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Acupuncture for Parkinson's

  • Ongoing: until Tuesday, September 19, 2017
  • Tuesday: 12:00pm
  • Where: St. Andrew's Church
  • Cost: Free
  • Age limit: All ages

Acupuncture and Parkinson's Disease The ability of acupuncture to improve activity in affected areas of the brain and quell many symptoms related to Parkinson’s disease has brought about a surge of interest from clinicians, researchers and patients. Parkinson's disease (PD) is a motor system disorder which progressively worsens as dopamine-producing brain cells degenerate. Symptoms such as tremor or trembling hands, arms, legs, jaw and face; a rigid or stiff body; bradykinesia and lack of postural stability, balance and coordination tend to become more and more debilitating. Depression and other mood changes may also manifest, as well as difficulty in swallowing, chewing, and speaking; frequent, incomplete or difficult urination; constipation; dry, scaly skin or rash and disturbed sleep. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Approach to Parkinson's Disease According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Parkinson’s disease arises from underlying deficiencies that lead to internal Wind. The quality of the sinews, tendons, ligaments and fluidity of movement are controlled by the Liver system; depletion of Liver Blood and Yin Fluids allows for Liver Wind to stir up and course through the channels causing tremors, shaking, tics, tinnitus, dizziness, vertigo, unsteady gait, loss of balance and coordination, erratic movements, scattered thought, confusion, numbness and visual disturbances. When the underlying deficiency is severe, pathological, internally generated Wind may lead to convulsions, unconsciousness, deafness, opisthotonos, hemiplegia and deviation of the tongue and mouth. If the Kidney Yin and Essence are also depleted, the bones may become weak, concentration, memory and thought may also be affected, the body may feel exhausted after minimal activity and difficulties standing and walking may predominate. A licensed acupuncturist can prescribe specific acupuncture protocols and herbal formulas that support and strengthen the Kidney and Liver and nourish Yin, Fluids, Blood and Essence. When these organs and fluids are restored, stability, strength, fluidity of movement return, symptoms dissipate and pathological Wind cannot arise. This treatment approach has been applied effectively for thousands of years, and has been verified in modern clinical practice. Recent research confirms the restorative effects of acupuncture on the brain as well as the tendons and ligaments and has documented improvements in gait, tremors, strength, coordination and movement disturbances. In clinical practice, herbal formulas and nutritional recommendations, meditation and stress management techniques are provided along with individualized acupuncture protocols that together have even greater impact. Scientific Research On Acupuncture and Parkinson's Disease A glance at some compelling research provides insight into the possibilities of healing for those with Parkinson's. With the advancement of technology, brain studies are accumulating that illustrate the actual impact of acupuncture on specific brain areas and functions. Cornell University researchers demonstrated the neuroprotective effects of acupuncture on brain areas involved in Parkinson's disease in a study revealing positive effects of acupuncture on brain-derived neurotrophic and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor as well as cyclophilin A. The cellular death process was slowed, the effect of oxidative stress on dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra were also moderated and acupuncture improved neuronal activity within the basal ganglia. These findings give hope to patients who might otherwise become depressed when considering the progressive nature of Parkinson's disease. (Joh TH, Park HJ, Kim SN, Lee H. Recent development of acupuncture on Parkinson's disease. Neurol Res. 2010 Feb;32 Suppl 1:5-9. Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY 10021, USA) Outwardly, gait disturbances can be a substantial limiting a factor in quality of life for those with Parkinson's. The effect of acupuncture on reduced speed of movement, shortened stride, restricted arm swing and hastened cadence were assessed in a trial conducted by Fukuda et. al. from Meiji University of Integrative Medicine. The researches found that acupuncture significantly improved walking acceleration, stride length, and gait speed. (Fukuda S, Kuriyama N, Egawa M. Acupuncture for Gait Disturbance in Parkinson's Disease: Immediate Effects of Acupuncture Treatment. 2015 Oct;63(10):2189-90.) A Patient History A recent case study provides a personal account. A 71-year-old male patient suffering from Parkinson’s disease for seven years sought out acupuncture to manage related symptoms and debility. He presented with difficulty getting up in the mornings, constant, continuous trembling hands, weak grip, ambulatory slowness, bradykinesia, and low energy. The levadopa and physical therapy his neurologist had prescribed did not seem to be helping. He received three sequential 15-minute units of daily electro-acupuncture to tonify qi and blood, sedate liver wind, descend liver yang at points. Scalp motor point was used and infrared heat lamp was provided as well. Additionally, a Chinese herbal formula that tonifies yin and quells wind was prescribed. Having achieved significant improvements after a course of twenty-one treatments, the patient was happy, noting remarkable progress. After a course of acupuncture, the overall intensity of symptoms decreased from 9/10 to 5/10; frequency of symptoms abated from 8/10 to 5/10; and duration of symptoms were reduced from 8/10 to 4/10. Mental clarity and concentration also improved. Trembling was reduced by 40% and he was able to lift light objects. Range of motion increased by 30%. He even regained the ability to drive himself for a few minutes at a time. Continued weekly acupuncture was recommended to maintain and increase improvements, while addressing the remainder of symptoms. (International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture, 2015, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 298–317. © Allerton Press, Inc., 2015; Acupuncture for Parkinson’s Disease, Wei Liu and Changzhen Gong, American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) To find out more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help with Parkinson's, contact: Sarah C. Mowdy, ., MSOM at 928.963.1751. She holds group acupuncture sessions for those with Parkinson's at noon every Tuesday at St. Andrew's Church, 100 Arroyo Pinon Rd, Sedona, AZ.

This event was posted June 18, 2017 and last updated June 20, 2017