Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #86 … Dopamine Release Protocol!

Lately I have been focusing on the work of neuroscientist and Stanford University professor, Dr. Andrew Huberman. He has developed effective techniques intended to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, while stimulating the release of dopamine, serotonin and other neurotransmitters and hormones through natural methods and specific behaviors. I recently posted blogs/videos, explaining the 5-step program I have developed in order to de-stress and release dopamine and serotonin. Subsequent to these postings I have discovered more of Huberman’s work, as well, as rediscovering the work of Dr Joe Dispenza.

I am covering a lot of stuff in this blog post and there are three things in particular that I would like to emphasize:

  1. In addition to the small goals I’m giving myself throughout the day in order to stimulate the release of dopamine … such as, giving myself a goal of walking across the room with authority, and with a full stride, placing my foot down heel-to-toe, then celebrating my accomplishment … I’m also giving myself daily goals to achieve and bigger lifetime goals.
  2. I have expanded my dopamine release protocol to include the stimulation of acetylcholine and epinephrine.
  3. I have added specific dialogue and visualization techniques intended to support and enhance the behavioral techniques.

The intention of this program is to change my brain chemistry. This is called neuroplasticity. This is why we take medications…to change our brain chemistry. The difference is, I’m doing it naturally.

My living in good health program is a fusion of what I’ve learned from the teachings of Huberman and Dispenza, as well as, Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer and Ester and Jerry Hicks.

From Andrew Huberman, I learned about how to de-stress, activate the parasympathetic nervous system and stimulate the release of certain neurotransmitters and hormones, including, dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, epinephrine, GABA, oxytocin, endorphins and melatonin.

From Joe Dispenza, I learned that it is possible to heal ourselves … as he did … using thought and visualization to connect to our inner wisdom. I was also reminded that in order to change my experience, I need to change who I am.

From Eckhart Tolle’s teachings, I learned about acceptance … that I may not want to have this health condition, and I may not want to experience all of these symptoms, like trembling and freezing, but I accept that I do and … I don’t mind that I do.

From Wayne Dyer’s book, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, Living the Wisdom of the Tao, I learned the true meaning and importance of letting go and trusting that I don’t need to control everything, including, outcomes. I just need to do what I can, then step back and let my innerintelligence do its thing.

From Ester and Jerry Hicks book, Ask and It Is Given, I was reminded that the only thing stopping us from healing is the belief that we can heal, and moreover, that our thoughts, beliefs and emotions must be in vibrational harmony with our desire to heal. Also, how we ask for healing is critically important … we must ask as if it has already been given.

The program I have created includes the following key elements:

  1. Overall intention/goal
  2. Morning protocol
  3. De-stressing
  4. Dopamine stimulation
  5. Serotonin stimulation
  6. Acetylcholine/epinephrine stimulation
  7. GABA stimulation
  8. Oxytocin stimulation
  9. Endorphins stimulation
  10. Melatonin stimulation
  11. Self-talk and Visualization
  12. Healing request
  13. Bedtime protocol

Key Neurotransmitters and Hormones:

In order to understand the protocol I have developed, it is helpful to understand the key neurotransmitters and hormones that are involved.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced in the substantia nigra section of the midbrain. It is associated with movement, motivation, excitement, reward and celebration. It is dopamine release that motivates us to move towards a goal, and it is further released when the goal is achieved. It makes us feel excited and wanting more.

Serotonin is produced in the raphe nuclei which are located in the midline of the brainstem. It is associated with happiness.

Acetylcholine is produced in several places in the brain and brainstem. It is associated with focus.

Epinephrine is produced in an area of the brainstem. It is associated with energy, alertness and stress. When released in the adrenal glands, this neurochemical is called adrenalin.

Oxytocin is produced in the pituitary gland in the brain. It is associated with love. It is released when we hug our kids or our significant other.

Endorphins are produced in the pituitary gland in the brain. They are associated with ecstacy and euphoria. They are triggered by exercise, accomplishments and sex.

GABA is actually an amino acid that behaves like a neurotransmitter. It is synthesized in the brain from the amino acid, glutamate. It is associated with calm and expansive thinking.

Melatonin is produced in the pineal gland in the brain. It is associated with sleep. It is triggered by darkness.

Acetylcholine and epinephrine when released together, combines and enhances focus and alertness, and according to Huberman, ensures that neuroplasticity will take place, so long as acetylcholine is released from both the forebrain and the brainstem. Whatever you want to change will change as long this simultaneous release of epinephrine and the duel release of acetylcholine occurs. So if you want to train your brain to release dopamine by moving towards and achieving a goal, stimulating this release of acetylcholine and epinephrine at the same time virtually guarantees it because you will be more focused and alert.

Each of the neurotransmitter/hormone release elements outlined below includes both a behavioral technique, as well as, a self-talk/visualization script.

Overall Intention/Goal:

My overall intention is to live in excellent health. Jerry and Ester Hicks suggest that we state this intention/desire in the form of … Wouldn’t it be nice if … rather than … I want to. When we state a desire in the form of … I want … we are acknowledging the absence of what we desire and this creates a form of resistance to receiving it. Whereas, when we state our desire in the form of … Wouldn’t it be nice if … we are activating a vibration that is less resistant in nature.

