first asks people who currently experience the symptoms of Parkinson’s to report on how they are feeling overall now relative to this same time last year. The second question asks that another person in the same household who does not have Parkinson’s answer the same question.
The motivation behind the 2012 New Year Survey is not to prove anything or study anything. There are many reasons why the 2012 New Year Survey is not scientific. The sample is certainly not random. After all – the persons who will respond are persons who are connected in some fashion or another to the work of Parkinsons Recovery. This group of individuals are typically exploring a wide variety of therapies of one form or another that are offering sustained relief from their symptoms. Results will offer a snap shot descriptive picture of this highly truncated population.
The mission of Parkinsons Recovery is to document any therapies that people have discovered are helping them get relief from symptoms. I want people to realize that there are some people who are feeling better this year than last year.
Beliefs about the prospects of recovery have a huge impact on the recovery process. If we believe that Parkinson’s symptoms will get worse every year – then I can assure you they will get worse. End of story.
Yes – it is true that I am a scientist but I am not designing a study here. My intent is to influence people’s attitudes and install hope for the coming year of 2012. Some people have been successful with reversing their symptoms. I want people to know the good news.
At some point I will design a study to evaluate recovery. The final design however will not require that people go off their medications. The result of such a requirement could be potentially dangerous for some people. No one should simply stop taking their medications without close consultation with their doctors and other heath care providers.If people were surveyed who went cold turkey on their medications, they would report feeling significantly worse.
As you point out, the good news about medications is that they do provide relief to some people over the short term. Over the long term however, symptoms tend to worsen, requiring higher dosages and the burden of possible side effects. The long term studies of people taking medications show a decline on average of about 3-4% each year.
Taking medications is one choice among many other choices that can be considered. People who are on the road to recovery typically explore a wide variety of therapies which often include medications (including diet, exercise and many others).
If this were a scientific study I would add a long list of additional questions to control for confounding factors. For example, I would be asking about all of the therapies the respondents are currently undergoing in addition to a long list of other questions. Again, the results of the 2012 New Year Survey will simply describe the current situation of persons who happen to follow the work of Parkinsons Recovery.
Finally, I invite everyone over the holidays to scroll back to the several years of radio shows that I have aired with researchers, medical doctors, naturopaths, psychologists and and variety of health care professionals who talk about what is helping people get relief from their symptoms.
As a researcher, I am looking everywhere for information about what is helping people who currently experience the symptoms of Parkinsons get relief from their symptoms. If a therapy is helping some people I want others to know about it! I want people to know that there are many options to consider.
Again, thanks for your input. Most people who had the same thoughts would not have bothered writing me! I have no doubt that other people have likely had the same thoughts.
I also want to take this opportunity to preview a few of the free support services that are offered by Parkinsons Recovery. Incidentally, all of the information contained in my books has already been posted on the Parkinsons Recovery blog or is covered in one of my radio shows.
Parkinsons Recovery Newsletter
Receive free newsletters about our discoveries by adding your email when visiting the main Parkinsons Recovery website at:
Parkinsons Recovery Magazine
Articles by health care providers and persons with Parkinsons are published in this quarterly Parkinsons Recovery Internet publication. Obtain your free back issues by visiting:
I air a free weekly internet radio Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m pacific time. Every show is different, though the theme is always the same: what are people doing that offers relief from symptoms?
I have hosted guests from across the globe who discuss what is making a significant difference for people who currently experiences symptoms of Parkinsons Disease. The main page for the Parkinsons Recovery Radio Show is:
All shows are archived so recordings of all past shows will always be available and of course are free.
I regularly post information on the Parkinsons Blog where you will find the most current scoop. If you are reading this post – you have already landed on the blog!
Parkinsons Recovery Chat Room:
Participate in the chat room 24 hours a day. Access will always be free.
Symptom Tracker :
How do you know whether the therapies you are choosing to pursue help? Track your symptoms over time. The Parkinsons Recovery Symptom Tracker will always be free and available 24 hours a day (unless the server is down which happens on rare occasions).
Every time you answer the 39 questions from the Parkinsons Disease Questionnaire (39)
(which is a standard research instrument for Parkinsons) you will see a graph that shows your personal progress toward recovery. Any areas that need to be brought to the attention of your doctor will also be evident from your progress report.
Write me your questions. I am happy to research them or find people who can help with the answers. Again, this service is free.
Thanks for your interest in the work of Parkinsons Recovery. Important things are happening for everyone.
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
I just received a special offer from my publisher: a 25% discount on orders of any of my books. As the author I personally cannot take advantage of this great deal – but you can if you are interested in having a paperback version of one or all of my books.
The 25% discount is good until December 14, 2011. The websites listed below provide the links to the publisher’s page that lists my books.
Here is how to get the discount. First, visit any of the book websites below and click on a link to order a paperback book. Once you are on the publisher page (lulu.com) click to order the book. After designating your preferred shipping method look for a field to enter a coupon code. The coupon code to enter is: BUYMYBOOK305. Update the shopping cart and the 25% discount will be applied. You have to order directly from the publisher, not through Amazon.
Here are the relevant websites that have links to the paperback books:
Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease
Pioneers of Recovery
Five Steps to Recovery
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Bianca Molle’s, a guest on my radio show on June 15, 2011, discusses her journey to recover from symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in her essay, Shakin’ to Awaken’. Her metamorphosis and subsequent full recovery from Parkinson’s disease is an inspiration for everyone.
Bianca is one of the nine pioneers who is featured in the second edition of Pioneers of Recovery to be released this month.
