My goal with this entry is to cover in detail what I did to recover. Please note: I did not take any medications, nor did I take herbal supplements, herbal formulas, or Ayurvedic formulas. My recovery was predicated on a combination of soul, mind and body healing. As you know, I am not a doctor, and I do not recommend that you do anything that I did to recover without first receiving approval from your doctor(s), and from your religious and spiritual advisors. That being said, I am going to begin with my philosophy of Parkinson’s Disease so you can understand why I feel I got it and how I approached getting rid of it. Without this background, much of what I did will make no sense to you.
For about a decade prior to getting Parkinson’s, I had been studying Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and other forms of holistic healing. I concluded that there are underlying factors (genetics, heavy metals, environmental toxins, etc.) that make a person susceptible to getting Parkinson’s. However, the three main causes that bring Parkinson’s to the surface as diagnosable symptoms are:
1. Qi and Blood Deficiency, which is caused by emotional stress, anger, frustration, and resentment.
2. Phlegm-Fire Agitating Wind, which is caused by dietary considerations such as consumption of too much greasy, fried or sweet foods.
3. Kidney and Liver Wind Deficiency, which is caused by overwork and insufficient rest which unbalances the body’s natural rhythm.
As you can see, in order to believe that these are the causes of diagnosable Parkinson’s, to an extent, I had to take personal responsibility for having the disease, which leads to taking personal responsibility for recovering from the disease. Yes, there are other factors…my Mother had Parkinson’s for 24 years before she died, I was exposed to numerous environmental factors as were most of us who grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and I ate a tuna fish sandwich for lunch at school every day from grade 1 through 12 (mid-60’s-1979, so I would have to say I have ingested more mercury than most)…these are the things that made me more prone to the disease, but it was the three above-listed factors that allowed the disease to grow inside me for a long time until it reared its ugly head in September of 2009.
A probable advantage I had in my recovery is the undying knowledge that I would get better from this disease. My wife, Sally, knew it, too. We had years of successfully using TCM and other holistic healing for ourselves and our children, so we knew in our hearts or hearts and soul of souls that the body can heal itself.
Here is an example so maybe you can understand better about the body healing itself:
You are 10 years old and you fall and break your arm. Your mother takes you to the doctor. The doctor says, “No problem. I am going to set your arm in place, put a cast on it, and when you come back here for your next visit, I am going to remove the cast and your arm will be better, 100% as good as new.”
Now let’s look at what happens in the healing process:
1. You have faith in the doctor (soul).
2. Because you have faith in the doctor, you do not worry that your arm is not going to heal (mind).
3. As a result of 1 and 2, you do not obsess about your arm, and then, your body heals your arm (body).
Applying this to my Parkinson’s recovery:
1. I had complete faith I would recover (soul).
2. I never, not for one moment, worried that I would not recover (mind).
3. I listened to my body’s signals and messages, and I exercised and ate properly (body).
Okay, I know, I also prayed and meditated, and I was quite miserable for a number of months before I recovered, but I was trying to give a simple example to make a point on a complex topic. Sally and I discussed that someday there was the possibility of having to use a walker or of being in a wheelchair or of being paralyzed. The key point here is that I did not worry about those things because I knew I would recover. Instead of being afraid of them, I accepted that they might be things I would have to experience in order to recover.
The issue of not taking medications is a difficult issue to address. I fought Parkinson’s without medications. Here is my opinion: Parkinson’s is an electrical problem. It is not a chemical imbalance. If it was a chemical imbalance, then chemicals would get it back into balance, and life would be wonderful. However, that is not the case…Parkinson’s is defined loosely as a progressively degenerative disease. The medications help with the symptoms, but they do not help with recovery. It is not believed that one can recover. Therefore, since Parkinson’s is known as “incurable,” why would I take the medications that have been taken for 200 years that have not cured the disease. It made no sense to me. My opinion is that a chemical solution does not work because Parkinson’s is an electrical problem.
At my initial neurologist’s visit where I received my Parkinson’s diagnosis, I learned critical information from the physical tests he gave me. As is typical with Parkinson’s sufferers, the left side of the body and right side of the body do not work in conjunction. As an example, while sitting on the examination table, he had me hold my left arm straight out in front of me and he had me tap my right thigh with my right hand. After a short while of tapping, my left arm became very rigid and then it got a mind all of its own — it started shaking and moving about uncontrollably. Same thing happened when reversing the hands, but not as bad.
