Yoga trumps again

73-YEAR-OLD East Fremantle local Cynthia Gregory has used yoga for nearly a decade to help alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Nowadays she’s a regular at the special yoga classes run by Parkinson’s WA.

“The classes are a tremendous support, particularly because the instructor has had Parkinson’s for over 20 years, so she really understand what it’s like to be restricted with your movement,” Ms Gregory says.

Research has revealed that general exercise, particularly yoga and tai chi, has greatly benefited Parkinson’s suffers.

It improves muscle rigidity and stiffness, strengthens muscles and breathing, and improves posture and walking, says clinical nurse manager Janet McLeod.

“It’s well recognised that exercise is the only thing that helps address the progress of the condition.”

April 11 is the birthday of James Parkinson, who was first to be diagnosed with what he called “shaking palsy” in 1817.

More than two centuries later, April is world Parkinson’s month and Parkinson’s WA is holding a seminar for people diagnosed with the disease in the last five years.

“It’s important for newly diagnosed people to get information, because knowledge is power,” Ms McLeod says.

Neurologist professor Soumya Ghosh will talk about the technical aspects of the disease and treatment options.

“And I’ll speak on facing a diagnoses and what people can do to help themselves,” Ms McLeod says, noting exercise, knowledge and a positive attitude are essential weapons.

Established in 1984, Parkinson’s WA represents more than 20,000 West Australians living with the disease. The organisation has a variety of support networks and resources, including a library stacked with books and DVD.

“The support I have received has been invaluable,” Ms Gregory says.

The newly diagnosed seminar is on April 13, 10.30am at Parkinson’s WA headquarters, The Niche, Aberdare Street  Nedlands.

Register at info@parkinsonswa.org.wa or call 6457 7373.     

By Jenny D’Anger

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