My overall intention statement:

Wouldn’t it be nice if I lived in excellent health because wouldn’t it be nice if I could drive myself anywhere I want to go, anytime I want to go there. And wouldn’t it be nice if I could visit my children anytime I want to. And wouldn’t it be nice if I could swim, play my guitar, play my mandolin, play golf, write and go for long bike rides, anytime I want and for as long as I want to.

My plan is to recite my intention statement every day, before getting out of bed.

Morning routine:

In addition to reciting my intention statement before getting out of bed, I also recite the following:

  1. 23rd Psalm [spiritual version]
  2. Love affirmation

Also before getting out of bed, I ask myself two questions [this is taken from the teachings of Joe Dispenza]:

  1. What is the greatest ideal of myself that I can be today?
  2. What is the predominant thought I want to think today?

After I get out of bed and before I eat breakfast, I do the following:

  1. Speed exercises
  2. karate exercises [strikes and kicks]
  3. balance exercise
  4. knee raises
  5. short qigong practice
  6. meditation or yoga nidra [approximately ten minutes]

About a half an hour before breakfast, I take my first round of meds [2 100mg Sinemet tabs]. After breakfast, I usual spend some time writing blogs, running errands, etc, while the meds are still in effect. After the meds wear-off, I switch my focus to de-stressing and neurotransmitter stimulation.

De-stressing:

I outlined a 3-part process for de-stressing in a previous video and blog post. It involves: Calming the brain, Resting the Brain and Cleansing the Brain.

Stimulating Dopamine Release:

I outlined my dopamine release protocol in a previous video and blog post.

My dopamine release regimen is based on setting goals and tasks for myself to complete and then working/moving towards completing them. According to Huberman, when we complete a goal/task, there is an immediate release of dopamine, especially when we celebrate what we just accomplished. I give myself three levels of goals. [1] Moment-by-moment goals: For example, I’m going to walk across the room with authority, taking a full stride, while placing my feet down, heel-to-toe. [2] Daily goals: For example: today I’m going to shovel half the driveway, or today I’m going to post a blog, or today I’m going to write one chapter of the new book I’m writing. [3] Life goals: One of my goals is to live in excellent health. A second goal is for one million people to read the books I’m writing.

Stimulating Serotonin Release:

I outlined my serotonin release protocol in the same video and blog where I discussed how to stimulate dopamine release. The most effective technique for stimulating serotonin release is expressing gratitude and appreciation.

Stimulating Acetylcholine/Epinephrine Release:

According to Huberman, acetylcholine and epinephrine are the key neuro-chemicals involved in neuroplasticity. Acetylcholine is connected to focus, while epinephrine is involved in alertness, energy and stress. Huberman says this combination when released together in the brain drives changes in our brain chemistry [neuroplasticity].

Huberman says that mental focus follows visual focus because the eyes are actually part of the brain. The technique he has developed to stimulate the release of these two neurotransmitters is quite simple. You pick a small object closeby and focus on it [ideally, without blinking] for 60 to 120 seconds. Focusing on the object triggers acetylcholine, and doing it without blinking puts us in a mild state of stress, thus triggering epinephrine. Huberman says neurolasticity is enhanced by a moderate level of stress.

Practicing this technique in combination with the dopamine and serotonin release techniques heightens the effectiveness of these techniques.

Stimulating GABA Release:

GABA is associated with calm. It is directly related to de-stressing.

There is a simple qigong technique for stimulating GABA, which is to jump up-and-down three times while vigorously shaking the hands. Do this three times and then do a full-body shiver. Repeat this as many times as you please.

Doing this technique sends a signal to the brain that the stressful event [danger] has passed, we are safe and we can relax.

Stimulate Oxytocin Release:

Oxytocin is associated with love. To stimulate oxytocin release, hug someone, send a message to your kids, call your kids or spend time with your grandchildren, etc.

I also list things I love. For example, I love watching eagles soaring high in the sky. And I love a clear blue sky. And I love sitting by the lake, etc.

Stimulate Endorphins Release:

A simple way to stimulate endorphins release is to do any joyful exercise and celebrate any accomplishment.

Stimulate Melatonin Release:

Melatonin, of course, is involved in sleep. It is triggered naturally by darkness, so keeping lights low after dark, especially towards bedtime, is really important.

Huberman also says getting exposed to early morning sunlight, as soon as possible after sunrise [without looking directly into the sun], is important. He says that morning exposure stimulates cortisol release, which activates our circadian clock [our 24 hour clock], so that melatonin will begin being secreted approximately sixteen hours later.

It is also helpful to get exposure to late evening and sunset light.

