In Post #8, I talked about ‘exercise walking’ and how bouncing a basketball or twirling a bostaff while I’m on my daily walk eliminates three PD symptoms (shuffle walking, clenching in my left hand and loss of control in my left leg), making my walks far more enjoyable! Yesterday, I read an article in Macleans magazine about how music is being used help people with PD overcome shuffle walking and ‘freezing.’ Freezing is the temporary, involuntary inability to move. Research, led by Bin Hu at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Canada, has shown that when people with PD listen to soothing music, they walk normally and don’t experience freezing. This is consistent with my exercise walking experience.
So what does this have to do with my discovery? Well, one of the PD symptoms that causes me the most trouble is balance, so after reading the Macleans article I had an idea to see if flipping a ball back and forth while standing still would make a difference … and it did! Normally I would be waving and staggering around a fair bit, but when I was flipping the ball my balance was fine. I have tested it several times since and I am pleased to report that the results are consistent.
This really is awesome!
Researchers believe that listening to soothing music causes the release of dopamine, thereby temporarily neutralizing PD symptoms. I don’t think the same holds true for ball flipping or bostaff twirling, but clearly something is going on, particularly given that when I’m performing a task, such as brushing my teeth or preparing food, I still have problems with balance.
I’m going to contact Mr Hu and tell him about my experience. In the meantime, give it a try and see if it works for you!
Have an awesomely balanced day!