I learned from this, and other tests, that with only a small percentage of my motor skill nerve impulses working anymore, having the right side of my brain operate the left side of my body and the left side of my brain operate the right side of my body was a formula that spelled disaster. Ultimately, I decided I needed to retrain my brain for conserving neural impulse energy and for streamlining movement — essentially, the right brain moving the right side of my body, and the same with the left side.
I do not believe that the dopamine is depleted or gone. I believe that the body has been working in adrenaline mode and dopamine has taken a back seat, essentially, it has mostly closed the faucet and is not flowing at full capacity. It is why I believe the medications cause Dyskinesia – the body is being given artificial dopamine replacements that are not able to fully assimilate into the system and thus cause uncontrollable movement as opposed to controlled movement.
By listening to my body, talking to my body and examining my electrical impulses, I was able to re-open the dopamine faucet. The result was full recovery with 100% pre-Parkinson’s controlled movement.
With this background and philosophy, here is the recipe for my recovery.
Ingredients (Discussed in detail below list):
Exercise: Medical Qigong for the Liver. (15 minutes in morning and 15 minutes in evening)
Exercise: Medical Qigong for the Kidneys. (10 minutes in morning and 10 minutes in evening)
Exercise: Qigong for clearing liver wind. (5 minutes in the morning)
Exercise: Neck exercises. (5 minutes in the morning)
Exercise: Standing and balance. (5 minutes in the morning)
Exercise: Awareness of neural (electrical) impulses. (15 minutes in the morning).
Exercise: Near hand-far hand exercise for kidney and brain. (10 minutes in the afternoon).
Acupressure for tremors: Governing Vessel, GV2-20. (5 minutes in the evening)
Jin Shin Jyutsu for balancing energy flows. (12 minutes in the morning)
Brain Vibration Chanting. (5 minutes each of morning, afternoon and evening).
Sitting zazen. (10 minutes in the morning)
Yin Tui Na (Forceless Spontaneous Release). (30 minutes in the evening for 1 week)
Mediations, affirmations, prayers. (Varied throughout the day)
Note: It is rare that you will see the words Parkinson’s disease in any of the ingredients. I worked on the organs I felt were impacted by the disease and I used the modalities that I felt would work on the parts of the body impacted by the disease. Other than the Acupressure for GV2-20 and the Yin Tua Na, nobody in the past had advocated any of the other things I did as being something to do for Parkinson’s specifically.
Medical Qigong for the liver.
1. Hold hands in front of your navel like holding a small ball.
2. Slowly raise hands to slightly above eye level.
3. Lower each hand to chest at lowest level of ribs directly in line straight down from nipples.
4. While pressing palms against ribs, rotate hands six times in one direction and then six times in the other direction. Leaving palms where they are, alternate bending toward the sides four times to each side.
5. Lower palms to lowest point on ribs on each side of the body directly in line straight down from arm pits.
6. While pressing palms against ribs, rotate hands six times in one direction and then six times in the other direction. Overlap hands against your body just below the bellybutton, alternate bending forward the and backwards four times each.
7. Put hands on knees, trace bone down front of leg, when reaching ankle, lift hands and point fingers at toes. Straighten back up.
Repeat 1. through 7. sequence ten times. It may take a while to be able to work up to ten. The idea is to go slow and easy and stop before over-doing it. Your body will tell you when to stop, and eventually you will achieve ten repetitions (I was able to do 4 repetitions when I started and it took a couple of weeks to work my way up to 10).
Medical Qigong Sound for Calming the Liver.
1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and eyes closed.
2. Place hands overlapping over the Dantian.
3. On the inhale, visualize energy rising up the liver meridian (begin at inside of big toe, come across foot and go above the inside ankle bone, up the inside of the leg to the groin, across to the outside of the ribs).
4. On the exhale, open your eyes and as you are pulling in your abdomen, squeeze your anus and let out the Xu sound (it is pronounced Shuuu Yiii).
5. Repeat for a total of 6 inhalations and 6 exhalations.
Medical Qigong for the kidneys.