Self-talk and Visualization:

To enhance the effectiveness of the physical behavioral techniques described above, I am also doing self-talk and visualization techniques. This is where Dr Joe Dispenza comes in. Dispenza is a neuroscientist, chiropractor and author of several books including, You are the Placebo. He healed a severely broken back himself after a devasting cycling accident in 1986 when he was struck by a vehicle doing 55 miles per hour. He didn’t like the extensive surgery protocol that was recommended to him. Instead he decided he could heal himself by tapping in to the body’s innate ability to heal itself. I believe it is possible for me to do the same thing.

Inner Dialogue:

The following is the inner-dialogue script I have created for myself. Feel free to copy it, or write your own. The emphasis of the script is on expressing immense gratitude and appreciation to my body for providing me with a physical vessel in which to complete this journey:

Thank you inner-self for guiding me on this journey of living in good health. I really appreciate it. I know excellent health is possible. I also know that this is what my inner-self wants. I am ready to be healed and I am ready to live in excellent health.

Thank you for helping me to live in an emotional state of love, joy, gratitude, acceptance and trust.

Thank you for reminding me that on a soul level, I chose this journey and therefore, I am in charge.

Thank you for providing me with guidance in regards to the emotional traumas that need to be identified and healed in order to facilitate my living in good health.

Thank you inner-self for balancing all of my neurotransmitters and hormones in order to facilitate my living in excellent health. Thank you also for activating my parasympathetic nervous system in order to facilitate my living in good health. In particular, thank you to my substantia nigra for producing the dopamine that is necessary to living in good health. Similarly, thank you to the raphe nuclei in my brainstem for producing the serotonin necessary to live in good health. Similarly, thank you to my brain and brainstem for producing the acetylcholine and epinephrine that are necessary for me to live in good health. Similarly, thank you to my brain for producing the GABA necessary to live in good health. I really appreciate you helping me in all aspects of this endeavor!

I suggest reading this script at least a couple times a day. While I am reciting the script, I visualize each body part releasing the neurotransmitter or hormone. To strengthen the effect of the visualization … and to have a little fun with it, I picture each neurotransmitter and hormone as a Seven Dwarfs type character [Doper, Serry, Ace, Eppie, Oxy, Gabby, Dorphy and Mello], each with an important function to fulfill.

To support my protocol, I repeat the affirmation I described earlier:

Wouldn’t it be so nice for me to live in excellent health, because wouldn’t be so nice for me to be able to drive myself anywhere I decide to go, anytime I decide to go there, and wouldn’t it be nice for me to visit my children anytime I decide to. And wouldn’t it be nice for me to be able to swim, play the guitar and mandolin, write, blog, play golf and do many other things any time I decide to and for as long as I want to. I AM READY TO BE HEALTHY and I AM READY TO DO ALL THESE THINGS.

In addition to my neurotransmitter protocol, I am also continuing to do my daily regimen, which includes walking and other exercises, stretches, qigong, meditation, spending time in nature, energetic and emotional healing, affirmations, writing, learning to speak Estonian and bodywork.

Also throughout the day, if I find myself struggling with something, I say to myself, I may be having difficulty with this task but I don’t mind that I am. It is only temporary and I accept it for what it is.

Healing Request:

My recovery regimen also includes emotional healing. I do this every day. I use a healing stone that I found in the forest to facilitate my healing. Holding the healing stone between the palms of my hands, I repeat the following:

I call upon my inner-self and the four archangels [Raphael, Michael, Gabrael and Urael] to assist me in giving over to this healing stone, all of the low-frequency vibrational energy that is being held within my energy field, so that it can be alchemized into love, particularly that which is connected to the beliefs, thoughts and emotions that are not in vibrational harmony and alignment with my intention to be healthy in all aspects of my life, and I thank you so much for this healing.

Bedtime Protocol:

My bedtime protocol focuses mainly on expressing gratitude and appreciation. I also repeat my Thank you for the Light [see below] affirmation. Before going to bed, I also do a short qigong routine.

I realize that this program is quite extensive. There is a lot to it. I have been developing and evolving it over many years. It might be easier for you to tackle one section at a time, in which case, I would suggest starting with the dopamine and serotonin stimulation techniques.

Now, I will admit that this program is unproven, at this point. I am sharing it with you now in the hopes that you will join me on this journey. If it resonates with you, great! Perhaps if we have enough people participating we will create an energy that will benefit us all!

May you be healthy and content!

Thank you for the Light:

Thank you for the light that shines on me immersing me in divine goodness and compassion, forgiveness and gratitude, understanding and abundance, patience and trust and aceeptance and faith, and physical, mental and emotional tranquility. And thank you for bringing me a good nights sleep.

Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #85 … Responsible Health Care for PD!

Where do we draw the line between responsible and irresponsible healthcare when it comes to managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease? I’m talking specifically here about the administration of medication, which the neurologist I used to see admitted, was all he was trained to do.

Is one medication okay? How about two? Or three? Or even four?

Does it depend on the patient and situation?

When does a neurologist become “pill happy” to the detriment of his or her patient?

The reason I ask these questions is because I recently became aware of yet another person who is experiencing significant difficulties, in all likelihood, the result of the cocktail of medications this individual is taking!