Metamorphosis: Shakin’ to Awaken
By Bianca (Blanche) Molle
(Originally presented 9/24/10, at The Marin County, California Civic Center)
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly” -proverb
I found a refrigerator magnet with that lovely proverb while waiting in line at Whole Foods shortly after I had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. That saying became my mantra. I needed it to be my mantra because something told me that I could find some good in my situation. What was my situation?
For a number of years I had felt pain and extreme fatigue. Of course, I wasn’t getting any younger, and teaching middle school requires so much energy in the classroom, and grading and planning in the ‘off hours,’ that I thought this was just a sign that I was ready to retire. And my handwriting had become so small and cramped that my students could no longer decipher the very cogent, insightful comments I was writing on their papers. Also, I had demonstrated a tremor that had gone from almost negligible to formidable over the past few years. When it got in the way of one of my favorite activities, eating, particularly eating soup, I went to see my first neurologist.
So, in April, 2008, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and began a program of treatment medications shortly after my retirement that June. I was taking Sinemet 25/100, the dopamine drug, three times a day, and Requip once daily. After a while, my symptoms began to worsen. I had the option of increasing my meds, something I did not want to do. What I was really looking for was relief from the chronic pain. I could continually feel the muscles in my spine and arms and shoulders contract. Also, navigating stairs became a cumbersome endeavor, feeling like I had sandbags strapped to my arms and legs as I tried to make my way up to the bedroom.
Although I found myself increasingly inactive, it’s not like I took m situation lying down. In the first year after my diagnosis I was proactive about research and treatment. I saw two neurologists and a movement disorder specialist, visited the Parkinson’s Center in Sunnyvale, California, applied to and was selected for the PD DNA study co-sponsored by Sergei Brin of Google and Michael J. Fox, a study called ‘23andMe’. I had also joined the local PD support group, researched and read numerous books and internet sites, practiced yoga till I became too stiff for ‘downward facing dog’ and so off-balance that my tree pose looked like ‘downward falling tree’!! I had explored every avenue, visited everywhere, except inside myself.
Enter Qigong, with its holistic approach that integrates the body, mind, and spirit.
In June of 2009 I attended a Healer Within workshop presented by Mingtong Gu at The Marin JCC. Mingtong explained a little bit about energy clearing out the blockages that cause disease and then we began a Level 1 physical practice, Lift Chi Up Pour Chi Down. Although I was shaky and having some difficulty following directions, I immediately felt a layer of pain lift away. Something was happening. By the end of the weekend, Sunday night, I was convinced that qigong was working for me. Then, as we were leaving, Mingtong announced that anyone working on healing a chronic or serious illness should expect to practice a minimum of two to three hours daily. When I first heard this, my state shifted from blissful to annoyed. What, two to three hours a day?! I didn’t sign up for that! The truth is, I hadn’t signed up for Parkinson’s either. So I began reflecting, and within a few moments my attitude changed from negative to positive. It was a no-brainer. What was better: two to three hours of qigong practice daily, or ten to twelve hours on the sofa everyday, fatigued and in pain?
Probably one of the most difficult aspects of receiving my diagnosis was breaking the news to my family and friends. I couldn’t bear to see sorrow or pity in their faces. So I told them that this was a gift. Here I was retiring, and now I had Carte Blanche to indulge myself. An example of this was visiting friends in Melbourne, Australia, during the winter of 2009. Then, at the June qigong workshop, Mingtong offered a Zhineng qigong retreat in China for the following fall. I went home, got on the computer, and booked the trip to Guelin, which happens to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
I began pinching myself. This Parkinson’s journey was becoming a wonderful adventure. Qigong became my tour guide. I continued to practice at home, three hours a day, every day, doing the physical forms as well as the sound-healing and other Zhineng qigong meditational practices. Something unusual began to happen. Generally, I didn’t need the clock to tell me it was time for more PD meds, my body would tell me first. Then my body began forgetting. I took that as a sign that maybe I didn’t need so much medication anymore, so I gradually took myself off all PD medications, ( I did this while practicing qigong a minimum of three hours per day and am not offering medical advice here or anywhere in this narrative; I’m simply relating my story) . So by 9/24/2009, the day I left for China, I had been off all PD meds for almost a month. I wanted to work on my situation at the China retreat without drugs possibly masking the symptoms.
By this time much of the pain and fatigue and some other symptoms had gone or greatly abated, but not the tremors. This made meals in China, using chopsticks, an entertaining and suspenseful event. Needless to say, I managed to eat very well, despite some aborted efforts between rice bowl and final destination.
I continued my practice when I returned home from the retreat, and still practice a minimum of three hours a day, or minimum two hours a day when I’m working. (This retired teacher now substitutes and loves it, and is full of energy, not fatigue.) I saw the neurologist last week and was described as ‘showing no signs of Parkinson’s at all.’ And it’s not just me, some people with Parkinson’s in the qigong community are demonstrating steady signs of improvement – like reduced tremors, better balance, increased flexibility in shoulders, faster, more fluid walking, and more energy.
If dedicated practice can show such benefits for a neurological condition, then what about for every human condition? Einstein said it best: “Either everything is a miracle or nothing is a miracle.” We can create miracles in our lives through dedication, practice, and positive intention. I came to qigong seeking a physical healing, and received that and so much more. Returning to the butterfly metaphor, I could say that qigong brought my body and spirit out of mothballs. And now that I’m flying free., let me wish one and all a giant “HAOLA” – “All is well.”
***Because this was originally a timed oral presentation, I omitted some details like severe constipation, sometimes difficulty swallowing (choking sensation) especially when in a prone position, sometimes dragging of right foot, Parkinson’s dry eye, and some lack of mental clarity, also my hands tended to “hook in” , with fingertips curling toward wrists, especially when at rest.
