I have now been practising Yoga Nidra guided meditations for around 3 months at the time of writing this, daily each morning. I definitely have seen cumulative benefits for progressive reduction of my Parkinson's Disease symptoms over that time, including much reduced anxiety, pain, less really bad days. However, in particular, I’ve noted increased effectiveness of dopamine replacement drugs, longer "on" periods, as well as improved sleep. Indeed, I personally believe that the practice does indeed boost my dopamine levels, because when I take a dose of my PD meds after or during a Yoga Nidra session, it is much more likely that that dose will actually work to turn my movement back on, and it can take as little as 15-20 minutes for the drug to kick in (this is very short time for me, about 50% less time needed than usual.Read More
By Stefania Lungu, contributing author and person with Parkinson’s Disease.
“I am 66 years old and this is my story. I strongly believe that almost all major illnesses have deep roots in some traumas/shocks we have at certain moments of our lives, which we were not able to “digest”. All my emotional traumas are related to members of my family. My first shock was back in 1994, when I was alone with a little child to raise. Knock-knock, depression installed itself immediately and I was not able to recognize it and give it a proper treatment. I was very angry, and afraid that I would not be able to cope with all my problems. Yet, in all the critical moments of my life, I received from seemingly nowhere some help from ”above”, and somehow I managed to solve step by step the problems which arose, even when I remained jobless in 2000, and by miracle an old tennis friend helped me to find a new job in a bank, that help restore confidence in myself.”Read More
I am currently researching the Cranial Nerves and their functions. My interest in this area was piqued because many of the major and common symptoms of Parkinson's Disease are not properly explained by just the "death of dopamine producing cells in the Substantia Nigra" scenario. However, I do believe that the atrophy of the Cranial Nerves in people with Parkinson's (PwP) does very straightforwardly explain most of the main secondary symptoms, and in a very common sense way.Read More
When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics were sympathetic and could immediately see I was indeed in a terrible state. They agreed things were so bad that I needed to go Accident & Emergency (A&E, the equivalent of the ER in North America) with them immediately.Read More
The purposes of this article, which I will endeavour to keep updated, is to act as a central resource of information on light therapy and its applications to Parkinson's Disease.Read More
I was actually very hesitant to use the term “mental health” in the title of this article, or indeed to refer to it this at all. My research into human biology and the human experience, as well as the results of my own self-experiments, have proven to me that the separation of health into “mental” and “physical” is a complete red herring, as is the separation of “mind” and “body” more generally. Indeed, I have found that most beneficial therapies for quietening my mind have been physical ones. I would refer to the main self-directed therapies which worked best in the regard as of the "Somatic Experiencing" type, especially dance therapy, "smovey ring" exercises, body-movement mindfulness, and using a rebounder and a whole body vibrating plate machine - I feel these all helped.Read More
In this sequel, we examine more closely the issues that an imbalanced brain function causes, in particular when the left brain is overly dominant, and show that there are strong correlations with the major motor and non-motor symptoms and real lives of people with Parkinson’s Disease. We will also explore links to Dorsal Vagus Nerve mediated immobilization.Read More
In this article, I would like to return to this topic, and concentrate this time on that primitive, reptilian branch of the Vagus Nerve, and its potentially central role in Parkinson's Disease.Read More
I have since been considering what Iain McGilchrist’s “Divided Brain” work has to teach us, in the context of trauma and chronic illness, and seeking to employ both hemispheres of my brain in thinking about this. I began to see how Iain’s work provides us with a vital missing part of the puzzle. Indeed, his concept of the "Divided Brain", I now feel, connects so very many of the pieces, and I will endeavour to contexualize and map out my thinking on this here.
