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November 13, 2008

RTC On Massage And Parkinson's Disease

We have done a bucket load of reading about Parkinson's Disease this semester. All of the research papers that we have had to critique are about Parkinson's Disease. We'll be taking part in research related to gait dysfunctions in patient's with Parkinson's beginning next semester. So why all this focus on Parkinson's Disease?

Some background: Parkinson's Disease affects more than 1% of the US population over the age of 60. Five percent of people who develop Parkinson's disease have a first degree relative (parent or sibling) with the disease. Age seems to be the biggest factor, along with head trauma and exposure to pesticides or herbicides.

Production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain is deficient. The result is
* tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face
* rigidity, or stiffness of limbs and trunk
* bradykinesia, or slowness of movement
* postural instability or impaired balance and coordination
Remember Tim Conway of the Carol Burnett show? He did a skit about a little old man who shuffled. He was mimicking classic walking associated with Parkinson's disease.

What can massage therapy do for someone with Parkinson's Disease? According to a report in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, massage improved daily functioning, increased quality of sleep and decreased stress-hormone levels in people with Parkinson's disease.

"These data are consistent with previous research showing improvement on activities of daily living following massage therapy, for example, for patients with multiple sclerosis and spinal-cord injuries," state the study's authors. "Together these findings suggest that massage therapy enhances functioning in progressive or degenerative central nervous system disorders or conditions."

Locate this research article: Hernandez-Reif, M. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, July 2002, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 177-182.

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Posted by linda at November 13, 2008 6:58 PM

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