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Massage Therapy and Parkinson’s Disorder

I encounter many physical discomforts from my clients, ranging from general malaise, tension from overwork and stress, to pain relief and a desire to return to normal ranges of motion and function in muscles and joints caused from spasms, sprains, strains, and sports injuries.  One condition I have been seeing more often is Parkinson’s Disorder (PD).  Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disorder caused by a deterioration of the nerves in the brain that control muscle movements.  This results in a shortage of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system essential to proper functioning of controlled movement and balance.  Scientists are finding more often a connection from exposures to environmental toxins such as heavy metal poisoning, carbon monoxide poisoning, exposures to pesticides and herbicides, and sometimes exposures to certain drugs as influencing PD.  These can alter the body’s detoxification pathways by creating excessive free radicals that turn on the inflammation response.

Early PD symptoms might include general achiness, weakness, and fatigue.  Other symptoms more readily noticeable might be tremors while at rest that affect hands, feet, and the neck.  This in turn causes a slow down in most movements or a feeling of being rooted to the floor or a sense of it being difficult to “get moving.”  As the disorder progresses the muscles become more rigid making it difficult to bend and to straighten arms and legs.

Regular massage sessions are quite valuable to the PD client to help maintain flexibility and range of motion.  The comforting effects of massage helps reduce anxiety and depression that can arise.  Massage improves the body’s detoxification processes, speeds up elimination of wastes, and supports lymph system function.  It is important for the massage therapist to work actively with the medical team to be aware of medications, dosage changes, and side effects as massage may influence a patient’s response, such as needing less anti-depressant drugs.   It is important as well to be alert to the abilities of the PD client to get on and off massage tables, so session time allotments may need to be extended.

Far infrared sauna is an excellent method of reducing heavy metal toxins in the body as they are fat soluable and will eliminate over time through regular sweating.  Combined with regular massage therapy, the effects of PD may be forestalled.  Improving diet to include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables will provide living enzymes and nutrients supportive of all cellular functions, but especially our neurological requirements for maintenance and repair.

Krystle is a member of The Sandpoint Wellness Council.  Krystle may be reached at 208/290-6760.

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