1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Place hands overlapping over the Dantian.
3. Take a deep inhale.
4. On the exhale, squeeze your anus and visualize that you are pumping energy from the kidneys to the brain.
5. Repeat for a total of 20 inhalations and 20 exhalations.
1. Sit in a chair and slide toward the front, back straight and feet flat on the ground.
2. Put your palms lightly on your thighs or knees.
3. Inhale and visualize your inhale filling your Dantian.
4. Exhale and squeeze your anus while visualizing the energy going from your Dantian to your coccyx to your Mingmen (approximately your 4th vertebrae). Once it reaches the Mingmen, bring it around your waist on both sides to your navel).
5. Repeat for a total of 10 inhalations and 10 exhalations.
Medical Qigong Sound for Kidney Health.
1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Bring the backs of your hands across the kidneys and around to the front so that the backs of your hands are facing each other in front of your navel.
3. Raise your arms up in this position until the backs of your hand reach chin level.
4. Rotate you elbows down so your palms are facing each other like holding a small ball in front of your chin.
5. Exhale and squat down while saying Chui. (it is pronounced chew).
6. Stand back up out of the squatting position.
7. Repeat for a total of 6 inhalations and 6 exhalations.
Qigong for clearing liver wind.
This is a sitting form of QiGong exercise It is for strengthening the liver and clearing internal pathogenic Liver Wind.
1. Sit upright with legs crossed. (For those of you who cannot sit cross-legged on the floor, this can be accomplished sitting in a chair. Sit forward in a chair with your back straight and feet on the floor pointing forward, and then perform the other parts of this exercise).
2. Your palms should be face toward your Dantian (below your navel) and your hands should be placed so your fingers are loosely interlocked only as far as the first knuckle.
3. Twist your body to the left and to the right 15 times in each direction.
4. Fully interlock your fingers and turn you hands facing away so you are looking at the backs of your hands and interlocked fingers.
5. Push your hands out and up (to just above eye level) 8 times.
6. Chomp your teeth together and then swallow your saliva.
7. Meditate quietly.
Turning head to sides.
1. Sit up straight and slowly turn your head to the right.
2. Slowly turn your head so you are facing forward again.
3. Slowly turn your head to the left.
4. Slowly turn your head so you are facing forward again.
Repeat this 10 times to each side.
Tilting head forward and back.
1. Slowly tilt your head forward with your chin moving down toward your chest.
2. Slowly bring your head up so you are facing forward again.
3. Slowly tilt your head back.
4. Slowly bring your head up so you are facing forward again.
Repeat this 10 times forward and 10 times back.
Tilting head to sides.
1. Slowly tilt your head to the right side as if you were trying to place your right ear on your right shoulder.
2. Slowly bring your head back so you are facing forward again.
3. Slowly tilt your head to the left side as if you were trying to place your left ear on your left shoulder.
4. Slowly bring your head back so you are facing forward again.
Repeat this 10 times to each side.
If your neck is so stiff that you cannot perform any of these movements, use your hands to assist your head and your neck in doing the exercises, but only do the movements slightly so you do not strain your already stiff neck. After you have been doing this with the assistance of your hands for a number of days, the tightness should loosen up a little, and you should try again without using your hands.
Standing and Balance.
Here is a Qigong exercise I did called “standing.” That’s all you do…stand. It is a very powerful exercise because it opens channels, lubricates joints and gets balance back where it should be. As a result of being unable to stand straight without falling over backwards, I modified my standing as follows:
1. Put your back against a wall where you can be looking at a clock.
2. Feet should be shoulder width apart and pointing forward.
3. Bend your knees a little as if squatting to sit on the edge of a stool; squeeze anus once and release.
4. Hold arms in front of body as if holding a beach ball against your chest, with hands at eye level and palms facing your abdomen.
5. Your shoulders and elbows should be relaxed.
6. Your mouth should be closed, teeth closed but not clenched, and tip of your tongue resting against the roof of your mouth directly behind your middle two top teeth.
