Parkinson disease is a chronically progressive neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system which is gradual in onset and is characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the nigrostriatal region of the brain. Dopamine is a chemical messenger or neurotransmitter which is responsible for carrying the signals from one part of the brain to another and usually controls the muscular movement and coordination. The deficiency of dopamine leads to the symptoms of movement disorder, like tremors, rigidity, stiffness, slowing of the movements, frequent falls and freezing of the gait which continues and worsens over time.
The diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is purely clinical and is based on the neurological examination. There is no specific line of management for this neurodegenerative disease. In addition to the medicinal therapeutic agents, various alternative approaches have been employed to create a ray of hope for the proper and complete treatment of this disease, which includes
In lieu of this, another alternative approach to the treatment of Parkinson’s disease has been in trend and it includes various techniques and therapies to provide energy to the mind and body.
In spite of using various techniques and therapies for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, unfortunately some patients observe no distinguishable benefit from any of them and continue to be adversely affected by this neurodegenerative disease on the same trajectory as always. Having said that the concept of energy field is crucial in this regard. The disruptions of energy field are the causes of all illnesses, including Parkinson’s. PD originates in the energy field and its disruption eventually transmits to the body where it is manifested as a illness. Energy therapies are based on the presumption of the existence of energy fields (universal life force) in and around the body. Treatment aims at balancing this energy by various means.
- Magnet Therapy. Magnets have been used for various symptoms, especially for pain relief, but effectiveness of treatment is yet to be proved. Treatment may carry certain risks, particularly in pregnancy, people on pacemakers or those using medicine patches, and people using insulin pump.
- Reiki. This is an ancient form of healing which uses universal energy to heal the body by balancing the 7 chakras (energy points) in the body. A Reiki healer channels “life force energy” to the patient through the hands, which are placed either on the part to be healed or slightly above it, without touching the body. A mild tingling sensation or a sense of warmth or coldness may be felt over the part being treated. Reiki may improve physical as well as emotional well being. Reiki can be self-administered after learning and taking initiation from a Reiki Master.
- Therapeutic Touch. This is similar to Reiki where the healer moves their hands back and forth over the patient to promote a feeling of well being. Actual touching of the patient may not be necessary.
- Yoga. Originating in India, yoga embraces both physical and mental concepts. It is a system of exercise which aims to control both body and mind by meditation, breathing exercises, and physical postures. It is a system of healing encompassing the person as a whole.
- Tai Chi. Having originated in ancient China, tai chi is a form of gentle physical exercise, done in a rhythmic, flowing pattern, which helps to bring the mind and body together, thereby healing both in the process.
Yoga and Tai Chi can improve muscle strength, balance, flexibility and range of motion in PD patients. As a result, the risk of falls and injury are greatly reduced. Reduced joint pain can help to increase mobility. Stress reduction and emotional well-being are added advantages.
Manipulative and Body Based Therapies
Certain illnesses are treated by manipulation of different parts of the body.
- Chiropractic. Spinal manipulation is the basis of this form of therapy since it is believed that the body’s structure (especially the spine) and its function are related. Pain relief is the main domain of this type of treatment.
- Massage. Different forms of therapeutic massage may be effective in relieving stiffness, rigidity and pain. An overall feeling of relaxation is evident too. Massage therapy works by increasing blood flow to the muscles.
- Reflexology. Various areas of the foot are supposedly related to different organs or systems of the body. By applying pressure on these areas, without the use of oils or lotions, changes are brought about that eliminate the blockage of energy believed to be responsible for pain or disease of that particular part.
- Physical therapy. While physical therapy is an established medical science, some therapists practice alternative techniques in conjunction with scientific therapies for a holistic approach to treatment.
- Postural re-education. Abnormalities in posture and balance are common in PD. This method uses movement and touch to help patients become aware of their body to improve posture and gait.
- Alexander technique is a practice to improve posture and movement and to use muscles efficiently. It may be used by osteopaths, chiropractors and some physical therapists.
Mind Body Techniques
Physical health and illnesses are dependent upon mental and emotional factors. This forms the basis of mind body techniques, which aim to improve physical health by improving mental and emotional status of a person by some of these methods :
- Meditation: Meditation in Parkinson’s disease allows the patient to remain stress free and become mindful, relaxed, and a happy person. The patient is advised to meditate upon the binaural-frequencies CD that help to bring the brain into Alpha range or lower. This might help in relieving the stress and pain. There has been established scientific positive link between the meditation and Parkinson’s disease and it has been successfully reported by “pickut and Associates” that the meditative intervention in Parkinson’s has led to beneficial structural brain changes on MRI.
- Relaxation techniques.
- Biofeedback – unconscious biologic processes, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension are brought under conscious control by making a person aware of them. Understanding the reasons for the changes may help people to regulate them.
- Guided imagery – mental images, such as a happy and healthy situation is conjured up, often with the help of a practitioner, to overcome certain illnesses and stress.
- Music therapy.