Step 1 in trying to re-train my brain was learning where the nerve impulses came from and went to when I moved. I decided to experiment by moving one limb at a time and then documenting what nerve impulses I felt. I lifted my left arm straight out to the side and then lowered it (4 repetitions), and I felt nerve impulses across the back of my head, both shoulders and in my right knee toward the outside. When I performed the same movement with my right arm, I felt impulses from my head to my toes only on the left side of my body. My conclusion was simple — I had a big task in front of me to change all of this.
In one of my Dr. Sha books, he provides a chanting of a number sequence that stimulates vibrations in the head and stimulates brain activity. I began chanting the sequence daily for 5 minutes at a time, 2 or 3 times per day. It has helped me focus on where the nerve impulses go when they leave my brain.
For 30-plus years, I have driven a car using my left hand. It occurred to me that driving with my right foot on the pedal and left hand on the steering wheel was not such a good idea; over time, one of them would freeze, just like walking and my arms not swinging; when I forcibly swing my arms, my walking becomes difficult and my legs begin to freeze. For driving, I began driving using my right hand. I had to put my left hand under my left leg to get out of the habit of left-handed driving. This has given me good results. After about a week, I noticed when sitting still at a red light that the only nerve vibrations I felt were on the right side of my body.
Also, Step 2 came as a realization that less is more. When I push myself to the limits of my mobility, I tire easily, freeze more, hunch over, and experience terrible balance issues. I made the decision to move slower than my Parkinson’s permits. The results have been very good. When I walk slower, do not try to forcibly swing my arms, and concentrate on my steps, I can stand straighter and with better balance. When I walk up the stairs, instead of going every other step where I had to use a lot of upper body strength to help pull me up the stairs, I now step up and then bring the other foot to the same step. The energy to do this is minimal compared to the workout I had been going through to get up the stairs, plus, my hand rests on the railing for balance; no upper body assistance is need to walk up the stairs.
The end result is that I am not worn out half way through the day. Less is more…by slowing down and focusing on my movements, I experience less balance problems, less hunching over, less pain, less rigidity, and I have more energy. I explained all of this to my doctor at my follow up visit on February 4, 2010. He said I showed slight improvement in mobility, balance and rigidity. That was very good news!
All my best,