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  • Shannon Cobb

1 Key Thing to Help Non-Motor Parkinson's Symptoms

We work with people all the time who are dealing with Parkinson's related anxiety. While it is a non-motor symptom, it does interfere with movement. When we are anxious, we move differently. So, finding ways to manage anxiety helps our clients move better.

We’ve all heard of meditation and mindfulness but what do you know about the science behind it? Meditation has proven helpful for people from all over the world and can be especially helpful for those living with Parkinson’s Disease due to its observable changes in the brain and one’s behavior. So what do we know about meditation?

We know that two common side effects of Parkinson’s Disease are anxiety and decreased attention or memory. But did you know that meditation has been shown to physically reduce the size of the part of your brain (the amygdala) responsible for that “fight or flight” anxiety producing response? Did you know that meditation has been shown to increase the gray matter in the brain which is the part of your brain containing neurons sending signals to communicate between different areas of the brain and the rest of your nervous system. Increases in gray brain matter specifically in the hippocampus (area of the brain that converts short term to long term memories) have been found in people with regular meditation practice for as little as four weeks. Other benefits include cardiovascular protection, improved sleep and decreased symptoms of depression.

So what is meditation and how can you start a meditation practice for yourself? Meditation is purposefully creating stillness in the mind. Although practiced in many different religions, meditation itself is not a religion or religious practice but a mental exercise. There are a variety of techniques and even phone apps to try meditation. You can even try it now:

3 Minute Meditation:

  • Find a comfortable seat

  • Set a timer for 3 minutes

  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing

  • When you realize your mind has wandered off thinking about what’s for lunch…simply think “breathe” and bring your attention back on breathing

  • Continue until your timer ends

You can also experience a brief introduction to meditation at Dedicated Therapy during Wednesday afternoon gentle yoga.

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