If you’re old enough, you may remember the catchy rhythm in Frank Sinatra’s daughter Nancy’s recording of These Boots Are Made For Walkin’. We’ve used that song in some of our exercise classes to showcase how humming or singing while practicing certain movements can actually improve the effort being made. Music can reach parts of the brain that control how the body responds to rhythm and actually improve not only speech volume, swallowing and breath control, but also unsteadying gait challenges caused by Parkinson’s.
Read more from this interesting article posted on line by Parkinson’s News Today. Then, see if you remember these lyrics and apply them to the fight against Parkinson’s: “These boots are made for walkin’ and that’s just what they’ll do. One of these days, these boots are gonna walk all over YOU.”
“Poor posture is a hallmark feature of Parkinson’s disease. This stooped positioning has been associated with increased muscle rigidity or stiffness. The typical Parkinson’s posture includes: forward head, rounded shoulders, increased thoracic kyphosis, increased flexion of the trunk, and bending of the knees.”
How can poor posture affect you?
Difficulty speaking clearly and loudly
Difficulty with moving your neck and upper extremities
Change your perception of your body’s position in space
Can alter balance and lead to falls from having your weight shifted forward
Decrease strength of postural muscles
Headaches and TMJ pain
(Meredith Defranco, “Parkinson’s Treatment Tips” published March 1, 2012, Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at University of Florida Health)
A May 22, 2019 article in Parkinson’s News Today offers insight into assessment results from a controlled study that utilized a four-week trunk-specific, posture-correcting rehabilitation program: “Forward bending of the spine, known as disease-related forward trunk flexion (FTF), is a common complication observed in patients with Parkinson’s disease. FTF can result in permanent postural imbalance, pain, frequent falls, and irreversible deformities. Early detection and rehabilitation efforts through focused physical therapy can help in reducing pain and delay motor symptoms progression. However, information is limited on FTF rehabilitative efforts in Parkinson’s patients.” – Vijaya IyerRead more here
If you can relate to others who experience episodes of having your feet “freeze” in place while you’re on your way elsewhere, you likely also have postural instability, meaning your balance is impaired. Quoting from an online article from the Parkinson Foundation, “…these symptoms can cause falling, resulting in a multitude of injuries, a loss of personal freedom, caregiver stress and a reduction in the quality of life (Pirker & Katzenschlager, 2017; Samotus, Parrent, & Jog, 2018). …Current PD medications, therapies or surgical procedures do not effectively address this debilitating unmet need. This lack of options might be changing, due to an intervention called spinal cord stimulation (SCS).”
Information contained in the study is so worth reading and discussing with your movement specialist or neurologist. Don’t pass this by! The results of this study may provide a new gateway to a new “gait way”! READ MORE HERE
Quoting information provided in a Michael J. Fox Foundation Foxfeed blog post titled “Ask the MD: Music as Medicine for the Mind”…
“In certain diseases, like Parkinson’s, the brain rhythm in the circuit controlling movement gets off track. …Playing music exercises the mind and body. It provides a route for social interaction. In drawing someone into its rhythm, it can calm a resting tremor, break a freezing spell and bring gait into a more normal pattern. Music can boost memory, lessen depression, and improve the volume and tone of speech.” (https://www.michaeljfox.org/foundation/news-detail.php?music-as-medicine-for-the-mind)
Join our new MedRhythms 8-week neurologic percussion series beginning on Wednesday afternoons from 1-2 PM at the Danvers Community YMCA starting May 1st! Beat a combination of drums, smack a boomwacker, shake maracas…and SO much more! The series is limited to 30 people – take a chance on something new, motivating, beneficial, and fun. Register early by emailing email@example.com to be part of this pilot opportunity here in our area!
We’re pleased to introduce Michael Reyes, newest owner of the Salem Fitness Center, where we hold regular Thursday and Saturday boxing and conditioning classes! As the most recent instructor to help join the fight against Parkinson’s, Michael is far from new to the wellness field. Here’s a glimpse into his career background…
Michael is an experienced personal trainer with a demonstrated history of working in the health wellness and fitness industry. He is skilled in coaching, wellness coaching, fitness training, athletics, and team building. He is a strong community and social services professional with a BS degree focused in economics and management from Norwich University.
Michael has installed a brand new ring in the boxing area at the center. Think that’s too difficult for you? THINK AGAIN AND POSITIVELY! A few of our members have already successfully climbed in to work “on the ropes” trying new agility techniques and stamina-building routines!
Kim Crowley will continue providing her great strength-building and conditioning workouts in her other class locations. Michael understands that Parkinson’s wants to do whatever it can to challenge you, so visualize it as the opponent it is and punch back as hard as you can! You can DO this and Michael is ready to show you how!
Freezing in place while walking, often to the point of losing balance and falling, is a fairly regular occurrence for many people living with Parkinson’s.
Read this really interesting Dutch research about experimental but promising “laser-light shoes”. Many of us are aware of assistive devices that incorporate laser lights (walkers, for instance) to break freezes. Keep “stepping” up in learning about not only what causes freezing, but what’s being created to lessen the challenge it presents.
Parkinson’s Fitness and MedRhythms Neurologic Music Therapy collaborated to provide THE best educational seminar at the Beverly COA on September 7th!
MedRhythms Neurologic Music Therapy CEO/co-founder, Brian Harris, presented such interactive, engaging, eye-opening information, that all 78 of us who attended couldn’t believe how quickly an hour and a half passed by! Everyone remained completely focused on what Brian explained and demonstrated.
Video clips showing the effect of using music rhythms to reach areas of the brain that control speech, body movements, and cognition were fascinating, especially because actual patients were shown interacting with the MedRhythms therapists. Brian and a seminar audience volunteer held everyone’s attention as she participated in a demonstration of how rhythmic beat affects the way our brain “tells” the body how to move.
Our audience included people affected by Parkinson’s, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy and other forms of neurologic conditions, as well as memory impairment. Brian’s program was a wonderful introduction into a complementary form of neurologic therapy. To witness in the videos the effect of specifically chosen rhythms on movement and gait, and the happy look of satisfaction on the face of a patient who re-gained his ability to once again communicate, was heartening to watch.
There’s a future filled with promise waiting to be explored by many people here in our local communities, and we will do whatever we possibly can to create a way to build programming that includes MedRhythms neurologic music therapies. We invite you to join our efforts!
When did Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) first appear?
“NMT was researched and developed by the Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy in Fort Collins, Colorado. The first certification program of NMT was held in 1999. Since then, Neurologic Music Therapy has seen rapid growth in healthcare.”
Millions of people lose language, cognitive, and movement abilities each year from neurologic disease or injury – i.e. Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington’s, Cerebral Palsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, autism, etc. MedRhythms collaborates with individuals, medical clinicians, and assisted-living and nursing care staff on an inpatient and/or outpatient basis to restore quality to lives.
Most of us in our area are aware of the first-class neurological services available at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, outside of Boston. “Spaulding Rehabilitation Network was one of the first rehab providers in the country to create a full-time Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) inpatient program and has now announced a partnership with Boston and Portland, Maine based MedRhythms to offer NMT services on an outpatient basis, making it the most comprehensive program of its kind in the nation.”
It is our hope that MedRhythms will become a recognized collaborative partner with residents, organizations, hospitals, and rehabilitation therapists in our North Shore Area.
Remember…while music therapy lifts spirits through singing, drumming, bell ringing, etc. …it’s also about connecting the brain and body
Click here to see seminar details and how to register for the September 7th event in Beverly. Register by September 1st!