Monday, September 8, 2008

Massage Therapy and PD

Keeping my Parkinson's disease progression as slow as possible

I've had Parkinson's disease for 5+ years now. I've been trying to avoid taking levodopa because of its possible side effects that often start after 5 years of increasing dosage. Medications I now take are azilect, COQ10, and isradipine for PD. They eliminate or reduce my symptoms of tremor, soft voice and foot drop, while leaving me with slowly progressing muscular rigidity, gait difficulty and slowness of movement.

Seven months ago I began massage therapy for arthritis in my knees because I had read about positive results in a Yale University study for the CDC. The study showed that Swedish massage therapy reduced pain while improving flexibility and range of motion in arthritis patients.

I've been getting a one hour massage every week and the pain in my knees is mostly gone, unless I lift heavy things or wear shoes that are not soft, flexible and low heeled. In recent months I've been wearing Dr Scholl's Lara medium or wide width with the gel insole. Yes, I am gellin' and it seems to help my comfort level.

Most large metro areas will have lots of Massage Therapists. Find one who is familiar with Arthritis and Parkinson's and is listed by the American Massage Therapy Association. Most will offer several different styles of massage. Each of us is different, but Swedish massage has tested as pain relieving for arthritis.

In a small study conducted by Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami 16 adults diagnosed with Parkinson's disease were randomly assigned to either progressive muscle relaxation exercise or massage for 30 minutes twice a week.

The results were that those in the massage group had improvements in daily functioning and urine tests showed a reduction in stress hormone norepinephrine and the massage group had fewer sleep disturbances.

I will discuss my own massage therapy in more detail in an upcoming Parkinson's Focus Today post.

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