WPC Day 2

Well, I made it on time this morning and headed straight for a session called Synchronizing Breath & Movement for Body Alignment and Posture Integrity, a long name for what it calls in parentheses (IMG_0001.JPGChair Yoga).  I did not expect much after seeing “Chair Yoga” and was pleasantly surprised.  We learned a lot of breathing techniques, including one called “Box Breathing” which the yoga instructor, Aminta Romero St. Onge, said is great for helping with sleep problems.  I will try it and let you know if it works.  And we did some yoga too.  It was a well spent hour.

The morning plenary was was titled Genes and Mechanisms of Sporadic PD.  I missed the beginning, so I have no idea what Sporadic PD is.  Beate Ritz, of UCLA spoke about the effects of pesticides on Central Valley farmworkers (in California) and the increased risk for PD among this population.  Alice Lazzarini told about her transformation from PD researcher to PD patient, an ironic situation that is more common than one would think.  I know of several others.  Finally, Jason Karlawish talked about what you can do with the information that you get from genetic testing for PD, and for other diseases.  He raised many difficult questions about what to do with the knowledge that we will suffer from PD, dementia, Alzheimer’s or other degenerative diseases.  What are our options?  What are our responsibilites to ourselves and our families.

After the session ended, I proceeded to check out the many posters displayed in the exhibit hall.  I needed something more uplifting after that last talk.  There are hundreds of posters on display about research projects from around the world, foundations for PD, exercise programs, nutrition.  It was amazing.  Some of the pimg_0006eople were there to talk about their posters and explain what they are doing.  I have never seen anything like this before.  They actually have tours of the posters that you can sign up for.  Each tour has a different theme.  I did not sign up for a tour, but wandered through, talking to people about their work.   Here is the poster from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation about the Women and PD Initiative that I participated in last September.  It describes the program and its goals, and the outcome one year later.  I am proud to say that I am represented in 2 sections of the pie chart, both in Media and Repeating events.

In the afternoon, I  bailed out on Sleep Difficulties and headed to Becky Farley’s PWR! Nexus program.  Becky is fabulous!  The room was packed with people eager to move after sitting all day.  And move we did.  Sitting, standing, getting on the floor.  Everyone had a great time.  Here is a 5 second short video of one of the moves.

I went to one last session on Speech and Swallowing and then back to the posters to see several friends do their presentations.  More on both tomorrow.

Borrowing from other Diseases

“Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still.”
Chinese Proverb

The other day I ran into a friend who has MS.    She too, has been told to exercise to improve her boxing-glovessymptoms.  She goes to regular, not adaptive, yoga classes and swims.  We talked about the boxing for PD classes that I attend and the benefits of this type of exercise.  During the course of  our conversation, we both were curious to find out if classes designed for people with Parkinson’s would be beneficial for people with other neurological diseases.  So . . . .

A brief internet search found several articles about exercise for both diseases.  The goals of exercise for both PD and MS is to increase mobility, improve muscle tone, balance, reflexes and core strength.  In many cases, the same exercises were recommended for both conditions, whether it is Pilates, strength training, yoga or swimming.

For those of you who are teaching exercise classes for PD or MS, do you have any insights or suggestions for people seeking a trainer or class?  Have you had MS patients attend your yoga, boxing or dance for PD classes with any success?  Or, are the needs so different in these two populations, making it difficult to have them in the same classes?

Please share what you’ve learned.

Invertigo Dance Theater