Turns out light can stimulate cells to behave differently. Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine studied the effect of a low-level, near-infrared laser on nerve cells taken from people with Parkinson’s disease. The research was done in cells taken from people with Parkinson’s and compared to non-Parkinsons cells. A single, brief treatment with a 810 nm low-level, near-infrared laser increased the velocity of mitochondrial cells for 2 hours approaching the rate of mitochondria in non-PD cells. Mitochondria are the energy producing components of the cell and their activity is reduced in PD. Energy is needed for cell growth and maintaining cell health. Enhancing the functioning of mitochondria in cells taken from patients with PD may reduced the cell death seen with PD.
Light therapy is not new to brain disease. For instance full spectrum light is helpful for people suffering from seasonal depression. While promising, this research was tested in cells outside the body and much work needs to be done to develop light treatment inside the body of live individuals with PD.
Research was published in Molecular Neurodegeneration on June 17, 2009.
Music therapy is the use of music, sound, and rhythm to restore, maintain and/or improving physical, emotional, psychosocial and neurological function. Music therapy is different from simply dance, playing and instrument or singing. Each of these activities is very helpful for movement, mood, and socialization. In music therapy, not only songs are used but the various components of music, such as a specific tone or frequency of sound, certain patterns of beat or rhythm, harmony, and melody are used together or seperately to tailor the therapy to a persons needs. Music therapy may involve creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. The therapist is clinically and scientifically trained to use music benefits and a person transfer these benefits to everyday life, function or activities. This may include walking, talking, dressing, emotional wellbeing and even personal benefits such as confidence.
A music therapist will evaluate a person’s movement, coordination, muscular function, emotional and social health. Just like physical therapy, a very specific treatment is designed to target the problem areas and enhance a persons overall well-being. They use the power of music in generating movement, creating emotions, capitalize on the energizing or calming effect of music, the physical benefits of moving to music.
**Research studies show music therapy has helped the bradykinesia and slowness associated with Parkinson’s disease.***
Music therapists have a bachelors degree or higher and are certified by the board for movement therapists.
See the wellness center for more about music therapy.