There are a lot of medications used in the treatment of PD: carbidopa/levodopa, dopamine agonists, off-time medications, medications to counter dyskinesia, medications for anxiety and medications for depression. The potential for a lethal cocktail is enormous!

But it’s understandable, and here’s why!

So, you are seeing a neurologist for the first time. He or she tells you, you have Parkinson’s. Then you are told the cause of the disease is unknown and that it’s degenerative, progressive and incurable! Next you are told the only treatment option is medication and these meds can have some very unpleasant side-effects.

My goodness!

At this point, you might be feeling backed into a corner, that you’ve been given a life sentence and that your options are extremely limited because you’ve got this neurologist you just met telling you that you have Parkinson’s and that it’s incurable and that you need to go on meds. It’s like holy crap, what do I do? You feel overwhelmed and powerless!

For most, the situation is extremely frightening, and so, the answer is simple … risk the side-effects and take the meds! But at the risk of sounding melodramatic, when this decision is made, you have just given up control of your life, because the meds are going to take it over! I can tell you this from firsthand experience.

I would love to be able to talk to every newly diagnosed person to say to them, “You don’t have to take meds right away … and you don’t have to believe PD is incurable. There are lots of things you can do to effectively manage the symptoms of PD while working towards full recovery. This is your life and your health and you can decide what is best for you.

Once you start down the road of medication, there is little or no turning back. Side-effects aside, these medications are extremely difficult to wean off of.

I managed to go 16 years without medication and if I had understood what the combined effects of Bowen therapy and chronic worrying were doing to me, I might still be meds-free. Instead, in late 2018, after six weeks of daily panic attacks [triggered by Bowen Therapy and excessive worrying], I found myself at our local hospital desparate for relief. The ER doctor prescribed an anti-anxiety medication [Lorazepam] which only worsened the situation because the next day I was taken back to the hospital completely immobile. I was prescribed a different anxiety medication [sertraline] and also talked into going on levodopa. My response to the combined meds was pretty remarkable because a week later, I walked out of the hospital and went home and shoveled snow.

At first, I was quite happy with the levodopa [I was able to wean off sertraline after a couple of months]. I was taking it three times a day and it was in effect all day and there was an improvement with all my symptoms. Unfortunately, the doctor who convinced me to go on meds, neglected to inform me about the wear-off effect [which kicked in after about ten months] or the very debilitating wear-off rebound effect [which started about ten months after that]. So, now I take the levodopa three times a day, but each dosage only lasts about two and a half hours before it wears off, and when it does, my symptoms are even worse than normal.

I haven’t been able to find any research on this, but I think two things are happening. First, when the levodopa wears off, dopamine levels actually fall below baseline or normal [whatever that normal happens to be]. Second, the dopamine wears off rapidly which sends a signal to the brain that I am entering a state of extreme stress, which results in a massive release of cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone produced in the adrenal glands and when it’s active [as I’m sure you’ve experienced], PD symptoms are worse.

Trust me when I tell you this situation I’m in really sucks! It’s very debilitating and if I had known about the wear-off rebound effect, I would have taken a different approach.

My situation is likely the exact same situation the person I referred to at the start of this post found themselves in when they were advised to add more medications. But I’m not taking that route because I know where it leads to and I’m drawing a line in the sand right here!

I’m sure the medical community is well-meaning but they have no first hand experience taking medication and therefore, they have no bloody idea what it’s like dealing with the side-effects. What is more, they’ve been treating the symptoms of PD with the same protocol since the beginning and they haven’t cured one person … nor would it appear are they any closer to a solution. Perhaps it’s time for a new approach.

Perhaps it’s time the medical community stopped ignoring the cases of those who have recovered and take the time to examine how they did it. Perhaps it’s time for researchers, doctors and neurologists to join the league of PWPs who are exercising, eating healthy foods, meditating, practicing qigong, spending time in nature, practicing gratitude, doing bodywork and emotional healing, taking supplements and cbd oil and practicing natural behaviors that are intended to stimulate dopamine release. Maybe then, we might actually start healing people!

Unfortunately, as a society, we’ve been conditioned to look for the easy solution and to let others fix our problems rather than taking responsibility and committing to doing the hard work to heal ourselves. My philosophy is, it has taken me a lifetime to reach the stage I’m at and the damage can’t be undone overnight by popping pills. It’s just not the best way to deal with this disease.

Thank you for listening!

A note of caution: What I am expressing here is my own personal viewpoint based on my observations and experience. We each must decide what is best for ourselves!

May you be healthy and content!

Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #84 … Stimulate Dopamine Naturally–Part 2!

This is Part 2 of a two part video/blog on a protocol I have developed to stimulate dopamine and serotonin, naturally, as well as activating the parasympathic nervous system [the calm state], using specific behaviors recommended by Stanford University professor and neuroscientist, Andrew Huberman.

It is a 5-part protocol:

  1. Stimulate dopamine
  2. Stimulate serotonin
  3. De-stress and calm the brain
  4. Rest the brain
  5. Cleanse the brain

In Part 1, I discussed stimulating dopamine and serotonin release. In this Part 2 video, I focus on calming, resting and cleansing the brain.