7. Inhale deeply through your nose into your diaphragm.
8. Exhale fully through your nose.
9. If possible, stand for two minutes. Gradually see if you can stand for five minutes.
Awareness of neural (electrical) impulses and brain vibration chanting
I did the brain vibration chanting to increase the energy in my brain. I did a slow moving exercises to learn where the impulses were going, and then I combined them and visualized the streamlined impulses so each side of the brain eventually was retrained to control the same side of the body rather than the opposite side.
Brain Vibration Chanting
Sit up straight and repeat the following chant as fast as possible for five minutes:
ling yow chee chee chee – joe ling bah
ling yow chee chee chee – joe ar ar sih sih
NOTE: sih sounds like sit without the “t”
(You should begin to feel a vibration in your head).
Awareness of neural (electrical) impulses
a. While standing still, slowly lift your right arm up to your side and then lower it; do this four times. Close your eyes and see if you can feel the impulses. Write down where you feel them; i.e., right side of neck, left knee….
b. Repeat entire a. exercise with your left arm.
c. While holding onto a countertop or something else for balance, slowly lift your right knee (as if marching) and then lower your foot to the floor; do this four times. Close your eyes and see if you can feel the impulses. Write down where you feel them.
d. Repeat entire c. sequence with your left knee.
NOTE: The next time you perform Brain Vibration Chanting, as you feel your brain vibrating, visualize the energy (electrical impulses) from the right side of your brain going down the right side of your body all the way to your right foot. Once you can visualize a smooth flow, then do the same thing for the left side of your brain vibrating all the way down the left side of your body to your left foot. Over time, when I performed the Awareness exercise above, I felt impulses only on the side of the body where I was moving an individual limb. This took time, so be patient.
Near hand-far hand exercise for kidney and brain.
1. Place both of you hand behind you with your palms facing toward the Snow Mountain area.
2. Say, “dear soul, mind and body of my Snow Mountain area, I love you, you have the power to boost the energy going to my brain, you have the power to heal me. Do a good job. Thank you.”
3. Chant jiu, which is pronounced joe, for 5 minutes while visualizing snow melting at the top of your Snow Mountain area bringing energy to your brain.
1. Place on hand with your palm facing your kidney and the other hand overhead with your palm facing the top of your head.
2. Say, “dear soul, mind and body of my brain, I love you, you have the power to heal yourself, you have the power to heal me. Do a good job. Thank you.”
3. Chant jiu-yi, pronounced joe-ee, for 5 minutes while visualizing bright energy flowing from your kidneys to your brain. (do not do this part if you have high blood pressure, a brain tumor or brain cancer).
Acupressure for tremors: Governing Vessel, GV2-20.
For those of you unfamiliar with the GV Meridian, the recommended acupressure begins at the coccyx and goes up the spine all the way to the midpoint at the top of the head. The GV Meridian is longer than that section, but that section (GV2-GV20) was recommended for Parkinson’s.
Tremors were terrible as I would lay in bed trying to fall asleep at night. Every night, Sally performed this acupressure on me and it was a most incredible thing. As she was performing the acupressure, I felt electrical charges from my spine go down my legs to my feet and toes, and I felt electrical charges move across my back, arms, neck and head. The tremors would cease to exist, momentarily, and I would go to sleep within a minute or two. Most mornings, I would awake in the same position I was laying when I fell asleep. I slept soundly, and except for the occasional night when I woke up needing to use the bathroom, I slept through the night with no problems.
Jin Shin Jyutsu for balancing energy flows. Jumper cabling is lightly holding a finger with the curled fingers of the other hand. Jumper cable palms and fingers in the follow sequence to open channels:
a. Palm to Palm with fingers extended as if in prayer.
b. Jumper cable thumb.
c. Jumper cable ring finger.
d. Jumper cable middle finger.
e. Jumper cable index finger.
f. Jumper cable pinky.
Jumper cable a. – f. for 2 minutes each.
Sitting zazen.Sitting is zazen generally is performed while sitting on cushions on the floor in lotus position, half-lotus position, or cross-legged. When I had Parkinson’s, I sat in a chair and started at 10 minutes. Post Parkinson’s, I gradually worked my way up to 30 minutes do it sitting cross-legged on a cushion on the floor.