I have also focused energies this summer on answering the following question which I keep getting from a number of members:
I am doing everything right according to Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease. I have pursued a number of the suggestions offered by radio show guest. Yet, I am still experiencing symptoms (though they are better). What am I doing wrong?
I address the answers I have found to this question in the telesminar recording that you can hear by clicking on the arrow below. The session lasts about 20 minutes. I also preview what you will see what is coming up over the next few months at Parkinsons Recovery
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease
Today I am one year symptom free from Parkinson’s Disease. This is truly a blessing.
My Parkinson’s Coaching has been going very well; many people are seeing tremendous improvement, and I do not use the word tremendous lightly. It is very exciting. I appreciate the radio show interview you did with me and the evening of free Parkinson’s Coaching. A few people who have signed up for Parkinson’s Coaching had listened to one, or both, of those evenings, so thank you very much for that as well.
Today, in honor of my one year with no Parkinson’s symptoms, I made an offer that anybody who signs up for the One-Month Parkinson’s Coaching Package by June 30, 2011 will receive an additional two weeks of Parkinson’s Coaching free. The details are located at http://www.fightingparkinsonsdrugfree.com/2011/06/12/fighting-parkinsons-and-one-year-symptom-free/. I just wanted to let you know in case you ran into anybody thinking about Parkinson’s Coaching. This would be a good time for them to sign up.
Howard’s work is quite simply amazing. In my book of good decisions, his time sensitive offer is worth taking seriously!
I recall you mentioned that one of your relative had Parkinsons, were they able to fully recover based on your methods?
My mother was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease. She died in 1998 from a stroke caused by the side effects and interactions of taking a dozen prescription medications for a variety of symptoms – some related to Parkinsons and many unrelated.
I founded Parkinsons Recovery in 2005, seven years after my mother died. A huge motivation for my work has been driven by her sad fate. She became confused and disoriented from the medications she took. A stroke resulted.
While medications can be very helpful to a person’s recovery, I decided there had to be other therapies that could have helped her which were safe, natural and had no side effects. My research over the past five years proves this hunch to be right.
My uncle also had Parkinsons due to prolonged stress. He died in 2009. Gordon was aware of Parkinsons Recovery but elected to rely solely on the medications prescribed by his doctor. There was a good reason for this choice. His medications worked beautifully for several years until rapid deterioration set in.
I need to clarify -I do not promote or offer any program or therapeutic approach. I am a researcher who is documenting what works and what does not work – what helps and what does not help.
The one approach I suggest to everyone is to empower themselves to heal. That has been the inspiration for Jump Start to Wellness. I believe that we all have the ability to listen to our bodies and recover from any chronic condition for in the end, all healing comes from a place deep within us.
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Angela Wensley was a guest on my radio show on October 28, 2010. You can listen to the show by visiting http://www.blogtalkradio.com/parkinsons-recovery. Angela wrote a thorough update describing the treatment options she has pursued. Her update is posted below. Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
This update is intended not only for my friends and family, but also for people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Please feel free to pass this on to anyone that you may know who has a diagnosis of PD as they may find some of the information helpful. I was diagnosed with the symptoms of PD in May 2007, over 3 1/2 years ago at age 59. At the time of diagnosis, I was informed that not only was the cause unknown (“idiopathic”), but also that it was irreversible and progressive. Initially, I questioned the diagnosis but any doubts were resolved when I traveled to Los Angeles in September 2007 for a PET scan that confirmed (in medical-speak) that there was: moderately decreased dopamine accumulation into the posterior putamen on the left side of my brain, consistent with PD. Since then, I have come to accept the diagnosis as my symptoms have become rather “classic”. In particular, I have tremours in my right hand and these have become increasingly worse as the years have progressed.
The progression of my PD symptoms has not been linear, but instead I experience it in waves with definite peaks and valleys. The symptoms can be pronounced for a number of days interspaced by days of calm where I am almost symptom-free. Over time, however, the general trend has been a gradual progression downward (probably corresponding to dopamine depletion in the part of my brain responsible for motor activities) with the valleys becoming more savage and the peaks becoming shorter. In addition, there can be variations in my tremours during the day. When I am relaxed, I have no tremours. When under stress, or excitement, or cold, the tremours become more pronounced.
The worst situation is “White Coat Syndrome” whenever I visit a medical doctor or a neurologist. On those occasions, my tremours are effectively out of control. Other PD symptoms such as impaired arm swing, problems with gait, problems with balance, and constipation are so far in the mild category. Besides tremour, the other most bothersome PD symptom for me has been “micrographia.” As I can no longer move the fingers on my right hand, my ability to write has decreased to the point where I have ceased keeping a daily journal, something that I had been doing since the 1980s. Also, typing has become difficult and slow. Luckily, Dragon voice-activated software has come to my rescue and I now dictate most of my communications (such as this update).
I plot the progression of my PD every three months using the Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (PDRS) from 0 to 100 on the website www.PatientsLikeMe.com where my patient name is “Dawn Angel”. My current rating is 7. It has been as high as 14. My human tendency is to self-evaluate when I’m feeling good so it is possible that my PDRS is higher at some times.
So far, I have avoided taking any of the Parkinson’s medications (with a brief exception of one month after I was first diagnosed when I took Mirapex, a dopamine agonist that for me had dreadful side effects). To me, the PD medications are a last resort. Since they will only provide a certain number of years of effectiveness it seems reasonable to forestall taking them until it is absolutely necessary, that is, when having the symptoms is no longer preferable to the side effects of the meds. I have been able to work for three years post diagnosis but I’m at the point where it may not be possible to continue working as a freelance consulting engineer. I haven’t had any jobs since June 2010, so it is difficult to say if it is time for me to retire.