May you be healthy and content.

Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #83 … Stimulate Dopamine Naturally!

This post summarizes everything I have been able to piece together from various interviews with Dr Andrew Huberman and outlines a protocol for overcoming stress and stimulating the natural release of dopamine through specific behaviors. It’s simple but very powerful! Huberman is a neuroscientist and professor at Stanford University in California. He runs a research lab that is focused on de-stressing, improving sleep and stimulating the release of various neurotransmitters and hormones, including dopamine and serotonin. His work is directly applicable to anyone in the process of overcoming the symptoms of Parkinson’s, and wishes to do so naturally.

Huberman’s work and conclusions are based on the premise that the brain is neuroplastic, which means, it is able to reorganize synaptic connections and create new neural pathways. In other words, it can heal itself! In order to accomplish this, Huberman advocates focusing on behaviors first, then diet and supplements, and then, when all else fails, medication. It’s interesting that when it comes to Parkinson’s, the medical community jumps straight to medication. It’s also interesting to note that this is where the MJF Foundation is focused.

Physiology Overview:

Before I outline my de-stressing and dopamine release protocol, I think it would be helpful to review some physiology basics.

The human nervous system can be divided physically into the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.

The central nervous system [CNS] consists of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system consists of all the nerves outside of the CNS.

The nervous system can also be divided functionally into the autonomic nervous system and the somatic nervous system. The somatic nervous system is the part of the peripheral nervous system associated with the voluntary control of body movements via skeletal muscles.

The autonomic nervous system functions automatically without us having to think about it. It governs our internal organs and glands.

The autonomic nervous system consists of the sympathetic nervous system [flight-freeze], the parasympathetic nervous system [calm] and the enteric nervous system [governs the gastrointestinal tract]. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are part of the same continuum. The SNS and PNS work in harmony with each other. The PNS is the default system. It is the primary day-to-day operating system. The SNS is activated during times of stress, triggered by an event, such as the appearance of a lion, or even a thought [I’m in danger] or the triggering of an unconscious belief [I am a bad boy]. It stays active until the parasympathetic nervous system kicks back in because the situation, thought or belief has changed. If none of these change, the SNS stays active, and the longer it stays active, the more susceptible we become to disease.

Neurotransmitters and hormones are chemical messengers that operate throughout the entire nervous system. They’re like motor vehicles that transport people from one place to another. Neurotransmitters are produced in the brain and central nervous system, while hormones are produced in the glands of the endocrine system. Neurotransmitters transmit a message from a nerve cell across a synapse [a gap] to a target cell. The target can be another nerve cell, or a muscle cell, or a gland cell. Hormones are chemical messengers that are secreted directly into the blood, which carries them to organs and tissues of the body to complete their functions.

For the purposes of our discussion, we will focus on ten neurotransmitters and hormones:

Dopamine – is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain. It is associated with movement, motivation, reward, excitement and curiosity. A lack of dopamine is considered to be at root of PD.

Serotonin – is a neurotransmitter produced mainly in the gut [80% gut & 20% brain]. It is associated with happiness and celebration. It is possible, if not likely, that a lack of serotonin is at the root of anxiety.

Oxytocin – is a hormone produced in the pituitary gland in the brain. It is associated with love. It can be triggered by receptors in the skin.

Adrenalin [epinephrine] – is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands [it’s called epinephrine when produced in the brain] as part of the flight-freeze response. It is associated with energy, particularly when it partners up with dopamine [epinephrine is actually made from dopamine].

Cortisol – is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands as part of the flight-freeze response. It is associated with stress, worry and fear. A short, healthy burst of cortisol helps wake us up in the morning and starts our circadian clock.

GABA – is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain. It is associated with calm and expansive thinking. Promotes sleep.

Acetylcholine – is a neurotransmitter produced mainly in the brain. It is the primary neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic nervous system [calm] and is associated with focus.

Endorphins – are hormones produced in the pituitary gland in the brain. They are associated with feelings of ecstasy and euphoria [such as, runner’s-high] and are triggered by exercise, massage, meditation, sex, etc.

Noradrenalin [norepinephrine] – is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands. It is associated with fatigue and giving up.

Melatonin – is a hormone produced in the pineal gland in the brain. It is associated with sleep and is triggered by darkness. It helps to regulate our circadian clock.

Seven of these neurotransmitters are part of the parasympathetic nervous system and are most active during periods of calm. These include dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, GABA, acetylcholine, endorphins and melatonin. The other three [adrenalin, cortisol and noradrenalin] are mostly active during periods of stress.

Dopamine, for those of us living with the symptoms of PD, is the key chemical messenger. It is a deficiency of dopamine that leads to the physical [motor] symptoms of Parkinson’s, as well as some of the non-motor symptoms, such as, apathy. According to Huberman, stress, worry, fear and feelings of disempowerment [helplessness] suppress dopamine.

