Fighting Parkinson’s, and fighting fatigue

Here we are with another very hot summer for many people around the world. The extreme heat not only has caused people’s symptoms to increase, but also, it has increased people’s fatigue. Let’s fight the fatigue and not worry about the increased symptoms.

Two main things you can do for fatigue are deep breathing and healing the spleen energy to raise you metabolism and your energy.

Deep Breathing.

I started with the basics. Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat. Here is a method to assist with bringing in the most amount of oxygen possible. Lay on the floor on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. This should have lowered the small of your back to the floor. Place one hand on your chest and one on your navel. Inhale slowly and see which hand rises. If it is your navel hand, you are breathing into your diaphragm and you are in good shape for deep breathing exercises. If it is your chest hand, you need to practice. When I first learned diaphragm breathing, I would push out my stomach prior to the inhale and try to direct the airflow down to my expanded stomach. With Parkinson’s, rigidity will fight this, so be patient.

Once you have mastered diaphragm breathing, or deep belly breathing as some call it, try this:

  1. Inhale deeply for a count of 4.
  2. Hold your breath for a count of 4.
  3. Exhale for a count of 4.
  4. Hold your breath for a count of 4.
    If you can do this set of breathing four times in a row, it should go a long way to helping with the breathing issues you are facing with Parkinson’s.

If you are having a difficult time inhaling a large breath, in “Not Always So,” Shunryu Suzuki suggests starting with an exhale…he says to exhale like it is your last breath before you die. Keep pushing out air until your body forces an inhale. This method will certainly force your system to comply. Another way he discusses breathing and exhaling first is in how you view the process. He says, first exhale to blow out all of the toxins and impurities, then you are ready to receive a breath of the world’s nourishment. Instead of “taking” a breath of air, you are “receiving” Mother Nature’s nourishment. I like these ideas and practice them, but the key is to breathe deeply and exhale fully.

Increasing Spleen Energy.

Fatigue is often the result of low spleen energy. Here is acupressure and Qigong to raise your spleen energy and fight your fatigue.
There is a part on the leg where the Liver, Kidney and Spleen meridians all cross each other, and a blockage there could relate to issues of digestion as well as tremors because it has the potential of three meridians being blocked at the same spot…lots of shaking could occur. It is known as Spleen 6. Click here for the Spleen meridian. Do acupressure on Spleen 1-11, starting at the outside of the big toe at the nail edge and finishing at Spleen 11 on the inside of your thigh. You can press a little harder on these points because they are not on the spine, such as with the Governing Vessel Acupressure. The idea is to press on the point with the tip of a finger or 2 and then massage in a circular motion for about 20 seconds per point. Do this once per day.

Stand with knees slightly bent.
Raise your right arm straight up and bend your wrist back so your palm is facing the ceiling.
With your left arm still by your side, bend your left wrist back so your palm is facing the floor.
On the exhale, straighten your knees and stretch your right palm toward the ceiling while stretching your left palm toward the floor.
Do this ten times.
Then switch your arms the other way and do 10 more.
Do this in the morning.
(If you are fatigued in the middle of a meal or shortly thereafter, do this 15 minutes prior to each meal).

Not worrying about increased symptoms in the extremely hot weather.

As discussed above, in the Northern Hemisphere, the record hot weather has caused fatigue. The difficulty with staying hydrated has caused increases in tremors and slowness. Your body is using extra energy to stay mobile. However, your Parkinson’s body was low on energy to begin with, so when your body is needing more energy to stay mobile, you will suffer with increased symptoms.

This does not equate to you getting worse with Parkinson’s. It equates to a shifting in energy for comfort and survival. Your body needs a certain amount of water to stay hydrated and to use perspiration to regulate body temperature, and it is prioritizing its energy. That’s it!

Please know that you are not only impacted by weather, but also that the Parkinson’s body is moving very slowly inside. As a result, recuperating from the effects of extreme weather takes time, so do not be afraid.

When I had Parkinson’s, here is an example of how I realized how slowly my body was moving inside. One evening, Sally and I had roasted beets with our dinner. The next morning, Sally reminded me that beets will bring a reddish color into urine and bowels, so not to be afraid if I saw red in my urine or bowels.

It was three and four days later that there was a reddish color in my urine and bowels. After my full recovery, the reddish color from the beets appeared the next day.

I offer this story so you can understand that heat has built up inside of you and exacerbated your symptoms. By the time your symptoms appeared worse, the heat already had taken hold of you inside, but it took a number of days to appear as worse-looking symptoms. Drinking plenty of water and eating cooling foods (you can go on Google and look up cooling foods) will start the process of cooling you down.

Since you already are behind the heat, and your body is moving slowly inside, it will take some time to catch up to the heat.

As you have been struggling, it is important to know that your best is good enough. Not only do you need to know this, but you need to know that each day “your best” will be different than the day before. Don’t judge or criticize yourself…just do your best. And, let your faith defeat your fear.

Click here for a refresher that your best is good enough.

Click here for a refresher on faith over fear.

Be strong. We will get through these extreme temperatures and the fatigue together! You can do this!!

You are worth it!!!

All my best,


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6 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and fighting fatigue

  1. Melanie S says:

    Very timely advice, thank you Howard. Although my mind and spirit are in a much better place, my body feels very weak.
    Hope you’re all doing well friends.

  2. Tery and Werni says:

    Dear Howard
    Outstanding your steady and helpful support! Your time-consuming blog is really helpful, thank you very much!!!

  3. Sharon says:

    Dear Howard,
    Thank you so much for your continuing help. You work so hard helping all of us!

    With gratitude,
    Sharon in North Carolina

  4. Chris Meyer says:

    Hey everybody –

    I’ve experienced some heat related fatigue myself, so this blog is timely for me too!

    I’d like to augment Howard’s wonderful suggestions with one of my own.

    Background note: I’ve got about an hour bike commute to work each day. A few years ago as my PD was coming on, l started dozing off over my handle bars by the end of the homeward trek. So one day the local traffic authority decided to put a traffic light in the middle of my bike path. If you are imagining something bad happening, you’re right – ouch!

    Recommendation: So I upgraded my bike to a trike recumbent with e-assist. This keeps me sitting upright with an excellent field of vision; comfortable lumbar support for my back; and the e-assist takes the wind out of my face and levels the hills. Great source of aerobic exercise.

    Just make sure to use shoes that snap to the pedal: if your foot falls off a pedal at 15-20 mph and hits the ground, it will get sucked under the trike and you’ll run over yourself. I’ve done this – unpleasant! Don’t worry about the snaps being awkward to use because once they are snapped into place you never have to put your feet down – just pedal and break.

    I swear, once I’m in mid-biking season, triking across the countryside, greeting the birdies and the bunnies – I actually forget all about the Parkinson’s.

    Warmest summer greetings to everyone,

    Chris in Wisconsin

  5. David Cooper says:

    Thankyou Howard for unending patience and understanding.
    and thankyou for the timely reminder about ACCEPTANCE AND SURRENDER when I FREEZE UP.
    After our session this morning I just sat in the sun and gave thanks and gratitude fo God for all he wonderful blessings I have in my life.

  6. June says:

    Thank you very much Howard for the timely advice! You always caught the issue on time when I got it! From the past few days, I start feeling more fatigue, and start to worry that my disease is getting worse, I never think about that is related to the weather. I even didn’t have energy to look my E-mail and lost interest in other social media apps. Today, I thought that may be Howard has some thing new post, then, Yes! After read your post, I felt so relieved. I took a full cup of water at first, and will following with the exercise as you advised.

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