By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Parkinson’s disease affects motor and speech skills and is characterized by muscle rigidity and tremors. This degenerative disease is also chronic, meaning life long and progressively crippling.

People with Parkinson’s disease appear stooped and move slowly as the disease progresses. Age is a factor, as is evidenced by a great deal of the older population showing symptoms. Their walk is often a shuffling gait with very short steps. The person has trouble lifting their feet. Arms don’t move, or move little, when the person is walking. Range of movement is impaired and their hands shake. This palsy is the most telltale sign of Parkinson’s.

Other symptoms that develop can be even more debilitating. Problems with speech, and swallowing, cause an inability to communicate. Fatigue and depression are present in nearly half of Parkinson’s cases. Parkinson’s disease affects distal muscles first (muscles farthest from the body, like hands and feet). As the disease progresses, proximal, or the muscles closer to the trunk of the body, become affected.

This disease often is attributed to having no cause. Some factors can play a role, such as head trauma, drug use, toxins, or genetic predisposition. While there are several pharmaceuticals on the market, some of them seem to become counter-productive, but there are new and encouraging development trials.

At present, there doesn’t seem to be a break-through drug to stop the advancement of Parkinson’s disease. However, physical activity and therapy can alleviate some symptoms. The more the body and mind are active, and work together, the more successful treatments are for patients. Yoga works to unify the mind, body, and spirit.

Yoga practice engages the mind and clarifies focus. In the process, the postures, breathing, and movement, stimulate the nervous system and improve health. Pharmaceuticals, in conjunction with Yoga practice, seem to be the best option for students with Parkinson’s disease.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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