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52 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k j u l y / a u g u s t 2 0 1 6 constipation. She was prescribed a levodopa medication, as well as secondary medications to manage the resultant side effects of levodopa. Most likely, the patient was Stage 4 on the Hoehn and Yahr Scale, indicating a fully developed, severely disabling disease. The patient had greatly diminished cervical and upper extremity range of motion and experienced cervical pain on active motion and on palpation. Cervical and upper extremity muscle testing revealed weakness and the associated reflexes were a Grade 4 (clonus). The patient sought massage therapy for relief of the rigidity and resting tremors, as well as for the resultant pain in her back, neck, head, left upper thoracic and shoulder area, left hand and foot, and occasionally left leg. Sixty-minute massage therapy treatments were rendered on a weekly basis for five weeks. The treatment was provided by a massage therapy student in her fifth semester of a six-semester program. Each treatment started with moist heat and an abdominal massage to assist in management of the patient's constipation. Treatments mainly focused on a reduction of sympathetic nervous system activity in order to increase relaxation and, therefore, reduce muscle rigidity. Slow, deep, continuous strokes, coupled with education SOMATIC RESEARCH For those with Parkinson's disease, the brain slowly degenerates because the neurotransmitter dopamine stops being produced. As dopamine production slows, the patient has a significant reduction in control over his or her movements. As rigidity sets in, so does pain. According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation (, more than half of all patients with Parkinson's disease have associated pain, with some pain expression overshadowing the symptoms of the disease itself. Many people with Parkinson's disease seek complementary and alternative care in addition to conventional medicine. Massage therapy is commonly sought, with some neurologists advocating this form of care for alleviation of muscle rigidity, joint contractures, and associated pain. Yet, there are no randomized clinical trials to support the use of massage therapy for treatment of symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease. Over the past few years, however, several smaller studies have been published demonstrating the positive effects of massage for clients with this disease. CASE REPORT 1 In a recent case report, a 63-year-old woman with Parkinson's disease presented to a massage therapist with pain due to rigidity and tremors. 1 She was diagnosed 14 years prior and regularly sought care from her neurologist. She used a walker, had a stooped posture, and had fallen several times. Because of her incapacitation, a home-care nurse assisted her twice a day for activities of daily living such as dressing, grooming, and cooking. Symptomatically, the patient had slurred speech, blood pressure fluctuations, headaches, nausea, and almost constant The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Parkinson's Disease By Jerrilyn Cambron, DC, PhD

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