Globally, millions of people have Parkinson’s Disease (PD), a degenerative neurological disorder that usually affects older people. Since it is a chronic disease, symptoms persist for long durations and also progress with age. Additionally, each PD patient experiences varying levels of difficulties and diverse symptoms which needs customised treatment. It is well known that nature-assisted interventions have always had long-term roots in healthcare and yielded successful results. PD is no exception to that.
Typical PD symptoms like tremors, muscle stiffness, poor balance and difficulty walking make it difficult for PD patients even to execute simple tasks in daily life. These movement disorders also inhibit their normal existence.
The integration of senses and interpretation of sensory information by the brain is important for registering perception in all human beings. It aids in identifying threats in the surroundings for safe movement. It also helps in maintaining balance, proprioceptive senses, and the vestibular sense which is a crucial aspect for PD patients. It is seen that many people with Parkinson’s disease respond better to certain natural treatments than conventional methods! For this maintaining good health and safety environment naturally is essential.
Caring in Parkinson’s – A Natural Approach
Staying in touch with nature can help PD patients in managing their debilitating conditions which makes them helpless and eventually causes depression. Natural treatment can co-exist with and complement standard treatment procedures to improve the quality of life in Parkinson’s. This approach is based on providing remedies for three major aspects of the disease through diet supplements and exercise-
- Increasing production of dopamine in the brain
- Reducing irregular movements like tremors and gait
- Decreasing psychological issues like depression
Freezing of Gait (FOG) is a common cause of falls in elderly persons, particularly those with PD. Consequently, subconscious reactions regarding the shape and contents of surrounding physical environments play a vital role in determining their behaviour and well-being. Several falls and injuries could therefore be prevented by measures in construction, both indoors and outdoors. It is seen that by adopting a natural environment, the interpretations and instincts of PD patients can vary due to decreased stress levels. This in turn prevents triggering of FOG thereby their boosting self- confidence level and facilitating ease of movement without inhibitions.
Natural Treatment Procedures for PD
- Using Alternative Food Supplements -A variety of natural supplements like fish oil, bean variants like velvet beans and broad beans, cocoa and herbal supplements like Brahmi, Ashwagandha and St.John’s Wort enhance dopamine production, reduce the death of neurons and lower depression symptoms. Additionally, beverages like tea and coffee, fresh vegetables like cabbage, carrots, and tomatoes and fruits like pears and grapes reduce risk of PD.
- Maintaining a Physical Exercise Regime– Physical activity for PD can strengthen muscles and aid in regaining control over movement. PD patients must exercise for at least 2.5 hours every week to improve balance and posture, reduce stiffness, and enhance the brain’s usage of dopamine. These exercises should focus on aspects of stretching, strengthening and increasing endurance. For that, activities like aerobics, yoga, running, dance, Tai Chai and Pilates may be beneficial. PD patients with joint problems may choose water aerobics and swimming. Gait Training and Exercising Facial Muscles by chewing vigorously, reading out aloud and exaggerating facial movements is also recommended. It is important that these regimes are followed under supervision of trained therapists and over-exertion is avoided.
Parkinson’s Support Program must consider the design of the visual environment for PD patients. This is significant as it determines the way they live, function and are administered care and rehabilitation procedures. Staying in touch with nature has a profound impact on easing their mental inhibitions and enhancing sensory perception. This positively impacts daily routines of Parkinson’s patients.