Dopamine is not the only neurotransmitter/hormone we are lacking. When we are stressed, the entire parasympathetic nervous system is affected … which means, serotonin, oxytocin, GABA and acetylcholine are also affected. I believe this why we experience certain non-motor symptoms, such as anxiety and depression. The longer we are in periods of stress and the more intense the stress and feelings of helplessness, the less active dopamine et al are … and eventually, they shut down completely. So we must expand our recovery efforts to include de-stressing, creating joy/happiness, creating feelings of empowerment, calming and focusing behaviors in order to stimulate their natural production.

Based on what I’ve learned, I’ve developed a five part recovery process:

  1. Stimulate dopamine
  2. Stimulate serotonin
  3. De-stress and calm the brain
  4. Rest the brain
  5. Cleanse the brain

How to stimulate dopamine naturally:

Because dopamine deficiency is thought to be at the root of Parkinson’s, I thought it best to address this issue first.

Huberman says dopamine is the motivation, reward and excitement neurotransmitter. I also call it the praise and celebration neurotransmitter.

As for how to trigger the release of dopamine, naturally, Huberman suggests four techniques:

  1. Set small, short-term, easy-to-achieve meaningful goals and start moving towards achieving them.
  2. Create a strong sense of reward when these goals are achieved. Get excited and celebrate your achievements!
  3. Place your attention on helping others!
  4. Focus on where you’re exceeding!

I am continually giving myself small tasks or goals to achieve, such as walking across the room using long strides and placing my feet down, heel-to-toe, or doing the dishes, or completing a qigong routine, or going for a power walk … everything I do … then cheering and congratulating myself as I am working towards achieving the goal and when I have accomplished it. Sort of like how a parent cheers and congratulates their child when they are attempting and accomplishing something new…like crawling for the first time.

Of equal importance, according to Huberman is to congratulate yourself and celebrate while you are in the process of achieving the goal or completing the task. This is because dopamine is released during the process as well as at the completion of the process.

Huberman is also an advocate of elevating our stress tolerance levels in order to enhance dopamine activation. This involves puttting yourself in a state of stress. For example, cold showers put us in a state of stress. We can take a cold shower, all the while, congratulating and celebrating our effort and accomplishment. He doesn’t advocate walking unarmed across the Serengeti.

How to stimulate serotonin release:

According to Huberman, the best way to stimulate the release of serotonin is to express gratitude and appreciation, especially towards the end of the day. I do this throughout the day and I do it a lot in the evening.

Feelings of happiness also stimulate serotonin release, so I like to watch funny videos [especially Rick Mercer].

De-stress and calm the brain:

With regards to dissolving stress naturally, in other words, consciously activating the parasympathetic nervous system in order to deactivate the sympathetic nervous system, Huberman suggests we focus on calming the nervous system using four techniques:

  1. Get morning sunlight in your eyes [don’t look directly into the sun] by looking eastward. This serves to wake us up, by stimulating the release of cortisol which wakes up the body and gets us moving. It also helps to stimulate our circadian clock so that our brain will begin releasing melotonin in approximately sixteen hours so that we can get a good nights sleep.
  2. Go into a panoramic vision state. That is, observe what you can see out of the corners of your eyes without looking directly at. This implements a calming response … it relaxes the nervous system, by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system.
  3. Implement the double breath technique: take a deep inhale through the nose, followed by a second inhale, then take a long slow exhale. This serves to expel carbon dioxide which helps to put us in a state of calm and trigger the parasympathetic nervous system.
  4. Exercise. Get moving. Go for a walk/run. Do some jumping jacks. Stress is meant to get us moving, and exercise helps to alleviate stress.

To alleviate stress, I also like to:

  1. Spend time in nature [hug trees]
  2. Dangle my feet in the lake
  3. Meditate
  4. Practice qigong
  5. Recite prayers and mantras
  6. Watch funny videos
  7. Practice loving compassion [May you be healthy. May you be happy. Etc.]
  8. Practice gratitude
  9. Practice ‘I don’t mind’ attitude

Before I initiate this de-stress/calming protocol, I like to replicate something animals do to activate their parasympathetic nervous systems. When an animal, for example, a zebra is successful in evading a predator, such as a lion, it will shake/shiver for a few seconds. This is a signal to activate the PNS because the threat is over. Birds and waterfowl will vigourously flap their wings. I do two things. First, I jump up and down three times while flapping my hands. This is actually a qigong technique. I do this three times. Then I do a full body shiver. This is my signal to my body that the stressor event is over and I can return to a state of calm.

I also alleviate stress by practicing the “I don’t mind,” attitude. For example, I don’t mind that I ‘shuffle walk.’ It’s not the way I want to walk, but I don’t mind that I do. I accept the situation. Similarly, I don’t mind that I experience ‘trembling.’ I don’t want to experience trembling, but I don’t mind that I do. I accept that, for now, my hands and arms tremble.

Stress can also be alleviated by living in trust, so I continually remind myself that no matter what the situation, I will be okay!

How to rest the brain:

Resting the brain mostly means getting a good nights sleep. A restful sleep is good for our mood and according to Huberman, it enhances neuroplasticity. Huberman recommends the practice of yoga nidra as a way to enhance sleep. If you haven’t already seen it, check out the video I posted on why I sleep well. You can also check out this Huberman video.