I am fortunate to have two outstanding neurologists on my side, Andrew Wolfenden and Jon Stoessl, although I only see them once a year. Stoessl is the director of the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre. I see him at the Movement Disorders Clinic at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. With Western medicine offering only drugs that mask the symptoms of PD and unable to otherwise treat the condition, it is inevitable that a person diagnosed with PD will seek out alternative forms of medicine. My naturopath Caleb Ng
is a valuable part of my team. Ideally, a person diagnosed with PD should have a team of practitioners, including at least one neurologist, their GP, a naturopath, a physiotherapist, an herbalist, a massage therapist, a personal trainer, a psychotherapist, and others. The reality, however, is that no “team” really exists. My personal trainer may know my chiropractor, and my naturopath may have met my neurologist, but this is not team behaviour. The cold truth is that each patient is pretty well left to their own devices. So one must be proactive and become better informed, often more so then their practitioners. We are the keepers of the complete story.
There are many very good publications on PD available in book form. Some that I have found to be exceptional are:
1. Jill Marjama-Lyons and Mary J. Shomon, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Parkinson’s Disease,” Warner Books (2003).
2. Gretchen Garie, Michael J. Church, and Winnifred Conkling, “Living Well With Parkinson’s Disease,” Collins (2007).
3. David A. Grimes, “Parkinson’s: Everything You Need to Know,” Firefly Books (2004).
4. Geoffrey Leader and Lucille Leader, “Parkinson’s Disease: Reducing Symptoms with Nutrition and Drugs,” Denor Press (2009).
5. Laurie K. Mischley, “Natural Therapies for Parkinson’s Disease,” Coffeetown Press (2010).
6. Abraham Lieberman, “100 Questions and Answers about Parkinson’s Disease,” Jones and Bartlett (2003).
7. David H. Anderson, “How to Tame Parkinson’s by Keeping Fit,” Authorhouse (2005).
8. John Ball, “Living Well, Running Hard,” Authorhouse (2005).
9. Arthur W. Curren, “Dumb Bells and Dopamine,” Authorhouse (2006).
Downloadable books from the Internet include:
1. John C. Coleman, “Stop Parkin’ and Start Livin’: Reversing the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease,” available for a fee from www.returntostillness.com.au
3. Janice Walton-Hadlock, “Recovering from Parkinson’s Disease: Understanding its Cause and Mastering and Effective Treatment,” available for free from www.pdrecovery.org/ (I do not necessarily endorse the concepts or opinions of the author but found it a compelling and worthwhile read; too bad she won’t converse with anyone that has been on PD meds such as Mirapex for a month!)
There are almost unlimited resources available on the Internet. By far the best PD website is www.PatientsLikeMe.com that has over 5000 members with PD.
My “Dawn Angel” profile there has been browsed over 7000 times at the time of writing this update.
PD PREVENTATIVE MEASURES
The various measures I have taken in my attempts to slow the progression of PD are listed below in approximate order of effectiveness (my perception). The regimen I am on is constantly changing but the overall goal remains the same: to feel as good as I can.
3. Neuroprotective supplements
5. Brain therapies
The initial diagnosis of PD scared me so much that I decided I had to get into the best possible physical shape to be able to combat the progression of PD. I also engaged a personal trainer, Julie Beenham, to keep me honest. I have seen Julie since June 2007 and would consider our sessions the single most effective measure I have taken against my PD. Within a few months, I had dropped over 40 pounds through a regimen that included running every morning for 5 miles (running for my life) plus extensive workouts in the gym in the afternoon in addition to my sessions with Julie. While my initial reasoning was correct in terms of my being better prepared to withstand the ravages of the disease, I have since found out that intense physical exercise can also have neuroprotective benefits. All the more reason to keep it up. I counsel other people with PD to start exercising and keep at it even when they don’t feel like it.
My exercise regimen has varied significantly over the years, particularly with the seasons, but exercise still remains the most effective method I have found for relief from the symptoms of PD. I have also had to accommodate changes to my body thanks to Mr. Parkinson. For example, I have nearly-constant pain in my right hip that now prevents me from running or from using certain equipment in the gym. When I find I can no longer do one thing (use an elliptical training machine) I do whatever I can to keep that it. A “toe crest” helped keep the toes on my right foot from curling under; I still use toe sleeves to prevent the formation of corns. When these measures weren’t enough I found something else that I could use: a stationary bicycle. I will continue with this practical approach as long as I am able. Whenever possible, I indulge in two of my favourite sports, tennis and kickboxing. Not bad for someone who’s 63 years old!
Currently, my gym workouts consist of roughly 30 minutes of cardio, 30 minutes of weight training, and 30 minutes of stretching. As mentioned above, the cardio originally was done on an elliptical machine but now I use an upright bicycle. Weights involved a number of machines but also free weights (dumbbells). I have found that stretching is an important component of any exercise regimen and worth the time taken for it.
I see my personal trainer Julie twice a week for one hour each time. In our ever varying routine, she has me attempt a number of balance exercises. I can balance on my left leg very well but balance on my right leg is problematic. Standing on a wobble board is possible but is becoming an increasing challenge for me. We do part of each session with my eyes closed which seems to be helpful. Each session ends with stretching, the best part!
I had given up playing tennis in 2005 after a rotator cuff injury made it impossible for me to raise my right arm (I am right-handed) out to the side and overhead. Little did I know that a “frozen shoulder” is often a sign of PD. In 2008, on the advice of a friend who had seen an amputee play tennis again after switching to his left arm, I resumed playing tennis as a lefty. When my right arm finally came around in 2009, I morphed into an ambidextrous player with both right and left handed forehands. We bought a condo in a tennis community in Delray Beach, Florida that we visit twice a year for a month each time and were I can indulge my tennis habit. Back home in the relatively cold Northwest I see a tennis coach on a weekly basis and play indoors during the winter.
