Category Archives: symptom free

Movement Controlled by Two Independent Brain Centers

Peter Strick, chair of neurobiology and scientific director of the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute, and other scientists hypothesize there is a brain circuit in Parkinson’s patients that can be switched on and off to control movement.

Strick’s collaborators are focusing on two circuits in the brain that are hypothesized to  control movement. One circuit is damaged by Parkinson’s which results in manifesting symptoms associated with a Parkinsons diagnosis such as tremor, freezing, and poor balance and coordination.

Strick believes there is a second control mechanism that is fully functional.  When accessed, symptoms are quieted. Strick’s hypothesizes the fully functional  circuit is  switched on by strong emotions activated by positive experiences. More simply put, the endless joy of doing something that feeds our soul activates the circuit that facilitates effortless mobility.

The bottom line? The most effective “medicine” is to embrace activities that give you the greatest joy. Acknowledge the profound relief of symptoms that is associated when you “follow your bliss.”

Robert Rodgers PhD
Founder 2004
Parkinsons Recovery
Rock Solid Walking Online Course


Metamorphosis: Shakin’ to Awaken

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.

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease

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.

One Year Symptom Free Anniversary Celebration

Hi Robert,

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 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.

Best regards,


Howard’s work is quite simply amazing.   In my book of good decisions, his time sensitive offer is worth taking seriously!

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease



Total Recovery from Parkinson’s


In your travels you have ever met an individual who has “totally recovered from Parkinsons Disease”?


I am not quite sure what it would mean to be “totally recovered” from Parkinson’s. I do know people who are symptom free.

John Coleman, a naturopath doctor, is symptom free today. He does not describe himself as “fully recovered” and regularly adheres to his own health program. He sees recovery as a life time process which has
no definitive ending point. The process ends when we die.

Nathan is also symptom free after engaging in a very focused two year program of recovery. I have interviewed both individuals. You can hear their interviews on the Parkinsons Recovery member website. Their stories of recovery are both fascinating and very different from one another.

 John Coleman reports on evidence of 5 other people he has worked with who are symptom free today.

Many people I talk with are holding steady (i,e. not getting worse). An impressive body of evidence comes from people who are getting steady relief from their symptoms. In other words, instead of getting worse, they are getting better little by little.

If anyone reading this falls into the category of symptom free, please contact me. I would love to interview you!

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Parkinsons Recovery

© 2009 Parkinsons Recovery