New Help for People with Parkinson's and other Movement
People with Parkinson's are finding new help to cope with the
challenges of their disease thanks to a new program developed by
Professor Janet Hamburg, Chair of the Dance Department at the
University of Kansas.
Professor Hamburg, a Certified Movement Analyst (CMA), today
demonstrated a new groundbreaking exercise regimen used
successfully on Parkinson's patients that improves quality of life
and maintains a fuller range of movement.
The exercises can result in increased energy even if used only
36 minutes a day.
Hamburg developed the program in 2002 after realizing that
exercise programs that were simple and fun, and yet effective, were
not available to many, especially those who were homebound or
restricted in their ability to enjoy moving.
"Traditional exercises are limiting in their use of space,"
Hamburg explained, "and they keep people from developing or
recovering a full range of movement."
"People think of exercise as strength and flexibility training,
but there is benefit in other forms of movement," Hamburg
Unlike typical exercise routines, Hamburg's program
employs/involves expressive as well as functional movement, and
builds the mover's capacity for increased energy and enjoyment.
"Unfortunately, the typical exercises a patient is given tend to
focus on the pie-shaped wedge of space directly in front of us,"
said Hamburg. "They don't acknowledge the 360-degree sphere of
space around our bodies.
An important part of life is moving fully in this sphere. The
spines of most people with Parkinson's tend to fold forward and
downward; as we age, we pull in, our limbs shorten. If we don't
work to maintain our ability to move fully in our 360-degree world,
we literally will fold in on ourselves as we age."
Hamburg's work has been heralded by the Parkinson's Disease
Foundation, based at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.
Robin Anthony Elliott, Executive Director of the group, "This is
a major contribution to the education of people with Parkinson's
and to meeting their needs in the areas of quality of life and
well-being." He called the work "fun," adding, "It's not taking
Ruth Hagestuen, Director of Field Services for the National
Parkinson's Foundation in Miami, says, "There's something about
doing movement to music together that creates energy that lifts the
The combination of a really good leader -- Janet contributes
enormously to this -- may motivate people to be more faithful about
doing this than other kinds of exercise they've been assigned to
Hamburg's program is now accessible to Parkinson's patients and
care providers on a DVD, Motivating Moves for People with