I first became aware of Jim Kennedy, a fellow traveler and Person with Parkinson's, through his sharing of information about how music is instrumental in diminishing the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. I recommend anyone interested in Parkinson's Recovery to take a look at Jim's research and follow his journey of self-experimentation. You will find Jim to be very positive and upbeat - no doubt because he has chosen to fill his life with music. You can follow Jim's work via his Facebook Page:
Jim is also very supportive of my own investigations in to combining music and movement to assist in my Parkinson's Recovery. Indeed, when I released my latest video on the subject,
Jim sent me a very nice and informative letter, which he has agreed I could share here:
"Gary, your July 21 posting of your video on mirroring the music video really lit-up the online PD community! It always thrills me to hear of, or see a video a dramatic response such as yours to Neurologic Music Therapy, or NMT. From what I’ve read and communicated with knowledgeable people on this subject, what you did in your recorded session was self-administered NMT, with striking results!
I’ve seen video of similar instances on several other occasions in the past year. It never fails to make my jaw drop and a smile come to my face. There is a body of thought that the more severe the PWP’s symptoms, the more obvious the positive outcomes of NMT. I am a beneficiary of NMT, but my symptoms are comparatively mild and the results, although evident to me, are not as obvious to an onlooker.
I’ve previously mentioned to you Dr.Michael Thaut, probably the world’s leading researcher and clinical practitioner in the field of NMT. In subchapter 6.3 of Dr.Thaut’s book, “Rhythm, Music, and the Brain; Scientific Foundations and Clinical Applications,” NMT is defined as:
“NMT...the therapeutic application of music to cognitive, sensory, and motor dysfunctions due to neurologic disease of the human nervous system.”
It goes on to say:
“NMT is based on a neuroscience model of music perception and production, and the influence of music on functional changes in nonmusical brain and behavior functions…”
I highly recommend Dr. Thaut’s book to you if you wish to get further into the subject of NMT.
I sent Dr. Thaut your posting and he found it very interesting. He told me that should you wish to communicate with him directly or ask him a specific question, he would be happy to respond to you.
I have found the use of the term “NMT” to be helpful in communicating with Dr.Thaut, the allied professionals whom I work with on NMT, and other professionals and PWPs who are just becoming aware of NMT. It kind of keeps us on the same page, so to speak.
If I can help you further on this or any other subject, Gary, please don’t hesitate to ask….and…”Keep moving to the music!”
Jim, has also taken our ideas about using "YoYo Stress Balls" and has really ran with them [quite literally in one of his videos below!] combining this type of exercise with different choices of music and documenting the outcomes. I have included Jim's lovely vignettes on this subject here too.
Our booklet which Jim mentions is now available as a download, which you can find below if you would like further information on these ideas. We are very much looking forward to continuing the collaboration with Jim on NMT concepts.
The Special Issue on Recovering Using Curiosity and Play documents how Dr Gary Sharpe embraced exploring the ways his Parkinson's Diseased body could and could not move, and began to use balls, sticks and games to significantly reverse his symptoms and push back his Parkinsonisms.
In this Issue, we cover Gary's own experience and provide extensive evidence on how rediscovering music has been of absolutely massive benefit to improving his quality of life with Parkinson's. This motivational and inspirational edition of the Digest is also a must read for anyone with a health problem who has forgotten the Music.
"Out-Thinking Parkinson’s: The Journey” is a compelling, inspirational and educational film, not only about the life changing effects of Parkinson’s Disease from an insiders perspective, but also the story of one man’s struggle to overcome a chronic illness against all the odds. It documents how Dr Gary Sharpe, together with his partner Deb Helfrich, simply cared enough to challenge every assumption, and went about gathering their own evidence. The Journey follows how, by using astute observation and simple strategies which can be used at home, they demonstrated the reversal of a supposedly degenerative disease.
“A shout out to Deb Helfrich and Gary Sharpe. Two individuals who have dared to be brave, dared to do the difficult, dared to make a difference and have epitomized the essence of being bigger than they are. And by doing so, they underscore the good in humanity and serve as beacons of hope and inspiration to us all. Thank you for all that your dare to do. Keep making a difference.*”
Pre-order now to help crowdfund the very time intensive completion by Gary himself of this documentary film, and help us to ensure its timely release. By contributing now you will be the first to receive the full film before it’s public release and also a bonus of a special 20 minute preview documentary to watch now [as an mp4 download] which follows Dr Gary Sharpe’s first steps on his inspirational road to recovery. This preview film covers the first two months of Gary’s journey, demonstrating that dramatic improvements in quality of life are possible in relatively short time.
