Monthly Archives: October 2012

Can acupuncture help PD symptoms?

Acupuncture  is based on the belief that a certain life-force energy (“chi”) flows throughout your body along energy pathways called meridians. When the flow of chi becomes blocked or unbalanced at any point on a pathway this is what leads to illness. Acupuncture aims to ‘unblock’ these channels.

Little is known about the effect of acupuncture on Parkinson’s motor symptoms, mood, fatigue and well-being.  Our understanding of the potential benefits is mostly from anecdotal reports such as simple observations from people about how they feel after this therapy.  Because these reports often do not test the possible effect of placebo or the benefits of other therapies that are sometimes combined with acupuncture (such as relaxation techniques, physician or acupuncturist counseling, other lifestyle changes or changes in attitude), it is unclear how acupuncture truly affects Parkinson’s well-being.   One study did evaluate the effect of acupuncture performed at a specific point termed GB34. Using fMRI imaging, researchers measured the specific effects of needling acupuncture point GB34 (Yanglingquan) on areas of the brain related to Parkinson’s Disease. Acupuncture activated brain centers that suffer excess deactivation in Parkinson’s Disease patients.

What this means for acupuncture and PD is unclear. However, controlled replicated research studies support the use of acupuncture for pain and headache suggesting this is a valid therapy for health and disease.

Follow these guidelines if you try acupuncture

  • Talk to your healthcare provider about acupuncture and review any concerns and expectations together
  • Research your acupuncturist’s training and credentials.  Your state’s medical licensing board can provide certification information as many states require licensing. Visit the  American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine website for more information,
  • Talk about your goals before treatment. Discuss how many treatments are needed, the associated cost and at what point treatment will be re-evaluated for its effect.  Review when treatment be stopped if you do not notice a benefit?
  • Ask about other modalities commonly practiced with acupuncture such as herbal medicine, massage or similar relaxation techniques. Will they be used during your sessions? What are the added risks or costs?




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Filed under Complementary Therapy

Support the Caregiver in your Life

November is national caregiver month and a fitting time to show gratitude toward the carepartner or caregiver in our live. Being a caregiver to a person with Parkinson’s has its share of challenges and it share of rewards. For some caregivers  the increased stress can increase their risk of depression and cause additional illness.  Show your caregiver that you appreciate them during National Caregiver month.

  • Encouraged your partner to have their own free time to pursue personal interests, hobbies and passion.
  • Join a support group, include your partner and connect with others
  • Communicate. Don’t forget to talk about things both good and bad.
  • Organize, downsize and simplify. This might be a time to take inventory of that which complicates life, adds unnecessary work or more stress to life and get rid of it.
  •  Do what you can and ask for help when you need it.
  • Be positive.
  • Find enjoyment in life and remember to laugh.
  • Be realistic. There are 24 hours in a day not 48.
  • Continue your outside interests, passion or hobbies.
  • Find things you both enjoy-dancing, movies, restaurants, a casual walk in nature
  • Surprise your caregiver with a token of appreciation -Chocolate is a good start!

Reply to this posting and support the caregiver in your live and others by adding your own ideas to this list. to this list.

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Filed under Caregiving, Relationships

Power of the mind to move treatment further

I have just completed a series of on mind-body medicine and the power of the mind in improving one’s outlook, treatment outcomes and perhaps life trajectory when living with a chronic condition.  An experience at a recent lecture coupled with my own observations as a physician has led to the following observations:

1. You don’t need a lot of special props programs or techniques.

2. Be intentional.  Identify what your intentions and goals are and how you are going to pay attention to the goal in the moment. This will help you identify and complete the steps needed to get there.

3. Find a moment. You may not need 20 or 40 minutes to get started.  Simply taking two minutes for yourself, engaging your mind’s power on that very moment is the best way to get started

4. De-stress. Learn what works best for you – yoga tai chi, deep breathing exercises, aromatherapy, medication or guided imagery to name a few of the stress reduction techniques or activities available to you.

5. Learn to label your feelings or ideas. Science tells us that simply labeling our feelings or identifying the cause of our fears, concerns or reactions helps us deal better with distressing life events

6. Practice loving kindness. To others and equally important our selves.

7. Combine these stress reduction techniques and/or positive affirming techniques with medical care for the best response. What would happen if you couple a few minutes of guided imagery or meditation after taking a medication, exercising or any other treatment helpful for you condition. The additive effects may surprise you.

Add your own observation or activity you have found helpful to enhance the powerful effects of mind on body by replying with your own comment

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Filed under Mindfulness and Spirituality