Perhaps it would be instructive at this point, therefore to describe more about what its like when I am very symptomatic, to help understanding of why I believe this disease truly corresponds to Death Feigning, and why the converse - increase Aliveness - is the key route to healing. In Death Feigning, not only movement is switched off, but as are all signals through which the keen sense of predators might detect some vestigial signs of life. To me, this describes exactly how it is when I am symptomatic - if I don't implement strategies to combat this state and just allow it to take over - and the more symptomatic I am, the more pronounced these experiences:Read More
As for many people with young onset forms of Parkinson's Disease, my diagnosis was given the label "Idiopathic". This term, Idiopathic, is used to denote any disease or condition which arises spontaneously or for which the cause is unknown. This diagnosis was wholly unsatisfactory to me, as I'm a person who needs to know the "why" of things.Read More
"The single biggest predictor of rate of Parkinson's progression is if you answer true to 'are you lonely'?" This finding by Dr Laurie Mischley, who monitors the progress of symptoms of more than 1500 people with Parkinson's Disease is perhaps one the most tragic aspects of the disease in our modern society, in which we people with PD may find ourselves heading toward this outcome by default. Indeed, I have lost count of the number of people with PD who have said something to me along the lines of "my friends and family have abandoned me/don't visit/lost touch". The negative feedback loops between loneliness and disease progression can be one of the most vicious circles of PD. I speak from personal experience also, because at my lowest point, I too had become very isolated, virtually alone in the house and barely going out.Read More
A consideration of what I’ve learned from my teachers (Achayras). So much I could talk about! Hope, purpose, a sense of letting go. An altogether holistic/total yoga approach. The overall learning message I've taken from my teachers is that it is this combination and integration of approaches which is most effective: nutrition, hydration, movement and emotional well being.Read More
In this article, we explore a technology which has proven helpful for people with PD, and may work by helping to modulate or quieten these abnormal brainwave patterns.Read More
Many people with PD (PwP), and caregivers will also be well aware of this, often encounter an almost constant chatter of busy thoughts in their own heads. This inner voice can speak in undertones of self-doubt and guilt, but also can be constantly seeking to blame others, marshalling arguments and self-justifications. These thoughts can go round and round like a tape stuck on a loop, and be very difficult to break out of. Indeed, PwP can become irritable when someone seeks to interrupt these thoughts. These anecdotal experiences have now been backed by science too. A recent article in "Nature",Read More
Now for the very good news. Since we now understand that PD is principally a problem with the Nervous System, it is entirely possible that we can pro-actively prevent further degeneration, and even regain what we've already lost, because Vagal Tone can always be improved, neurons regenerated, neural pathways re-written, and senses retrainedRead More
While most people will be familiar with the external, physically manifest symptoms of PD, very few have a good grasp of these internal, hidden states, and so don't realize that people with Parkinson's (PwP) are also frozen, rigid and trembling on the inside too. Having engaged with very many PwP around the world, I've learned that there are common personality types, and we tend to have shared, overarching themes of internal emotional states. In particular, I've found that many of us can be described as high achievers, but are wracked with self-doubt and guilt on the inside. This finding appears to especially true in the cohort of PwP who eventually end up with a rigidity dominant form of Early Onset Parkinson's Disease.Read More
Once upon a time, Parkinson's Disease was believed to be a purely neurological problem, caused by dopamine producing cell death in a bean sized part of the brain called the Substantia Nigra. We now know that this neurodegeneration is not necessarily casual, but an effect resulting from more systemic issues, which become worse over a sustained period of years prior to diagnosis. Today, it is widely accepted that problems with the gut and digestive system, including nutritional deficits - due to resulting impaired absorption, are not only integral to PD, but are also likely to play major roles in the true causal factors.Read More
Pragmatic answers for people with Parkinson's Disease can be gleaned by understanding that one of our fundamental problems is that we're stuck in the Freeze or "Playing Dead" stress mode of our parasympathetic nervous systems. This renders us completely unable to relax, which then necessarily leads to increasing inflammation and toxification of our brains and bodies, with the resulting increase in pain making us ever more stressed - a very vicious circle. Hence re-learning how to relax has to be a principle goal in our recovery: to regain the knowledge of how to switch our "rest & digest" parasympathetic nervous system back on for prolonged periods.Read More
By Penny Mitchell, Independent Knowledge Worker and Health Reseacher, diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson's Disease.
"This article is based on a series of posts which I shared in the Parkinson's Disease Fighters United (PDFU) Facebook Group. Gary Sharpe asked me to contribute these as an article, and I am happy to share here too, in case other people with Parkinson's may benefit from my journey and experiences."Read More