1. Exhale and then inhale. That is 1.
2. Continue exhaling and inhaling counting 1 to 10.
3. When you get to 10, start at 1 again.
4. Continue this exhale-inhale, counting 1-10 and starting again at 1, for the entire time you are sitting zazen.
Vegetarian diet. I have maintained a vegetarian diet as I feel healthier. Below is a reprint of my blog entry on why I started a vegetarian diet.
“I am on a vegetarian diet by necessity, not choice. Except for occasional eggs and some butter, it is a vegan diet. This decision has been quite a process to organize and figure out, but Sally has been magnificent in preparing exceptional vegetarian meals.
One of the symptoms of Parkinson’s is constipation. In my view, constipation is a four-letter word. I learned the hard way that animal protein stays in my system too long and I had to give it up. It then took a couple of months of healthy eating and high fiber to get this issue under control.
I am eating whole grains, brown rice, lots of fruits and vegetables, all kinds of beans, barley, chick peas and lentils, and this is a diet that agrees with me and my condition 100%. Sally’s friend Mary gave Sally an Indian cookbook years ago and Sally has been preparing many Indian dishes that are delicious.
Recently, we discovered a vegetarian cookbook by Madhur Jaffrey, the author of the Indian cookbook, and it has 650 vegetarian recipes from various countries around the world. It has opened my eyes to all of the possibilities of a healthy vegetarian diet. Also, many of the meals have a mix of flavors in the spices; sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and tangy, and these various flavors help different organs for better digestion.
Fiber is now more important than ever, and I discovered Fiber One cereal, the original one with 14 grams of fiber in 1/2 cup. To maintain my weight, that is, not lose any more than the 35 pounds already lost, I have to eat three main meals and two mini-meals in-between a day. Fiber One with a banana and soy milk is my morning mini-meal. It is tasty enough and it helps in keeping my large intestine functioning properly.”
Yin Tui Na (Forceless Spontaneous Release). FSR is a special way of holding the Parkinson’s patient’s foot to heal the stomach meridian. I studied this until I understood what was to be accomplished, and then my wife, Sally, and I worked on this together because I needed somebody to hold my foot.
Essentially, I laid down with my legs straight and toes pointing toward the ceiling. Sally held my right foot with one hand across the top and one hand across the bottom, lightly holding my foot between her hands. Neither of us concentrated on Qi flow or me getting better. I silently performed the meditations and gratitude affirmations previously discussed in my blog entries, and Sally performed her own silent meditations.
Meditations, Affirmations, Prayers. I discuss Parkinson’s recovery as a soul, mind, and body healing. The Parkinson’s body is not hard to define: symptoms ranging from tremors to rigidity to slowness, etc. The Parkinson’s mind is not hard to define: emotions ranging from fear to worry to anger to frustration to anxiety, etc. The Parkinson’s soul is not not hard to define: feelings ranging from despair to hopelessness to loss of faith. So, how do we overcome these Parkinson’s obstacles? First, heal the soul…and the mind and the body will follow!
How do we heal our soul? Faith. Faith is knowing you will recovery from Parkinson’s. And with this faith of knowing your will recover from Parkinson’s, you take action to heal your body and heal your mind. Faith in your recovery is where you start, and it is something you need to keep close to you during the hardest days on your journey toward recovery.
I view prayer more as praise and gratitude. I have spent years waking up early and using the quiet time for spiritual growth. I give praise and gratitude to God and do not ask for anything. Many people with whom I have spoken over the years view prayer as that time in life when they sit down and ask God for whatever it is they need at that time. My beliefs are faith based, I give praise and gratitude with an unshakable faith that if I proceed through life that way, then I can accept what happens because it is supposed to happen even if I cannot quite understand it at the time. And then I do my best to take responsibility for what comes next based upon what has occurred.
Parkinson’s shakes one’s foundation, and it is faith that got me through. Every day that I did my exercises and energy work and chanting and acupressure, it was with the faith that I would get better some time in the future. This faith was very important because it kept me on the path to healing my physical body and organs from deep within even though I rarely noticed much physical progress.
Fear and negative thoughts are a constant battle with the disease. Although I had a very positive attitude that some day I would recover, fighting the disease mentally and spiritual was a daily war. I learned that God was in a much better position to handle my fears and negative thoughts and that I needed to give them away so I could stay focused on my recovery.
