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April is Parkinson's Awareness Month

16 Apr


Parkinson’s Disease gets mentioned a lot in April – it’s the month that highlights awareness of this challenging condition and its treatment. As with many neurodegenerative illnesses, there’s currently no “cure” - just ways to slow down its progress, build up compensatory strengths, alleviate symptoms, and improve quality of life.

It’s a central nervous system disorder – the second most common one after Alzheimer’s - caused by the death of dopamine-containing cells in a chunk of the brain called the substantia nigra. The most common symptoms are tremors, muscle rigidity, slowed down intentional movement or freezing altogether, problems with balance, drops in speaking volume or difficulty speaking, and impaired cognition and memory. Different people are affected differently.

The elderly are at greater risk, as are people who have been exposed to certain pesticides and herbicides in the environment; and also people exposed to heavy metals.

Traditional medicine does a decent job of managing early symptoms, but those become less effective over time.

Over the years, I’ve seen more and more studies pop up showing the benefits derived from using mind-body methods and integrative medicine tools to counter the debilitating effects of PD. My main interest is on seeing what’s doing with guided imagery and other meditation and hypnosis interventions. But there’s a whole host of techniques that can make a difference. Check out the list of techniques that help:

  • Guided Imagery
  • Relaxation
  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
  • Tai Chi and Qigong
  • Reiki, Healing Touch & Other Biofield Therapies
  • Yoga and Yoga Therapy
  • Music Therapy & Choral Singing
  • Neurofeedback
  • Acupuncture
  • PT and Light Exercise

If you want to learn more – and this holds true for any topic, by the way – just click on the tab at the top bar of our web page for the blog, and enter “Parkinson’s” and you’ll get a host of research and other articles about it from our archives. In this case, it will take you here:

We’re about to improve and refine that search function to make it an even more targeted function, but in the meantime, this will give you a host of promising information.



Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award