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 A Holistic Approach to Parkinson's Disease 
by Healthy News - 9/4/2009
Parkinson's disease is caused by the death of dopamine-producing brain cells that control movement. The second most common neurodegenerative disorder in America (after Alzheimer's), Parkinson's affects about one percent of all people over the age of 50.

The holistic approach to treating this disease combines nutrition, environment, emotions, and spirituality. These include an array of mind-body techniques like meditation, biofeedback, Reiki, and spiritual healing, as well as traditional Eastern remedies like herbal therapy, homeopathy and Ayurvedic medicine. Yoga, Tai ji, and a variety of vitamin, enzyme and other natural supplements have also been proposed. Some of these therapies are described below:

Ayurvedic medicine -- Practiced in India for thousands of years, Ayurvedic medicine relies and focuses on maintaining health through the body, spirit, and mind. It begins by establishing one’s metabolic type, then examining other factors such as a person’s environment. Treatment consists of detoxification, restoring the balance to the body through palliation, and finally, tonification.

Yoga --A complement to Ayurvedic medicine, Hatha yoga, which involves performing a series of poses and breathing awareness, has been shown to help with motor-skills symptoms of Parkinson's disease when practiced on a regular basis.

Acupuncture -- Based on achieving a yin-yang balance in the body, acupuncture may help return this harmonic balance by inserting fine needles into certain points on the body.

Massage therapy -- Therapies like reflexology and therapeutic massage can help sufferers of Parkinson's by keeping joints and muscles supple. Most commonly used massage therapies that may alleviate Parkinson’s symptoms are shiatsu and acupressure, which is a touch-based therapy along certain pressure points on the body.

Tai-ji --An ancient Chinese healing therapy, tai-ji is based on slow movements or exercises that may help Parkinson's sufferers keep their joints and muscles supple.

Exercising regularly boosts both oxygen and blood sugar levels to the brain. All it takes is a daily 20-minute walk. In fact, it has been observed that regular exercise can actually slow the progress of Parkinson’s disease, the same seems to hold true for deep R.E.M. sleep.

A detailed discussion of the various therapies can be found in the book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Parkinson’s Disease: A holistic Program for Optimal Wellness by Jill Marjama-Lyons, MD and Mary Shomon.

Feeding the Body
In terms of general nutrition, recent research has shown that people with Parkinson's disease respond better to treatment when placed on a high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet. This would include whole grains, fresh vegetables, beans, and fruit, as well as occasional low-fat animal foods, like fish. Eating healthier gives your body the vitamins, minerals, trace elements, essential fatty acids, and proteins it needs. It’s important to adopt a diet that ensures your brain is nourished with high levels of oxygen and glucose. This means you should eat foods extremely low in fat and rich in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. A high fat diet reduces oxygen levels to your brain, so it functions at less than optimum levels. The same is true when glucose levels drop. A diet rich in complex carbohydrates (eating whole grains, vegetables, and fruit) helps ensure optimal blood sugar levels.

Nutritional Supplements
Taking the nutritional approach one step further, food rich in antioxidants, Omega 3 and CoQ10 seem to slow down Parkinson’s. Some alternative health practitioners feel that free radicals (damaging molecules such as heavy metals, organic solvent chemicals and other unstable molecules) created in the body may contribute to brain cell death/degeneration and ultimately lead to Parkinson's disease.

Finally, some believe that a person’s structural misalignments (caused by accidents, poor posture, etc.) in the upper back and neck can sap energy flow to brain cells and accelerate the effects of free-radical damage.

For more information please contact Pacific College of Oriental Medicine at (800) 729-0941, or visit

Provided by Healthy News on 9/4/2009
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