I meditated on this and adopted the following prayer for when I felt negative thoughts or fears coming into the forefront of my thoughts: ”Dear God, I have this fear and I do not have time for it to bring me down. I need to stay focused on positive thoughts. You are in a much better position than me to deal with negative thoughts and fears, so I am giving you this negative thought and fear and thank you for taking care of it for me.” The first day I did this, it must have been 100 times I repeated this phrase. After four or five days, the negative thoughts and fears diminished, and then they went away.
I tell you often to repeat, “I have the power to heal myself.” Part of this is the understanding that “myself” is not an island unattached to God and nature and humanity. It takes a firmly rooted core of faith to do the same process every day for months and see little or no improvement of the disease. But the body needs to be healing so the prayers and meditations and affirmations become one with the body…soul, mind, body healing.
The medical profession says that with Parkinson’s, dopamine is depleted in one’s brain and the basal ganglia controlling movement are 60-80% dead. Having lived in a Parkinson’s body and thought with a Parkinson’s mind, and held my firm faith with a Parkinson’s soul, I can tell you they are incorrect. It is why after nearly 200 years, they are no closer to a cure than when they started. Parkinson’s is an electrical problem and they are trying to fix it with chemicals. The dopamine is there, but the flow is interrupted. Adrenaline has taken over, which ultimately leads to dopamine taking a back seat. Just like anything else, after years of operating in adrenaline mode, the dopamine just turns off the faucet. I tell you this because prayer opens it up.
Adrenaline Mode. You are walking through the jungle and a lion jumps out and starts chasing you. When your survival mode Adrenaline kicks in and you start running, other things are required of your body. Your stomach gets the message from the brain that says, “eating is of minor importance right now so do not send me hunger pangs.” The bladder and the large intestine get the message from the brain that says, “no time to evacuate, so I need you to shut down temporarily.” The body gets the message from the brain that says, “you are being pushed to your physical limits, but I do not want to hear about your pain — shut it off.” The heart gets the message from the brain that says, “no time for joyful emotions, so do not release Dopamine, just store it for later.” When the lion stops chasing you, the mind keeps running from the fear.
Prayer may not be the correct word, but I believe you will understand with this explanation. Here is what I did to slow down my Adrenaline and open up my Dopamine. I would pray/meditate like this: “Hello Adrenaline. Thank you for all of the years you have run my body. Without you in charge, I would not have survived. However, all of life’s stresses that required you do be in charge are gone, and you can take a break and you do not need to run my whole body anymore. Hello Dopamine. It has been a long time. Thank you for all of those years you stayed closed and allowed Adrenaline to run my body. I appreciate that you understood it was for survival. Now that those stresses are gone, I need you to flow again. The thing is, I do not know how much Adrenaline needs to shut down and how much Dopamine needs to flow to achieve the correct mix. The two of you need to figure this out with God, and I am going to meditate on something else so I do not get in the way.”
Within a couple of weeks, my symptoms started melting away. I could feel Dopamine coming out of my brain like a fountain spraying. Near the end, I added the following one night before going to bed: ”Dear God, I surrender my ego to you. I surrender my attachment to my Parkinson’s Disease to you. I am not afraid anymore. I no longer fear Parkinson’s. I no longer fear the scorn I may face by being cured from a disease the experts say there is no cure. I no longer fear the people who may say I was misdiagnosed or that I faked having the disease. I am surrendering my ego to you, that part of me that felt I needed to remain attached to Parkinson’s because the experts say once you have Parkinson’s you always have Parkinson’s. I am forgetting about my old self (Parkinson’s) and stepping into my new self (No Parkinson’s).” I awoke the following morning with my remaining symptoms gone.
I am hopeful that my Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery will be a recipe that will help others. Also, I believe that reading the blog in its entirety will provide additional insight as to my recovery and why I did certain things. I am very interested in feedback, comments and questions. My goal is that your feedback, comments and questions will provide information for future blog entries. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I promise I will not use your name if I answer your questions in a blog post. Some of my blog entries in the past have been based on questions I have received or comments people have made, and in responding with a blog post, I have kept people’s private information private. The only time I have used a name is if the person posted a public comment that already identified them publicly by name.
All my best,