How to cleanse the brain:

Huberman says cleansing brain cells of metabolic wastes also enhances neuroplasticity. This is the role of the lymphatic system. The best way to maintain a healthy lymphatic system is to eat healthy foods and the best way to stimulate the lymphatic system is with bouncing exercises, such as bouncing on a trampoline, doing jumping-jacks or skipping. Saunas and exercise are also beneficial.

The purpose of this 5-part program is to neuroplasticize the brain by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system and creating new synapses and neural pathways for the release of dopamine and other calming neurotransmitters and hormones. According to Huberman, the brain becomes less neuroplastic as we get older, so be patient and stick with the program. It could take a few months before you start seeing change!

I should point out that I am continuing to do my Daily Regimen in addition to this 5-part program.

I am hoping that we get a ground-swell of people practicing these techniques and activities so that we create a collective energy that benefits the whole!

Good luck!

May you be healthy!

Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #82 – What I wish I had been told!

When I received my diagnosis in the fall of 2008, I knew very little and I was told very little about Parkinson’s disease. I was told that there were medications I could take and that exercise had proven to be beneficial. When I told the neurologist about my exercise regimen, he admitted that it was far superior to anything his clinic had to offer.

I wasn’t told that PD is a progressive, degenerative disease that is considered incurable. Nor was I told that it would affect me in forty different ways. I wasn’t told that it would take over my life and that it would be ever present, twenty-four hours a day. I wasn’t advised to take it seriously and to focus all my energy on everything I could do to slow its progress.

In 2018, when I found myself in a situation where I really had no choice but to go on medication, I wasn’t told about the various medications that are available, how they are used and how they work. I was simply put on Sinemet. I was briefed on its potential side-effects but I wasn’t told about the wear-off effect or the more challenging wear-off rebound effect.

It would’ve been very helpful if, when I had received my diagnosis that I had been given a booklet or a link to a website that contained all the information I would need to know about what to expect and what people were doing to manage and overcome the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Instead, I’ve had to learn all this myself, mostly through direct experience, and it is taken me a long time to do so. In fact, twelve years after diagnosis, I’m still learning.

Don’t get me wrong, I love learning and I love sharing what I’ve learned. It’s why I blog and it’s why I created the document on My Protocol and the document on the 18 Things I’ve Learned Living with the Symptoms of PD.

I also love that we now have Facebook and YouTube where people all over the world can conduct research, connect with others and share experiences.

I understand that the medical community doesn’t believe recovery is possible and that the best way to manage the symptoms is with medication. I also understand that they believe those who claim to have recovered their health were misdiagnosed or haven’t actually fully recovered. As the neurologist I used to see once said to me, that’s how I’ve been trained.

Still, it would be nice if the medical community would get on board and be more open and helpful in ensuring their patients are well informed on all allopathic and non-allopathic treatment protocols. Judging by the questions and comments I see, particularly on Facebook, people could benefit from more information on diet, homeostasis, exercise, bodywork, meditation, qigong, de-stressing, the role of unresolved emotional trauma, cbd oil, etc. They could also use more information on the role of attitude and beliefs, particularly in regards to overcoming anxiety and depression.

One of the challenges we face is that there is no one-size-fits-all particularly in regards to the symptoms and severity of symptoms people experience and their response to various therapies. Also, what works for one person may not work for the next. For example, a lot of people, including me, prefer a high fat diet, whereas many others do better with a vegetarian diet. As well, what any one person needs may not be the same as others. For example, I benefit enormously from chiropractic treatments, but not everyone needs to see a chiropractor. At least though, people could have easier access to information so they would know what is available in order to make a more informed decision.

As I said at the outset, it would have been extremely beneficial if I had received a booklet or direction to a website with all the pertinent information that would have helped me circumvent twelve years of research, experience and trial and error. In the meantime, hopefully the experience I’ve gained and the documents I’ve compiled are helpful to you.

May you be healthy and content!

Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #81 … Why I Sleep Well!

Sleep deprivation and sleep disorders are quite common for people experiencing the symptoms of PD. This can be caused by motor and non-motor factors. Tremoring, restless leg syndrome and discomfort are common motor causes, while anxiety and depression are common non-motor causes.

In general, I sleep well! Most nights I sleep seven to eight hours, and while I frequently wake up once a night to go to the bathroom … this has as much to do with aging as it does to do with PD … I usually fall right back to sleep.