When I play tennis, my PD symptoms also take a vacation although videos show that I am clearly compensating for any impaired movement. Nonetheless, my footwork is good as is my ability to run and make shots from either side of the court. Why this is so is not really clear to me. Perhaps doing something that one really loves is conducive to generating dopamine, the neurotransmitter in short supply in the brains of people with PD. I suspect that it has something to do with the repetitive nature of the game and the delightful sense of vibration when the ball is well struck. For this reason, I prefer “tennis therapy” with a coach feeding me shots, to actually playing a game. I have noticed that on those rare occasions where I summon up extra energy through adrenaline (which consumes dopamine) I pay for it later in terms of a short-lived exacerbation of my PD symptoms. The trick is to learn how to stay relaxed while playing the game.
It was Julie my personal trainer who introduced me to kickboxing. The kickboxing I do is not in the ring (!) but rather with a partner holding pads or in a gym with a kickboxing circuit. In the summer I am able to set up a punching bag outdoors in the carport but most of the time I now go to “30 Minute Hit”, a local kickboxing circuit. There is something about the contact and the vibrations from the punches that help calm the symptoms of PD. Besides, it just feels good to hit someone! There is clearly some adrenaline production involved with kickboxing as my tremours are usually set off for several minutes after I complete the circuit.
Since my diagnosis with PD, I have seen a number of physiotherapists. I am relatively good at following orders and did whatever exercises they recommended, with satisfactory outcomes. Initially, my focus was to regain the use of my right arm. More recently, I have been addressing the progressive effects of PD on my body.
As mentioned above, I had given up playing tennis in 2005 after a rotator cuff injury. After my diagnosis with PD in 2007, I worked very hard on regaining the function of my right shoulder. I underwent two months of prolotherapy from a naturopath where dextrose was injected into my tendons (hurt like hell) to promote improved blood supply and healing. In this regard, the prolotherapy was very effective, although I still had to follow up with more than a year of intense physiotherapy. There is still some residual pain in my right shoulder and a tendency for the femur to sit outside of its socket, but for all intents and purposes I have regained a full range of motion. I continue to receive physiotherapy on my right shoulder.
In 2009, I began to see Dan Sivertson, a physiotherapist who practices “Intramuscular Stimulation” (IMS), a therapy developed in Vancouver BCwww.istop.org/. IMS is a form of “scientific acupuncture” where the needles are inserted into the problem area such as tight or shortened muscles, without application of electric current (I have little time for non-scientific or traditional acupuncture that relies on mythical meridians to determine where the needles should be placed.). The results of IMS have been amazing and muscles that I thought had been irrevocably tightened have loosened up. There has also been a significant reduction in pain, especially in my right hip. IMS must be considered as part of a complete physiotherapy package that includes myofascial release and massage.
Currently, Dan and I are working on improving my posture. One of the progressive features of PD is the gradual tightening of muscles that progressively cause a stooped posture. With weekly sessions of physiotherapy and daily posture exercises we are keeping the ravages of PD to a minimum at least as they affect my posture and mobility.
While some people regard chiropractic as a pseudoscience, my experience has been that it is very effective for treating lower back pain. I have had lower back pain for at least 30 years, well before my diagnosis with PD. Whenever I put my back “out” I see a chiropractor as soon as possible and usually a few adjustments set me right. In the past, I used to go for physiotherapy and it took over a month to get any benefit. Chiropractic is faster and more effective than physiotherapy for relief of lower back pain, in my opinion. In addition to chiropractic, exercises to strengthen my “core” help me to recover quickly from recurring back injuries.
Deep tissue massage is another form of physiotherapy that I have found to be beneficial for PD. In 2010, I had a package of 10 sessions of Hellerwork. Over a couple of months, my Hellerworker Melissa Patton accessed and massaged all accessible fascia of my body. Despite the intensity of the bodywork, the sessions were soothing and felt heavenly.
I am currently experimenting with an inflatable splint of the kind used for retraining of stroke patients by immobilizing spastic limbs. The splint is used to straighten my right arm and eliminate the crook in the elbow. I use it three times a day for 10 minutes at a time. It feels good to have my arm straightened.
Minimal contact therapies
There are a couple of therapies that have reportedly had good effect on people with PD. One of these is Bowen Therapy. I have had several sessions of Bowen and found them very relaxing but did not experience any lasting effects. I did, however, find that osteopathy was effective. I have seen in osteopath in New Zealand on a few occasions when I was working there and found his techniques to be effective in reducing lower back pain as well as being very relaxing. If there was a local osteopath, he or she would be in my “team” of caregivers.
Neuroprotective supplements are also referred to as “anti-aging” supplements or “mitochondrial enhancing agents” and are taken in addition to the conventional antioxidants (such as vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin E, and selenium). Most of these supplements are taken orally; the very powerful antioxidant glutathione must be taken intravenously. While I am normally very skeptical of practices that come across as pseudoscience, I can appreciate the rationale for taking supplements that could protect the brain.
The first neuroprotective supplement I began taking (in 2007) was co-enzyme Q-10 after I read that a small clinical trial had revealed that it slowed the progression of PD. Subsequent, larger, studies have not found any beneficial effect on PD but I was willing to go with at least the chance of a good result. I have since learned that the ubiquinol form of co-enzyme Q-10 is superior to (and more expensive) the ubiquinone form.
In 2008, I chanced upon “The Better Brain Book” by neurologist David Perlmutter http://renegadeneurologist.com. The book contains a chapter on maintaining brain function using antioxidants and other compounds that facilitate the functioning of existing neurotransmitters. The protocol recommended by Perlmutter for PD patients is more extensive than that recommended for normal people who simply wish to improve their brain function.
I am currently taking the following neuroprotective supplements:
– Alpha lipoic acid* (time-release) 1200 mg per day.
– N-acetyl cysteine* 600 mg per day.
– Phosphatidylcholine 420 mg per day.
– Phosphatidylserine* 100 mg per day.
– Acetyl l-carnitine* 500 mg per day.
– Co-enzyme Q-10* (ubiquinol) 600 mg per day.
– NADH 5 mg per day.
– DHA + EPA (omega-3*) 660 mg +330 mg two times per day.
– Glutathione* (intravenous) 2500 mg per week.
* Recommended by David Perlmutter.
The glutathione IVs are administered by my ND, Caleb Ng. The protocol is that recommended by David Perlmutter. By the way, there is a video with David Perlmutter showing the near-miraculous effects of glutathione injections on people with PD http://www.glutathioneexperts.com/benefits-glutathione.html that to me seems to be a startling example of the “placebo effect.” I have never experienced anything even remotely resembling the improvement rapidly shown by the people in the video but again, my PD symptoms are not as advanced as those shown in the video. If glutathione has any effect on my symptoms, I believe that glutathione has produced a small (1-2) decrease in my PDRS.
In addition to the special mitochondrial enhancing supplements, I take vitamin C in both in time-release form and also as mixed ascorbates (total 4800 mg vitamin C per day), vitamin D drops (4000 IU per day), selenium drops (260 mcg per day), and zinc drops (30 mg per day) and others. I have my blood work checked regularly and have near-ideal results (all parameters within reference ranges). For years my cholesterol was chronically high and required meds for regulation; now it is excellent (high HDL and low LDL) without meds. Also, I used to be on meds for high blood pressure; now my blood pressure is close to ideal (typically 110/65) and I no longer take meds.
Although it is difficult to say whether all of these supplements are having any effect on my PD, I figure that at least I am extending my life!
The first alteration to my diet was to eat mostly organic foods to minimize the amount of pesticides that I was incidentally ingesting. Pesticides have been implicated with PD in some cases so I was not about to take the chance that my PD was unrelated to pesticides. I also began eating more fish and less red meat. In 2009, I heard about Donnie Yance, an herbalist in Ashland, Oregon, who had a protocol for treating patients with PD. I read his paper, “Parkinson’s Disease and the Use of Botanical and Nutritional Compounds” and was impressed withhis knowledge. In July, 2009, I traveled to Ashland and saw one of his associates, Jason Miller who has become my herbalist.
Jason provides me with a number of proprietary botanical formulations marketed under the Natura brand from the Centre for Natural Healing in Ashland, Oregon www.centrehealing.com. These contain botanicals that have been known to have a beneficial effect on PD, including:
– Mucuna pruriens (a natural source of levodopa)
– Hyoscyamus niger (henbane)
– Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha)
– Green tea extract
– Piper methysticum (kava kava)
– Panax ginseng
– Bacopa monniera
– Scutellaria lateriflora (skullcap)
Of these botanicals, the first two on the list are perhaps the most potent. Mucuna pruriens is a natural source of levodopa and has been found to be more effective than synthetic levodopa in clinical trials. I have experimented with not taking the Mucuna and not noticed any difference, although perhaps I am not yet at the stage of my PD were levodopa is necessary. I am currently in a trial of titrating in with Hyoscyamus niger that is supposed to be effective against the tremours of Parkinson’s. So far, at 30 drops a day of a 1:10 tincture, it seems to have appreciably mitigated my tremours but it is too early to confirm it as effective at this time. Any beneficial effect is overwhelmed if stress rears its ugly head. Stress trumps hyoscyamus every time in the tremour department.
In addition to the above botanicals I also use products such as Natura “Beyond Whey” and “NanoGreens” that, amongst a host of other ingredients including frozen blueberries, make up a morning smoothie that I make every day. The Centre for Natural Healing also prepares a custom “tonic for me that I take twice a day. The tonic contains ginkgo, gotu kola, milk thistle, orange peel, kava kava, liquorice, skullcap, and other botanicals.
Gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free diet
In 2009, I traveled to Melbourne Australia where I met John Coleman, a naturopath who has recovered from PD. Of course, I was very interested in doing whatever he did to recover. Amongst his recommendations was a change in diet to gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free (and others). I saw John again in 2010 and he said that I was doing well and to stay the course. He said the last of his symptoms to go was the tremour. This gives me some heart as tremour is the most bothersome of my symptoms.
In their book, “Parkinson’s Disease: Reducing Symptoms with Nutrition and Drugs,” Geoffrey and Lucille Leader advocate a gluten-free and dairy-free diet for people with PD. I am not lactose-intolerant nor do I have a gluten intolerance (this has been confirmed by genetic testing with www.23andMe.com) but their reasoning is compelling. It is possible that people with neurological disorders such as PD are much more sensitive to lactose and gluten than are people without those disorders. Luckily for me, we live in an age where it is possible to btain gluten-free and dairy-free foods readily. My favourite gluten-free bread is “Udi” available from Whole Foods in the US (but alas not in Canada). I substitute almond milk for regular milk. Dining out can be a problem; however, I travel a lot in my work and have found that the chefs in hotel and other restaurants are more than willing to meet my dietary requirements.
