Medical science has not yet found any cure for managing Parkinson’s disease but few medications and vaccines have been discovered by scientists that can control Parkinson’s symptoms like tremors, poor body coordination, rigidness, loss of automatic movements, walking difficulties, stress and depression. These medicines are good for managing Parkinson’s symptoms for some time but they have many side effects on an individual’s health in the long run. Rather than relying on medications, we have seen a huge population of Parkinson’s sufferers relying on Rock Steady Boxing therapy for managing Parkinson’s symptoms. Rock Steady boxing is a revolutionary program that was invented ten years ago in Indianapolis, Indiana to empower people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. This program has gained much popularity within few years. It has helped over 1 million people with Parkinson’s living in USA. Up till now more than 100 Rock Steady Boxing affiliated schools have opened in 32 states of USA and more are being added to it.
We wanted to find out the reason why Rock Steady Boxing has gained so much popularity within a few years. Why a big population of people is ready to give up on medications and relying on Rock Steady boxing therapy for treating their Parkinson’s? To find out the answers we visited one of the Rock Steady Boxing centers located at Overland Park, Kansas City. We went there and observed the kind of therapy they give to their patients and how their therapy works in improving the condition of the patients. We also talked to Parkinson’s sufferers who go to Rock Steady Boxing Classes regularly to fight against Parkinson’s disease.
What they teach to Parkinson’s sufferers
While talking to Mr. Rocky Helton who is the boxing coach over there for more than five years we found that to start with Parkinson’s sufferers are taught the fundamentals of boxing: one-two punches and two-three-four punches to improve their memorization and physical activities. It helps them to get rid of tremors, poor hand coordination and stiffness. After that the Parkinson’s sufferers learn how to stand correctly, move, walk and shuffle around the room. Many patients reported that their movements become more fluid with time and ongoing therapy. They are doing away with rigid, jerky movements. They literally have experienced a bounce to their step. Rocky stated that they not only try to improve their condition but also train them to as fighters. They shout, they run, they fight and do exercises. Along with this, they provide them a friendly and motivational environment which helps them to get rid of stress and depression drastically.
Parkinson’s sufferers in the gym – Our Observations
It was 6:00 AM and we witnessed crowd entering into the boxing gym. The crowd included men and women in the age group of 40 to 90. After entering into the gym they started warming up, some started stretching and few walking for almost 30 minutes. After 30 minutes they wore their boxing gloves walked to their punching bags. Sufferers with older age were sitting and practicing non-contact boxing in front of their punching bags while counting numbers. Suffers who were able to stand were doing the same by standing in front of their punching bags. Each sufferer had a personal boxing trainer who was counting the boxing punches and helping them to do better. Some trainers were teaching their patients how to fight. They were doing practice along with their patients. Trainers were polite, motivating and curing. They were talking to their patients in a very friendly manner. In one part of the gym, a group of Parkinson’s patients was walking on treadmills and doing exercise with their trainers. Some were running and some were doing easy to do exercises. We have seen an amazing motivation in Parkinson’s patients to fight back against Parkinson’s symptoms. All we could hear at that time was the shouting of Parkinson’s sufferers. Patients were looking like real fighters. After seeing the environment in the gym it is difficult to state that they all are sufferers, It seems that they are the real fighters who are motivated and doing so much to live better with Parkinson’s disease.
What Parkinson’s sufferers says about Rock Steady Boxing Therapy
We personally had a word with a few Parkinson’s sufferers who were going to Rock Steady boxing for more than one year. Mike Gibson who is 53 said: he was 45 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He had been on medications for more than 3 years but medications deteriorated his Parkinson’s symptoms. Medications did not help him to do away with Parkinson’s symptoms. It has been six years joining Rock Steady Boxing gym, he has seen a great enhancement in his ability to move and walk.
Maria Hedson is a 65 years old Parkinson’s sufferer, she said, she was at a stage where she had two choices either give up and let the Parkinson’s take over, or decide to fight back. She chose the latter option. Last year she stumbled on Rock Steady Boxing. Now you can find a new Maria Hedson with an improvement in her condition. She is no more depressed, and she has more self-confidence.
Chris Howard, 79, says is a patient with advanced Parkinson’s disease. He said he could barely move when he got up on the day of a recent boxing class for Kansas Parkinson’s patients. But when the therapy started, he was one of the most energetic participants over there considering his age.