There are a number of reasons why I sleep well:

  1. I believe I’m going to recover my health. This goes a long way to minimizing anxiety and eliminating depression.
  2. I exercise every day. It is a proven fact that daily exercise improves sleep. Exercise stimulates my circadian rythmn [my internal 24 hour clock], which helps to lessen anxiety. Exercise also triggers the release of adenosine which makes me feel tired. I usually include cardiovascular [walking/cycling], strength [weight-lifting], core [push-ups/sit-ups], stretches, balance and energy cultivation [qigong] exercises. Stretches help to minimize discomfort while sleeping.
  3. I have a daily regimen that I follow, plus I write, blog and create videos. I’m also learning to speak Estonian. This gives me a sense of purpose which helps to offset anxiety and eliminate depression.
  4. I take supplements at bedtime. I take cbd oil [1 ml of 1:20 thc:cbd], magnesium bisglycinate [300mg] and Natural Factors Stress Relax Serenity Formula [2 capsules … it contains ashwagandha].
  5. I limit my fluid intake for an hour before bedtime.
  6. I sleep without sheets or covers. I wear socks and a fleece top to bed.
  7. I express gratitude and appreciation for all the goodness in my life … and the goodness I want to attract into my life. Expressing gratitude helps to stimulate the release of serotonin [the happiness neurotransmitter].
  8. I also recently started exposing myself to morning sunlight. Dr Andrew Huberman recommends this as a way to stimulate our circadian rythmns so that our bodies will begin secreting melotonin [the sleep hormone] 16 hours later.

If you are having difficulty sleeping, give this program a try and see if it helps. It works great for me.

May you be healthy and content!

Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #80 … Merry Christmas!

On this lovely Christmas Eve 2020, wishing everyone a healthy and happy holiday season! Thank you so much for your support and well-wishes during this challenging year! Let us continue to move towards recovery, immersed in love, determination and contentment!

Here is Vickie Van Dyke’s wonderful interpretation of a Christmas song I wrote a few years ago!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #79 … Dissolve Stress and Stimulate Dopamine!

Lately I have been researching the work of Andrew Huberman, neuroscientist and professor at Stanford University. Huberman runs a neuroscience lab that is focused on reducing stress and improving sleep. [Something we all want … and when I say, ‘we all,’ I mean, the entire collective, not just those experiencing the symptoms of PD!]

In my last post, I provided a link to a very informative video where Huberman discussed how to stimulate the release of dopamine and serotonin, naturally. In this post, I am providing a link to another video where he discusses how to improve sleep and reduce stress, again, focusing on how to stimulate the release of dopamine. I am also providing a link to a third video where he discusses very simplistically the Alert-Calm continuum. The Alert-Calm continuum [Sympathetic/Parasympathetic nervous systems] was designed to keep us safe by alerting us to the presence of danger in order for us to take action and returning us to a calm state when the danger passed. Unfortunately, in our present world, most of us are in a continuous state of alert/stress.

With regards to dissolving stress naturally, Huberman suggests we focus on calming the nervous system using four techniques:

  1. Get morning sunlight in your eyes [don’t look directly into the sun] by looking eastward. This serves to wake us up, by stimulating the release of cortisol which wakes up the body and gets us moving. It also helps to stimulate our circadian clock so that our brain will begin releasing melotonin in approximately sixteen hours so that we can get a good nights sleep.
  2. Go into a panoramic vision state. That is, observe what you can see out of the corners of your eyes without looking directly at. This implements a calming response … it relaxes the nervous system, by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system.
  3. Implement the double breath technique: take a deep inhale through the nose, followed by a second inhale, then take a long slow exhale. This serves to expel carbon dioxide which helps to calm the nervous system.
  4. Exercise. Get moving. Go for a walk/run. Do some jumping jacks. Stress is meant to get us moving, and exercise helps to alleviate stress.

As for how to trigger release of dopamine, naturally, Huberman also suggests four techniques:

  1. Set small, short-term, easy-to-achieve meaningful goals
  2. Create a strong sense of reward when these goals are achieved. Get excited!
  3. Place your attention on helping others
  4. Focus on where you’re exceeding

Feelings of powerlessness and disappointment can suppress dopamine, so it is important to focus on doing things that give us a sense of empowerment and achievement!

For those of us experiencing the symtoms of PD, calming the nervous system in order to stimulate the release of dopamine and serotonin is our primary objective. One way to accomplishment is to make a daily practice of expressing gratitude and appreciation for the goodness we already have in our lives and for the good health we desire.

Another practice I find helpful is to recite a healing prayer:

I call upon Raphael, Michael, Gabriel and Uriel to assist me in giving over to the universal-energetic-intelligence all of the low-frequency vibrational energy trapped inside my energy field, particularly that related to the thoughts, beliefs and emotions that are not vibrating at the same frequency as my desire to recover my health and return my body to homeostasis, so that this energy can be transmuted into love, and I thank you for this healing!

I remain steadfast in my belief that the human brain is neuroplastic and that the human body can heal itself. I also remain steadfast in my belief that it is possible for me to recover my health and I am tremendously encouraged by what I have learned from Andrew Huberman.

I wish you good health and contentment!

Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #78 … My New Video Series – The Benefits of Hugging a Tree!

My latest video extolls the virtues of tree hugging! When I hug a tree, I feel great and my hands stop shaking! I hope you find it helpful!

May you be healthy and content!

Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #77 … Stimulating Dopamine and Serotonin Release Naturally!

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As a follow-up to my recent post on the wear-off rebound effect I experience as a result of the medication I take [Sinemet], as luck would have it, I discovered an interview with Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist and tenured professor at Stanford University in California that helped provide more clarity on this issue.

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