“Gary is a shining example of someone not only taking responsibility and control of his own health and wellbeing, but also sharing so graciously with others. Please share.*"
Lessons learned in the crucible of a chronic illness - inspirations and insights for living, loving and thinking better.
This is my new book, now available in paperback and e-book formats from Amazon, or as a printable PDF download from Out-Thinking Parkinson's:
Dr Gary Sharpe is a storyteller, who writes extensively about philosophies for living a better life. But it took a life-changing chronic illness, and its eventual acceptance, for him to become the person he is today. For most of his life, Gary had lived in fear and suffered from stressful modes of thinking, amplified by an unhealthy lifestyle and all-consuming ambition for his career.
These factors contributed to a diagnosis of Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease in 2009. He then spent a further 6 years in rapid decline of mental and physical health.
In mid-2015, Gary finally began to take responsibility for himself. At last, he was ready to unlearn the learned helplessness of his former life. He went to counselling sessions at the same time as turning to experts in wellbeing and positive thinking. He acquired the mind tools and understandings of how to live well.
Since then, Gary has been on a journey back to wellness and has spent the past year concentrating on recovering from his chronic illness. He has iteratively reversed the emotional and physical symptoms and continues to improve in health.
Along the way, he shared his insights and the lesson he was learning through his writing, and suddenly found that he was inspiring thousands of people around the world to also start to make a difference in their own lives.
This book contains Gary’s philosophical and thought leadership writings on “Out-Thinking” the perils of modern life. The book is divided into five themes:
Home and Away
Love and Relationships
Health and Wellness
Lifestyle and Change
Emotional and Positive Mind-set
This 80 page e-book download, in PDF format, is a prelude to the "Out-Thinking Parkinson's" Series.
Dr Gary Sharpe, was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 35, at the peak of high flying career as a Scientist. Gary was led to believe by his medical professionals that he was facing a hopeless decline with inevitable degeneration. For Gary, this became a self-fulfilling narrative and for seven years he became increasingly frozen and rigid of body, mind, and heart. Everything changed when, in the Fall of 2015, Gary encountered Deb Helfrich, a Philosopher and Wellness Mentor, on a professional networking website.
This e-book download (PDF format) contains over 100 pages of unique insights into how to live well and recover from Parkinson's Disease. The book follows and documents the self-experiments and recovery experiences of Dr Gary Sharpe, diagnosed with the Early Onset form of the disease some years before, guided by the holistic approach to wellness developed by Deb Helfrich.
Although the book is an essential guide for both people with Parkinson's and those responsible for their care, this is also a vital read for anyone suffering from a chronic condition who has the desire, hope and will to return to wellness.
This 18 page e-guide download (PDF format) contains details of our movement recovery exercises which, with daily practice and dedication, can help people with Parkinson’s improve their movement, correct their stooped posture, free up stiff limbs and vertebra, remember the joy of moving (we recommend performing the exercises to music), relieve stress and fear and increase activity. Engaging with the concepts we present can hence improve overall quality of life.
While we originally developed these ideas for movement recovery with Parkinson’s in mind, we also believe that the concepts and demonstrations will be useful for other movement disorders and problems too. These are gentle techniques and therefore could also help older people keep mobile too.
A 22 minute video download in mp4 format, in which Dr Gary Sharpe demonstrates how, by engaging and training different pathways of the brain, the barriers to movement in Parkinson's Disease can be rapidly overcome. Gary demonstrates that by repetitively practicing specific motions, it is perfectly possible to rewire the brain and to relearn how to move again, countering the ravishes of Parkinson's Disease. Gary also demonstrates that, at first, accessing the motion requires concentration and mindfulness, but with continued practice, movement becomes faster, more fluid and requires less conscious effort. The importance of props, such as sticks and bats and balls, is explained. Gary also discusses how visualization and acting can assist in the neuroregeneration.
In this 15 minute video download in mp4 format, Dr Gary Sharpe discusses and educates about Dyskinesia, the drug-induced uncontrolled movement which can manifest in People with Parkinson’s. He then demonstrates a number of simple self-control techniques developed through self-experimentation, through which sufferers of this side-effect can begin to gain some relief from its ravishes..
In this 23 minute video download in mp4 format, Dr Gary Sharpe discusses and demonstrates the power of re-thinking movement for People with Parkinson’s Disease. He illustrates how by being mindful - paying careful attention - to ways in which movement is easier, People with Parkinson’s can start to unlock themselves. The role of vocalization and describing out loud the movements and tasks to be achieved is also explained. Gary shows practical applications of these techniques, such as making himself a cup of hot tea from scratch whilst in the depth of an "off" period. This video is intended to help People with Parkinson's remain independent for longer.
.By arrangement with Neville Gaunt, CEO of Mind Fit for Success, this essential book for business is offered as a printable PDF download to our readers.