In early 2010 I had a saliva test to determine my free cortisol rhythm. Samples were taken at 8 AM, noon, 5 PM, and at midnight. My cortisol levels for morning, noon, and afternoon where all markedly depressed (only the midnight sample was normal), indicating (according to the report) marginal HPA (hypothalamuspituitary-adrenal) performance. I purchased an excellent book, “Adrenal Fatigue,” by James Wilson that help to explain the significance of my results. Low cortisol, or hypoadrenia, is normally characterized by fatigue, difficulty rising in the morning, a desire for caffeine, feeling run down and stressed, etc. Other than perhaps a desire for a daily cup of coffee, I have none of these symptoms. Indeed, I seldom experience fatigue and still consider myself as a high-energy person. Yet, people with hypoadrenia have a reduced ability to cope with stress. Interestingly, people with PD report that their symptoms are aggravated in times of stress. There has to be some sort of connection between the symptoms of PD and impairment of HPA performance, but so far discussions with my neurologist and endocrinologist have not revealed any knowledge by them of any connection.
The danger is that people with hypoadrenia are on the borderline of having adrenal fatigue (no cortisol). When cortisol reserves are too low, and a stressful situation occurs, one may not be able to produce enough cortisol to handle it. Adrenal fatigue has been responsible for high-performing individuals “crashing” and becoming effectively bedridden for months or years, too fatigued to do anything. Not wishing to come down with adrenal fatigue, I have begun taking an adrenal support botanical supplement (“Restorative Formulations Adrenal Px LOPB”) and have also tried adrenal cortex extract (“Adrenal Stress End”).
I have tried the Aquas formulas available from John Coleman in Australia. These homeopathic remedies are supposed to enhance cellular hydration. I have a problem with homeopathy. If an infinitely diluted amount is good for me, then not taking it all should even be better! Yet, John Coleman swears by the Aquas and he has recovered from PD, so there may be something to it.
Geoffrey and Lucille Leader recommend elimination of alcohol from the diet. John Coleman, sensible man that he is, recommends 1 to 2 glasses of vintage red wine a day. I am on John’s side. Drinking fine red wine has been a passion of mine since the 1970s and one that I am loath to give up especially since I have a wine cellar containing approximately 2000 bottles! Of course a big part of the enjoyment of red wine is the bouquet. Reportedly, loss of the olfactory sense is a common complaint in people with PD and is liable to occur early in the progression of the disease. I noticed no such impairment (and can still guess in a blind tasting that a bottle of Bordeaux is a fine old Burgundy!). For now, I enjoy each bottle of fine wine as if it were my last. To me, joy = dopamine. Also, there must be some benefit from the resveratrol!
As PD also affects the autonomous nervous system, constipation can be a severe problem. Since my diagnosis with PD I have had some problems in this regard especially when I travel over multiple time zones and upset my daily rhythms. Currently, I have it under control with the simple addition of one or two rehydrated prunes to my morning smoothie plus a level teaspoon of organic psyllium fibre. These seem to be enough to keep me regular.
I stayed strictly on my gluten-free and dairy-free diet for over a year, but recently had the opportunity to travel to France for a combination of business and pleasure. I temporarily abandoned my diet and indulged myself for a full week in French gastronomy, eating foie gras, croissants, baguettes, rich cheeses, and just about everything else that the French are famous for. The consequence was that I had not felt better in over three years! Now, I am not so strict about my diet and allow myself the occasional indulgence.
In 2008, a urine test for heavy metals revealed excessive concentrations of lead and mercury and other metals such as manganese. I have been undergoing chelation off and on since then and currently receive one treatment per week from my ND Caleb Ng. The treatments involve a small IV of EDTA solution. For any benefits to be realized, numerous treatments are necessary. Heavy metal poisoning (especially manganese) has been implicated in PD and welders are one profession that is at higher risk for PD. Since I spent many years working closely with welders and breathing welding fumes, I have no doubt ingested my fair share of iron, manganese and other metals. Interestingly, a CT scan of my brain failed to reveal any abnormal concentration of manganese. Note: the claimed benefits of chelation for PD have yet to be established through rigorous clinical trials.
This section covers a number of therapies that may be useful for maintaining mental functioning and postponing the dementia that may occur as PD progresses.
It is difficult to remain positive when confronted with a disease of no known cause and inevitable progression, yet this is precisely what must be done. Depression is one of the predominant symptoms of PD. If necessary, it may be necessary to take an antidepressant. One that has been recommended to me is duloxetine.
For several years in the 1990s, I had training in Hakomi body-mind psychotherapy arising out of the deep desire to know myself. I still keep in touch with my teacher, Ron Kurtz http://hakomi.com/. I regularly see a therapist,Mahmud Nestman, a Sufi who is familiar with the methods of Hakomi. In our explorations one useful technique is called “taking over”. In one session I had Mahmud take over (literally, with his hand) a tightness I felt around my heart.
When he did so, I was able to go in deeper into my own unconscious and to gain some valuable insights as to why the tightness was there in the first place. I have invariably noticed that during our sessions my tremours at first become almost uncontrollable but then they disappear, leaving me in a most serene and quiet and still place. Stillness is priceless.
The science of happiness
For several years I was an active member of the Ken Keyes community based in Coos Bay, Oregon. Ken was the author of the “Handbook to Higher Consciousness,” “The Power of Unconditional Love,” and many other books. For a number of years, I taught “Living Love” workshops in the US, Canada, and New Zealand. These teachings have served me well, particularly now that I have the symptoms of PD. I take responsibility for my own feelings. Nothing or nobody has ever made me upset are unhappy: I do it to myself. This is good news as the only person I am capable of changing is myself.
I have had six sessions of neurofeedback, also referred to as biofeedback from Mike de Jong, a PhD psychologist. During the first session and EEG was done to determine those parts of my brain that had abnormal brainwave patterns. Mike determined that my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was deficient in theta wave output. Subsequent sessions (one hour each) involved application of a single electrode at the position on my head corresponding to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. I was provided with headphones to listen to the sound of surf while my eyes were closed. Whenever my brain produced Theta waves I could hear the surf; when no theta waves were being produced all I heard was static. At first, I struggled to hear the surf, but later just let my brain do all the work of figuring it out. After six sessions, some progress is being made. If I didn’t think there was some benefit to this I wouldn’t continue. Typically, it takes 20 sessions to realize any permanent benefit, so I have some time to go.
For many years, I was an adept meditator and meditation was the most important part of my day. Since my diagnosis with PD, however, I have found it very difficult to get into a meditative state. Sitting cross-legged is agonizing. Instead of stillness, I have tremours. By re-casting meditation as relaxation, I can derive some of the benefits, primarily reduction in tremours and tension. I have found that electro-cranial stimulation (see below) is a good substitute for meditation.
In electro-cranial stimulation, a small electric current is passed through electrodes attached to my earlobes that produces a mild tingling sensation. Sessions are either 20 minutes or 60 minutes and are very relaxing, almost to the point of putting me to sleep. Tremours also appear to take a nap.
In 2010, I participated in a neuropsychological screening evaluation at the Movement Disorders Clinic at the University of British Columbia. These tests revealed that my cognitive functioning was “broadly average to superior” depending on which test was being administered. I take this as a sign that I have experienced some cognitive impairment as I would have expected all the tests to result in a “superior” rating!
If I had one final piece of advice for anyone who has been diagnosed with PD, it is to defy it. If it is a fight that Mr. Parkinson wants, it is a fight that he will get. The worst thing one can do is to deny it. As long as one remains in a state of denial, the PD will continue to progress. But as soon as you turn to face your tormentor and fight back, the PD will lose its grip over you. Mr. Parkinson may win in the long run but it will be a protracted fight and you will win many of the rounds. And, who knows, you may just beat him!
Afterward I hesitate to call this section “Conclusions” as my protocol is very much a work in progress, and the effectiveness of many of the measures has not yet been verified. I do not have time to wait for the development of a “cure” from conventional Western medicine. I will be dead long before any such treatment has passed through all the hoops and clinical trials necessary for its approval.
Currently, the treatment of last resort for PD is Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) but it is only done when a PD patient is essentially incapacitated with an advanced form of the disease. How humiliating! For people with tremour-dominant PD the option is thalamic surgery, either in the form of thalamic DBS or thalamotomy. Canada’s medical system is unable to cope with the (growing) numbers of PD patients, so in the meantime I will do everything I can to prevent the progression of my PD to the point where surgery is even an option.
I am doing the best that I can to not be a burden on the medical system. What I am doing is also expensive. Canada’s medical system pays for my neurologist visits and little else. The PET scan, physiotherapy visits, naturopath visits, botanicals, and supplements are not covered. Yet if there was ever a time to start spending what I have saved, it is now. I would rather have quality of life than a fat bank account anyway. I’m currently working my way through my “bucket list” and having the time of my life.
Is there any way to fast forward on your archived shows?
Yes indeed there is. First, visit the radio show website here:
Where it says “search blogtalkradio.com” type in “Parkinsons Recovery” and hit enter.
You will then see on your screen the most recent Parkinsons Recovery shows that have aired. You will have to scroll back to see shows that aired over several months ago. All shows are archived.
Notice that on each show page, you can choose one of two possible links – a “Play” link and a “Download” link. Find the show that interests you. Right click on the “Download” link. (The Play link will not let you skip around).
You will then be prompted to save the show on your computer. Save the show in a folder you can remember – or create a special folder where you can save all the shows you want to hear.
Once the show is saved on your computer [it will have a .mp3 designation) simply click on the file. Your computer will bring up a player you can use to scroll forward and backward. Or, you can download the file to a MO3 player and listen while you exercise.
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
I have been continuing to follow your work and today I just felt compelled to write and convey my deep appreciation for you. Your work is invaluable and the information you provide is the most probative for anyone interested in recovery from Parkinson’s and other forms of chronic illness. I know that I have already indicated my appreciation in times past but I felt the need to do so again.
Robert, before I was diagnosed I was a mess, my hands, legs, head and entire body would shake. I have never been fond of doctors and always felt it would somehow subside, I finally went to see my general physician who said I had some sort of advanced PD, he recommended me to a neurologist who told me the same. Not wanting to accept this PD business I just continued to ignore it, then one day I was with my children at the mall and fell down a long flight of steps and unable to get up.
Still resistant I did agree to talk with Abraham Lieberman and he and I wrote back and forth for a long time, he agreed to treat me at no cost but I would of course have to get to Miami, instead he procured an appointment with Dr. Jankovic at Baylor University. They examined me for 4 hours and the diagnoses was the same. I started the medications that improved my condition substantially.
The long and short of it is I no longer have any symptoms of PD nor do I take any meds. This was the result of about three years of research and slowly making changes in all aspects of my life. I do have a good understanding of why and how I recovered however articulated this might not be so easy, it was not simply changing modalities but the capacity to perceive life and my existence in a way that is contrary to all I have been taught and conditioned, changing my perspective was not an easy feat but when that occurred I realized that healing and restoration was possible.
On the Parkinsons Recovery Cruise to Alaska we met with near perfect weather. I heard a story on the trip that there are only 55 days of clear weather a year at Glacier National Park. We just happened to hit one of those picture perfect days as you can see from the video. This 8 minute video offers a glimpse of what we had the opportunity to experience as we cruised through Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska on May 5, 2010. This is truly one of the most magnificent places in the world to visit.
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
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