Previously, we covered how playing with balls of all kinds can unlock significant access to movement which would otherwise be very difficult or impossible when symptomatic with Parkinson’s Disease. When practiced long term, this kind of play therapy can significantly help progressive symptom reduction. See:
I noted that the heaviness and feel of the type of ball mattered a lot in terms of how easy different types of movement came with play. Based on this, a friend of mine suggested that I should evaluate the other extreme of a heavy basketball, and try playing with balloons too. So I did, and experimented with the type of movement that balloon play might help unlock. The results speak for themselves and I recorded what happened in three videos.
A caveat on this. Whenever I tried doing this, it initially helped me a lot and eased my stiffness and rigidity, but then after a couple of days of playing with the balloons, however, my rigidity and pain would come back in force. It was through this that I finally realized that I have an allergy to latex, and discovered that both my parents do too. This also led me on to exploring how allergies and the pain and rigidity symptoms, and brain fog too, in PD are strongly inter-related. I also discovered that the affects of allergens on people with PD may have a significant delayed affect, making it hard to identify and link cause and effect. From there, I went on a significant journey of food elimination and re-introduction trials and found out first hand just how massive the impact of food sensitivities are on these symptoms. Identifying and eliminating allergens and sensitivities coming from food and supplements, chemicals, clothing, washing powders, etc. has been absolutely massive and key for me. I don’t believe I could have progressed my symptom reduction without doing this. See
for example parts of my journey along this road. Anyway, back to the balloons. Most balloons are latex based and since allergic reactions and sensitivities can impact heavily on the symptoms of Parkinson's, some caution - or cotton gloves - may be very prudent with such balloon (and rubber ball too) play therapies.
In the first video above, you can see me, starting in an "off" state, go at the balloons fast and furious. I can tell you that there was much joy in unlocking this amount of movement.
In the next video below, I moved outside to show some of the large range movements I can access, even though I am noticeably stiff, through the interaction with the balloons. Unfortunately, this was short lived as balloons and the outside environment don't mix!
In the third video, I reveal how the balloon play helped me re-discover much more slow, fluid and graceful movement. I believe that this type of controlled movement exercise could be very beneficial and hence that balloon play may be even more important than the curiosity driven exercises with balls.
Thus, with the caveat about problems with latex, I highly recommend people with Parkinson’s Disease, in the same spirit of curiosity and play as I display here, get themselves a pack of balloons and see what it can do it for them. Note, that here I am playing alone. Playing happily with other people (perhaps with joyous children as the optimal choice) can significantly increase the benefits further. This is because we then recruit the Social Engagement part of our Nervous System and stimulate our Ventral Vagus Nerve, see:
It also fires up our “Mirror Neurons”, allowing even greater range and ease of movement through reflecting the movement of other people, see: