Archive for the ‘parkinsons’ Category

The role of God and faith in curing Parkinson’s disease

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

I truly believe that curing Parkinson’s disease is a multifold path. It takes hard work, it takes changing brain chemistry, it takes hacking into the brain and teaching it to do something new, and it takes faith.

A little less than a year ago I happened upon the work of Janice Walton Hadlock, after she was discussed on Fred Phillip’s blog. Janice is a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and was able to cure herself. Janice put together a project to collect the stories of those who have been cured or are in remission from Parkinson’s, to find out what the people had in common about how they were able to be cured.

As she collected stories there was one common theme and that was a belief in God. However it wasn’t just a belief in God, as there were priests and nuns who were not cured of Parkinson’s but had true faith. There were two characterizes that defined the flavor of the connection to God needed to cure Parkinson’s. The first was that God had to be defined as loving, peaceful and benevolent. God had to be viewed as a protector and friend. And secondly, belief in God was not enough, praying to God wasn’t enough. People who cured themselves of Parkinson’s had daily dialog with their God. They talked to God and God talked back to them. They were in true communication with a God they respected and loved, who loved them back.

I remember coming to the final chapters of Janice’s book and feeling a little like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, when she finds out she has had the red ruby slippers and her way home the whole journey. I knew how to communicate with God (did it daily in my work) and I truly believed in God down to my very soul.

I have always had a deep spiritual connection with something greater than myself since I can first remember. For me it was not taught, I was not brought up with religion, it was just something I knew was true and there. I spent many years searching for my “true” religion, but finally reached the conclusion that my connection to my God was personal and that I didn’t need to be a certain religion to define it. By the way I’m pretty sure my God is the same as everyone else’s God, we just look in at God from different windows.

Over the years though I usually did not talk directly to God but instead talked mostly to my guides, which in the Judeo-Christian faiths would be called angels. I even went so far to spell God with a small g as I felt it was more respectful as God was not someone to be approached directly like a person.

After reading Janice’s work I started spelling God with a big G and decided that I could actually attempt to talk directly instead of always through my guides. God was big enough and full enough that I was not wasted God’s time on my petty human concerns. Although I admit I am still more comfortable talking to my guides.

In addition I started communicating multiple times a day with my guides instead of only when I needed help. It is actually great fun and my guides have a delightful sense of humor!

When I was looking for a building to put my business in I was drawing a picture of what it should look like. One thing I wanted was lots of light but my guides insisted that there be no windows on the whole right side of the building. When I finally found the building, you guessed it – no windows on the right side! But the building has wonderful light, something I couldn’t envision before seeing it given the whole side with no windows.

So why is communication with God so important in curing Parkinson’s?

Most people in Parkinson’s are stuck in a place of fear, Dr. Joaquin Farias calls it shock, and Janice Walton Hadlock calls it pause. We are neither in parasympathetic or sympathetic but instead in a state of near death freeze.

Belief in a power greater than yourself takes you out of fear and makes the world a place of trust and safety. If my life is in God’s hands I don’t have to be afraid. For me, my connection also opens me up to great joy and wonder. I am constantly in a sense of awe of what God has put in this world. There is no true loneliness when you are held in the love of a loving God. Dr. Laurie Mischley, who researches Parkinson’s disease, has found progression of the disease to be fastest in people who answer yes to the question, “are you lonely?”

At the same time, there is no easy path here. If I relied on blind faith alone, I would not get better. God still expects us to do the hard work. However I find there is more joy in the work when there is connection. God does not want us to be blind. Instead being aware opens up new paths to follow to healing and joy!

So obviously if you have read anything I have written you know I am a woman of science. I firmly believe that God and science not only can both be embraced but in fact by embracing both the belief of both is strengthened.

There has actually been brain research done around what happens in the brain when we believe and communicate with God. How cool is that?

It has been found that, when you look at brain scans of someone communicating with God, the parts that light up are the parts of the brain related to inhibition and initiation of movement. These two functions we know are broken in people with Parkinson’s disease. Communicating with God stimulates the part of the brain where people with Parkinson’s have deficiencies! Wow!

It’s scarier for me sharing this part of my journey. This part is dear and close to my heart. But I truly believe that through my work with Dr. Joaquin Farias on rehabilitation, my daily supplements, and through God’s grace I will be able to cure this disease in myself. I also believe my work will eventually change into helping others with this disease as well as continuing my animal work. And when the time comes where the path to that opens up I will happily walk it. Life is a wonder and a joy!

My rehabilitation program for Parkinson’s and dystonia

Sunday, February 4th, 2018

Many people seem amazed when I tell them I work out 1-3 hours a day every day. To me it doesn’t seem like something amazing. I have two chronic neurologic dis-eases that can be reversed with exercise (and in my opinion cured) so why would I not do that!

Exercise is only part of how I am curing myself. I also spend and have spent a large amount of time working on emotional clearing, clearing my ancestral DNA trauma, connecting to God, and channeling healing into my body to cure my brain and open up my meridians. Plus taking all my supplements and healing the pesticide damage to my brain. This is definitely a multifold path!

But I wanted to out line my exercise program because that is the most easy to explain – most of this has come from Dr. Joaquin Farias

  1. Every morning I get up and row for 20 minutes. When I row my body is normal and it helps to reengage my left arm.
  2. I then walk my dog, Alli, usually for around 20 minutes. While I walk her I do hand and arm exercises. I bend, circle, and spread ever joint in my hand, both together and individually. Then I move to my wrist, elbow, and shoulder and repeat. I make sure to have some time with my left arm at my side so that the small amount of jerky swing I am getting back can develop.
  3. Throughout the day whenever I remember I stretch out my shoulder and arms in a doorway – I do this multiple times a day. Sometimes I combine that with kicking or stepping my left leg. I also try to stretch on the ground multiple times a day
  4. At lunch I either do a 20-40 minute power walk to music with 120 beats per minute or I do more stretching, arm or lumbar rehab
  5. In the evening I come home and row for 20 minutes again.
  6. After dinner I usually do about 30-60 minutes of exercise. This includes dance, yoga, inversions, and more stretching, and specific arm exercises.
  7. Combined with that I do specific lumbar exercises – moving my hips and lumbar back to open up my vagus nerve, release my lumbar tightness, and open up my neck. Two months ago that was all stuck, now I can move everything almost normally.
  8. I then do a series of neck exercises, which involve moving and stretching my neck in all directions.My neck has significantly improved in the last two months but still fast movements are hard for me. Small steps here.
  9. Finally I do tongue and eye tracking exercises. I had large issues with eye tracking before and now my eyes track perfectly again. In PD our eyes tend to track abnormally, so fixing that helps reconnect the left and right brain again. My driving has really improved now that I track normally again. I hadn’t realized that was even why I felt insecure when I was driving. My tongue was also slow and had a slight shake to it. I do exercises to stretch it out, move it around, and increase it’s flexibility. I have also seen significant improvement in that. If you have someone you like to kiss that also is a great tongue exercise. Harder when the person you want to kiss is in a different country.

Why I wouldn’t want to do all this is beyond me. I’ve seen significant improvement. My facial expressions are normal again. I still have a disability but slowly things are coming back. I’m betting on myself here that I can improve and get better. I’m beating an “unbeatable” dis-ease. It is sometimes one step forward, two back, six forward, three back but overall it is forward. There is a lot of trust and faith involved. I’m still on the three to five year healing plan. I just feel so blessed to have been able to work with Joaquin! Yes it is worth traveling to Toronto to work with him!

Compression socks and gloves for remapping the brain

Monday, December 4th, 2017


I recently learned about using compression socks and gloves to help with reprogramming my brain from Dr. Joaquin Farias. In Parkinsons and dystonia the brain starts mapping the body in chunks instead of individual parts. This leads to a decline in fine motor ability, especially in the toes and fingers. Compression puts pressure on the fingers and toes and signals the brain that they are still there and are individual parts.

Doing passive movement of my fingers and toes with the help of a friend or with my functional hand also helps with this mapping. I make sure every joint in my body moves every day and circle, bend, and spread all my digits, both individually and together.

While I can’t wear the gloves all the time, I try to wear them when I can and have already noticed a difference in my fine motor ability. The compression sock I usually only use on my left foot. My toes had been mostly paralyzed for over two years but recently I regained the ability to bend them but not spread them. Today for the second time in three years my left toes were able to spread after I had worn the sock for most of the day. The only other time this happened was when I slammed by toes hard on a doorway. The compression sock is much preferred and less painful!

It helps that we are in the cold of winter in Seattle so I don’t get too hot! I highly recommend anyone with a movement disorder affecting the hands and feet to look into using these!

Here’s the ones I bought

Am I a Butterfly? Changing Reality

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”
― Zhuangzi, The Butterfly as Companion: Meditations on the First Three Chapters of the Chuang-Tzu

When people with Parkinson’s and dystonia dream all symptoms disappear. So am I someone with Parkinson’s dreaming I am normal or a normal person dreaming I have Parkinson’s. And if so can I change the dream? Or can I bring the dream into awakeness? I am doing one of these, just not sure which one. Five minutes becomes ten and ten will soon become an hour and hours turn into days and after that the sky is the limit.

One of the most curious consequences of quantum physics is that a particle like an electron can seemingly be in more than one place at the same time until it is observed, at which point there seems to be a random choice made about where the particle is really located. Scientists currently believe that this randomness is genuine, not just caused by a lack of information. Repeat the experiment under the same conditions and you may get a different answer each time.
― Marcus du Sautoy, The Great Unknown: Seven Journeys to the Frontiers of Science

But the more we observe something in it’s normal state the more it reinforces our brain connections and eventually the normal moments merge together shutting down the abnormal. We control the outcomes of our own path and health.

When did everything start smelling so bad? Part of recovery I assume

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

The last few days my sense of smell has increased by about 10X. I never knew there was anything wrong with it but maybe there was. Suddenly everything stinks, did the couch smell before? Did the dog smell before? Do I stink? The banana sitting in the kitchen is somewhat nauseating and I’m not in the kitchen. And god the cat’s breath is bad! Martin has been telling me that for awhile. Eating meat is suddenly hard because it stinks. I’m pretty sure my sense of smell has never been this good, ever!

I’m been experimenting with bringing the normality of my lucid dreams to life, doing Dr. Farias new exercises, wearing compression gloves, renaming my normal non-rigid self and trying to separate the Parkinson’s program that boots up over my normal from my normal brain programming. I now wake up in the mornings pretty normal besides the functional paralysis in my left hand and neck tremors that clear when I sit up. Today I just took citicoline, glutathione, fish oil, and about 1mg of nicotine and felt extremely good, definitely one of my best days since this all started with no PD medication. My shake is a little more (wind leaving?) but everything else is better and my facial ability to show expression is amazing today – maybe even too much so as my eyelids and lips are a little hyperresponsive.

When I wake up in the morning I feel my normal body then I feel the Parkinson’s program boot on top of the normal. I can now get the Parkinson’s program to not completely boot by realizing it is not part of my normal brain – I’m hoping with time to enhance this. And I’m hoping to get enough clarity on what I’m doing to explain it better. I can feel my du channel (the channel that is blocked in PD according to Janice Hadlock) and it’s open a good portion of the time. Mine was definitely closed before.

The Parkinson’s is still there but it is separating from my normal underneath and I can feel it is not part of me – almost like a snake ready to shed an old skin. I still do much better when I’m alone or around people I know very well (Janice’s partial recovery?). I expect ups and downs in this process – two steps forward, one step back.

I’m like a leaf in the steam of creation (bonus points if you know the reference!)

Sinemet – microdosing and using it as a part of recovery from Parkinson’s

Monday, November 27th, 2017

I want to talk a little about Sinemet, the main drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Before I go any further, I am not a human doctor, I am not giving medical advice, and I am talking about my experiences and beliefs about this drug. You know the drill – don’t quote me to your doc!

As anyone who has brought an animal to me knows, I am a firm believer in mixing western and holistic medicine. When animals come to me taking a drug, which has improved their symptoms, I do not stop the drug. My first step is to fix the underlying imbalances in the body until their symptoms are better than when they came to me or ideally are completely gone. Only then do I slowly stop or reduce the drug they are on. It is a completely different story if the drug is making them sick, has bad side effects, or their symptoms are worse on the drug.

I know many treating Parkinson’s naturally have made decisions to not take drugs and I highly respect that as long as it is not made from a place of rigidity. For me Sinemet improved my quality of life and I see it as a helpful crutch until my brain is better. I have no side effects from it as long as I am on the right dose. In Chinese medicine a drug with no side effects is actually helping to correct the imbalance and is needed by the body. It is also highly unlikely to cause harm.

Sinemet is the precursor to dopamine, Levodopa, along with Carbidopa, which helps with transport into the brain of the Levodopa, by stopping peripheral metabolism of the drug.

Is Dopamine production the problem with Parkinson’s? I happen to agree with Janice Hadlock, that maybe Parkinson’s is more an issue with the parts of the brain that utility dopamine to help control initiation and inhibition and that these areas stop utilizing dopamine properly. This causes an excess of dopamine in the brain, which feeds back to the dopamenergic neurons and starts shutting them down. I do not agree with her that Sinemet causes irreversible brain damage. I think it can potentially at excessively high doses but not when used correctly.

My naturopath, Dr.Laurie Mischley, who studies how to slow the progression of Parkinson’s, has found that early Sinemet dosing, actually leads to slower progression. Her theory is that if there is not enough dopamine in the brain the receptors start dying and then no amount of dopamine will work. So start early. I also feel like Dr. Laurie’s approach with multiple brain supporting supplements and one or two drugs is very beneficial. It goes along with the idea of using a drug appropriately but fixing the underlying imbalances as the primary goal.

I have found for myself that micro doses of Sinemet work best. This prevents me from having side effects and helps me support my body without damage. It also gives my body a chance to restart any dopamenergic neurons that are dormant because I am not flooding my brain with extra unneeded dopamine. Generally I take ¼-1/2 of a 25/100mg pill every 4-6 hours during the day. Sometimes I don’t need it so I don’t take it. I feel so blessed to have two doctors who support me in doing this and don’t insist that I take the same dose of drug at the same time every day!

I am lucky to be very sensitive and in touch with my body and how things effect it. Usually I know what dose of drug I need by feeling into my body. I also have different cues that tell me if I have too much or two little medication in my system. For me being under or over medicated can be hard to tell apart as one triggers my Parkinson’s symptoms and one triggers my dystonia symptoms. If I kick out my leg from the knee and I am overmedicated my toes will flex involuntarily. Not being able to sit still is another sign. Then I do not need more meds.

If walking feels like I am sludging through molasses or if I am extremely stiff and uncomfortable and stretching doesn’t help then I am usually under medicated.

My drugs work way better when my du channel is open which is the meridian channel which starts at the base of the spine and runs midline up the back, into the neck, over the head, and ends above the lip. I try to open before I medicate. When it’s closed my drugs help a bit but not much.

And one more thing – can we please stop saying Parkinson’s is an incurable and irreversible disease? It is not easily curable or reversible but there are people doing it!

I have so much more I want to say but I’m finding I never publish articles unless I keep them short, so here it is – more later!

Lucid dreaming – a road out of Parkinson’s dysfunction?

Friday, November 17th, 2017

If you are going to have a chronic disease at least find it amusing!

The last month I have been doing a lot of lucid dreaming when I am moving into wakefulness in the morning. If you don’t know about lucid dreaming it is a state where you are conscious but dreaming and can navigate through your dreams with full control and awareness that you are in the land of dreams.

The interesting thing is that I can move back and forth from lucid dreaming into full awake consciousness and back into lucid dreaming again. When I am lucid dreaming I have no Parkinson signs but as soon as I move into awakeness my tremor starts and as soon as I move back into lucid dreaming it stops again. I can consciously do this as long as I enter the plane of lucid dreams, although I don’t always lucid dream. My question is how do I bring this into my waking life??

Yesterday I had a preview of this. I woke up and was awake and fully conscious but still in bed and with my eyes closed. I had no tremor and I could move my left hand and arm completely normal (these side is normally slow, dysfunctional and shaky). This lasted for about 10 minutes – my body was normal! Then the shaking and dysfunction returned.

So is my lucid dreams trying to lead me out of my disease state? Is this because my amygdala is suppressed during dreaming so my body is not in a heightened state? If so compassion meditation practices helps regulate the amygdala. Lucid dreaming creates more dopamine production in the body than REM sleep because the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is active. I notice after a period of lucid dreaming my symptoms are better even after awakening.

The other night I slammed my left toes into the door jam enough to really hurt but for a few hours after that my toes moved normally and I could spread them apart which I have not been able to do in three years. In a few hours the new normal function had ceased. My body was shocked into normal function for a time.

My conclusion is that my body still knows normal. My inhibition and initiation systems are abnormal but all the nerves are still connected and functional!

I went back to see Dr. Farias today and had another wonderful session with him. I have a bunch of new exercises and systems to work with. The focus being on my tongue, eyes, and lumber spine to release my neck and regulate my vagus nerve and parasympathetic system, more on that soon!

Using Nicotine to treat Neonicotinoid pesticide induced Parkinson’s disease

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

Nicotine, I’ve wanted to talk about nicotine for a long time but wanted to finish my experiment with it first. This post is mostly going to be about using nicotine to repair neonicotinoid pesticide damage in the brain but I want to get another post out there on the studies related to Parkinson’s disease in general, so stay tuned.

So I need to stop here and say I am not giving medical advice, I am not suggesting anyone addict themselves to nicotine without talking to their doctor first. I do want to share my experiences.

We tend to think of nicotine as bad, addictive, and deadly but it’s only one of the three. What if I told you nicotine was one of the most neuroprotective drugs out there especially to dopaminergic neurons and was being studied to treat both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. What if I told you it was the strongest cholinergic drug and was awesome at pulling your body back into a parasympathetic state from sympathetic overload. Tobacco has long been sacred to Native Americans, it is the opposite of the evil we associate with it. If used with respect and properly it can be amazingly helpful and healing.

Nicotine is one of the most studied drugs. Years ago doctors and scientists observed that people who smoked rarely got Parkinson’s disease, in fact when it was looked at closer they found that people who smoked had a 50% reduction in Parkinson’s and those who got it progressed slower than non-smokers. Yes smoking protects you from Parkinson’s disease but of course causes cancer. Nicotine also makes the body make more dopamine and has been shown to reduce PD symptoms. However nicotine itself does not cause cancer unless applied to the same area consistently, i.e. lungs, mouth. Nicotine can increase heart issues in people prone to heart disease as it can increase blood pressure but that is about the only negative health issue if not delivered to the body in a way to cause cancer.

When dopaminergic nerve cells (the cells which stop working in PD) are exposed to neurotoxins, if nicotine is added to the system, they don’t die. It protects them.

When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease I did a ton of research to figure out how to cure myself.

One of things I think contributed to me getting this disease so young, beyond my two genetic mutations, was that I had massive neonicotinoid pesticide exposure in my 20s. These pesticides, which are commonly used in flea medication, permanently bind to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors on nerve cells and are linked to causing Parkinson’s disease.

I spent about six months trying to find some way to kick these chemicals off my receptors but as I said they permanently bind and that is final. Nerve cells in your brain also do not regenerate so I could not grow new properly working nerve cells. Yet I was convinced these cells were not dead, just not able to function properly because some of the receptors were damaged. So was there a way to make new receptors? In fact there is a heavily studied way to make new receptors called addiction. When we use an addictive substance we create something called tolerance. This means our body wants more and more of that substance to feed the addiction and our body does that by making more receptors for the addictive substance to bind to.

Nicotine addiction works because nicotine binds to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, the receptors that were permanently damaged in my brain. As more nicotine is given to the body, more receptors are made. These receptors are permanent; they do not go away even if the nicotine is withdrawn. That is why people who have had addiction can very easily become re-addicted to a substance if they use it only once or twice after stopping for a long period of time. I suspected I had a way to replace my damaged receptors; I had a biological hack around my pesticide damage!

So yes I was going to addict myself to a highly addictive substance but an addictive substance that actually had been proven to protect my brain and slow the disease I had been diagnosed with.

I started with 7mg patches of nicotine, working backwards through the stopping smoking system, and moved up to 14mg patches after two months with occasionally using 21mg patches to sleep at night when the stress from my divorce got bad. I found 21mg sedated me too much for daytime use but gave me excellent sleep. For you who have never smoked, nicotine, at least for me, was a lovely drug. It made me calm, happy, and increased both my energy and brain processing speed. Nicotine combined with the other 10 brain enhancing supplements/herbs I take made my brain work at a crazy speed but with a calmness that helped me process even better. I felt like a happy supercomputer!

After about 3 months of using nicotine, I started having horrible patch reactions where my skin would get bright red and swollen under the patches and itch like crazy. It would take about 3-4 weeks for the redness and itching to completely go away and I had to use massive control to not rip the skin over my thighs apart. Imagine having 21 giant mosquito bites on your thighs. It became clear to me that my body was done with nicotine and that I was going to end up with scarring if I continued to use it. So I stopped it two weeks ago after five months of use. The interesting thing is I had no withdrawal. I suspect that is because my experiment worked. I now have the normal number of receptors again but not the more than normal number you would get with addiction. Because of this the normal acetylcholine I make can bind to these receptors again and start to get my brain cells back to working properly. In fact in the two weeks since I stopped the nicotine I have seen improvement in the PD like symptoms I experience. I’ve had enough ups and downs in the journey to cure myself to not make assumptions too early and so need more time to see if the nicotine has caused permanent improvement but I am very hopeful! As an added note it also helped my dystonia symptoms, especially storm activity.

I’m hijacking this blog to share my work on movement disorders

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

So I am officially hijacking my own blog for a while to talk about Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, and my journey in healing from these disorders as there is no longer any doubt that I am getting better. My left thumb started working last night after two years of being pretty dysfunctional and I am officially off all Parkinson drugs. The two last times I took them they didn’t do anything because, guess what, I’m making enough dopamine again!

Over the past two years I have spent countless hours digging through pubmed studies, tracing chemical pathways in the brain, reading everything out their about neonicotinic pesticide toxicity, LRRK2 mutation and neuroplasicity. I’m on to something for me and like in the animals I treat, if something I figure out is working, I want to share it. If I can cure myself from this I want to take as many people I can along with me to their own cure. I realize that Parkinson’s is a snowflake disease, like cancer, and everyone’s disease is different but even if what I’m doing doesn’t help someone else maybe it can fuel their curiosity to seek what they need to get better and fuel the hope that progressive diseases can be curable!

If the discomfort, anguish and fear I experienced over the past couple years can lead others to heal it will all be worth it for me. My own healing is in full swing and I feel like one of the most blessed people in the world right now. None of us can walk this path alone! I have had amazing helpers alone the way, my wonderful naturopaths, Laurie and Sam, my body workers Camille and Kim, Katie my counselor, Angela Ross who came up with the dystonia diagnosis, Jo from SANCA who decided teaching PD people tight rope was a good idea! , and of course Joaquin! If you have a movement disorder I highly recommend everyone of these people, they have been my backbone! And the endless support of my amazing clients and their animals who have not just stuck with me but supported me in this journey! And of course my friends and family both people and animal. See it’s still a path with paws!

So begins a new journey for me to inspire people with movement disorders to heal and share all I’ve learned from my amazing community, my own research and journey. Maybe this will become book number two! So stay tuned!

And yes I promise to throw in some animal stories along the way!

2 -Rehabilitation from Parkinson’s disease – music is magical!

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

Music is magical! A large part of my rehabilitation work involving dance, walking and other movement to music with 120 beats per minute. Music allows us to bypass the frontal cortex and reconnect lost neurocircuitry. With my functional paralysis this is extremely important. Because of my Parkinson’s my body also tries to inhibit movement, music helps me bypass this inhibition. We don’t know actually what is so special about 120 bpm but those that work with music in rehabilitation have found it seems to be the best for inducing neuroplasticity. It’s funny but a lot of the pop music I love but am kind of embarrassed to love is 120 bpm. It’s like our brains are evolutionarily tuned into that beat. There is an added benefit to listening to music from a time in your life when your body was normal as music is excellent at taking us back in time both emotionally and physically.

The rehabilitation program Joaquin Farias set up for me has five basic goals

  • Wake up my muscles that are hypotonic and reestablishing brain connections to them
  • Get rid of the rigidity in my body
  • Reconnect my left and right brain
  • Help my body stay in parasympathic most of the time
  • Help my body to make it’s our dopamine again at normal levels

This is done through

  • Mirroring – using my functional right side to re teach my left – if both sides are abnormal you can mirror another person
  • Passive movement – in my case this can be someone else moving my body or my right hand moving my left side
  • Active movement – dance, walking, and reputations of exercises that help to remap my nervous system. Many of these are done in repetitions of twenty, six to twenty times a day
  • Exercises that increase my heart rate
  • Stretching

My program is individual to my body and symptoms but I do want to share as much as I can, as I believe it is helpful for others with movement disorders to know there are options out there.

So one of the most transformative parts of my rehabilitation plan is something Joaquin calls forced walking. With my disease my brain tries to inhibit my movements, one part says go forward and one part says stop at the same time. This makes walking feel like sludging through molasses. By using music and walking to the beat the body is able to bypass my brains inhibition. So every day I walk for forty minutes straight to the rhythm of 120bpm music. This was extremely difficult at first and required intense mental and physical energy. One of my arms has no swing anymore and walking fast caused extreme pressure to build in my shoulder so that it burned and felt like it would break. Joaquin says this is a good thing and the burning is my nervous system rewiring and mapping my arm. I also get extreme tremor as that arm is pushed to reprogram. Joaquin says as we move into normality again the tremor will increase and to always allow the tremor.

At first my walks were hard the whole time but over a week they have gotten easier. Now it only takes a block or less before my body kicks into fairly normal walking. The burning is now in my shoulder, elbow, wrist and sometimes fingers. This is a good sign that the mapping is moving down my arm. I now ever get a small arm swing for most of my walk, only an inch or two but I’m confident that will increase. The wonderful part is that after the walks I feel almost normal. At first this was just for 10-15 minutes but now it is for 5-7 hours.

My walks work better than drugs! They naturally help me make dopamine in addition as remapping my functional paralysis side. I can feel it happening and often times break into a smile – something that is hard when you have Parkinson’s. I now have a choice – walk, dance, or Sinemet. I usually only need to use Sinemet about every 40 hours and just half a pill.

Odd things are starting to happen as my hand remaps. It will put itself into odd positions. Yesterday and today it would start playing the violin which I have not played since I was twelve! Today I went with it and started bowing with my right hand to match until I got a very weird look from a guy watering his yard. My hand is starting to remember again!

Last night I was with some friends and brought out my 120 playlist to show them. As soon as I started playing one of the songs I could feel my dopamine increase. I’ve become like Pavlov’s dog in less than two weeks – the music alone can now trigger my cells to make dopamine!

The magic of neuroplasicity is amazing to me. This is just the beginning for me and I’m excited to see where it will take me! We CAN reprogram our brains to heal and music seems to be the key that unlocks the magic!

Thank you Joaquin Farias!

How to find music with 120bpm

Joaquin Farias’ book Limitless