Traveler, there is no path.
The path is made by walking.
I call them Explorers. People who took the tough, scary diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and became proactive. Told they had a progressive disease with no cure, they engaged their curiosity, poring through far-flung research and conducting intrepid self-experimentation. Many have reversed or slowed their symptoms and generously shared back with the PD community what they learned and discovered.
While PD shows up at higher rates among whites—which could be due to genetic or environmental issues—this disparity may stem from minority and low-income populations having less access to quality health care, including diagnosis and treatment. The voices I found were also predominantly male. I will continue to seek alternative voices.
These linked websites are information and resource heavy, rather than commercial. They can be found through Google searches, on blogs and discussion boards, but it seemed important to gather them together in one accessible place.
After being diagnosed in 2011, Colin Potter adopted an anti-Parkinson’s diet, structured exercise and toxin elimination. He has done exhaustive research into the multiple causes of PD: toxins, virus load, poor diet, stress. He has pored over thousands of Parkinson’s research studies to set the course for his own self-experimenting and was able to halt the progression of his Parkinson’s, reverse many of its symptoms and discontinue conventional PD medication. His website (small monthly fee for full access) is at https://www.fight-parkinsons.org.
An interview about how he reversed his symptoms:
Fred Phillips is a retired martial arts instructor who self-experiments with health and well-being practices. His website lists his resources, protocols and all that he has learned from trying to naturally heal from Parkinson’s. Besides being filled with practical information, Phillips’ site is animated by a sense of kindness.
Fred’s Recovery Protocol
Dr. Gary Sharpe, PhD, is a scientist and engineer who was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease in 2009. After six years of what he describes as “dying inside,” he started his website, Out-Thinking Parkinson’s, “in order to pursue pragmatic and practical solutions toward progressive symptom reduction for people with Parkinson’s disease.” Since then he has recovered significant movement, balance, mental health and speech; lowered medication; and improved his overall health. He currently seeks to unravel how PD is entwined with “dysregulations of the entire nervous system.”
He approaches healing Parkinson’s—diminishing symptoms and recovering function and aliveness—through multiple doorways: research, diet, supplements and technology, but also trauma-healing and movement. He generously shares videos of his self-experiments like practicing facial expressions and dance therapy. His curiosity is an important contribution to illuminating Parkinson’s.
Interview about starting Out-Thinking Parkinson’s:
John Pepper has a used a blend of mindfulness (being very aware of movement and arm swing, etc.) and vigorous aerobic walking to reverse PD symptoms and avoid traditional meds. He encourages strenuous walking as a way to put the body on the verge of a fight-or-flight response to engage the brain’s own “repair kit” for PD.
Nan Little’s Parkinson’s symptoms are nearly gone as a result of fast-paced cycling. “Although never considered an athlete, upon hearing this diagnosis in 2008 at age 62, I became physically and mentally stronger by setting, and meeting, unexpected goals. By mitigating my symptoms through forced pace cycling, I have climbed mountains and cycled thousands of miles. As my metronome ticks faster than most people without PD, I do my best to see and experience opportunities that present themselves each day. Some might call me obsessive about living life fully. They are probably right.” Little’s book is called If I Can Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, Why Can’t I Brush My Teeth?: Courage, Tenacity and Love Meet Parkinson’s Disease.
Her interview with PD Movement Lab
Howard Shifke was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2009. Over the following months he devoted himself to a protocol of traditional Chinese medicine, sound healing, visualization, acupressure, medical qi gong, exercise, vegetarian diet, affirmations, etc. A year later, he was symptom free and his neurologist could not detect a single PD symptom. He continues to be symptom free, as do several others who have followed his program.
His Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery: https://www.fightingparkinsonsdrugfree.com/parkinsons-recipe-for-recovery/
“Christian Hageseth, MD, is one of several people I have met who were diagnosed by their physicians with Parkinson’s disease who have been able, through exercise and stimulating the neuroplastic brain, to come off their Parkinson’s medication and are now functioning better than they were, owing to regular exercise.” (Norman Doidge, The Brain’s Way of Healing.) Hageseth’s website offers a course in shifting the PD mindset and shares the protocol he’s used to heal.
Interview with Mindful Movement Podcast :
Jimmy Choi was diagnosed with early onset PD at 27. After what his wife described as the initial “dark years” after diagnosis, he started exercising to manage his symptoms. Eighty pounds heavier, he started with one push-up, one walk around the block. He’s now run 14 full marathons and 93 half marathons and become a motivational speaker for living fully with PD. He competed on ABC’s Ninja Warrior for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAO01BNEJkk (on ABC’s Ninja Warrior)
Bianca Mollé became symptom free from PD by an intensive daily qigong practice. She writes about her journey in her book, How I Healed from Parkinson’s Disease Using the Body/Mind Practice of Qigong: Regimen, Background and Personal Reflections.
William Curtis, who’s had PD for fifteen years, has been successfully experimenting with the ketogenic diet and posting symptom tracking—including playing the guitar before and after having keto coffee.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QjIORij9-Q (symptom tracker)
High-Intensity Health Podcast Interview:
By the time of his PD diagnosis, Chris Lacey needed help showering, shaving, working buttons and walking. He set out to apply his “science-based mind” to learning all he could about Parkinson's. After reading Dr. Norman Doidge’s book, The Brain that Changes Itself, he realized that his woodwork making handcrafted chess pieces—“the intense conscious mind involvement required to overcome the fine motor skill deficits" in his hands—met all the requirements of Doidge’s brain changing therapies. Lacey believes that thousands of hours of intricate woodworking, helped him fight the impact of Parkinson’s Disease. Today he’s off his anti-PD medication, can sleep and has improvied ease of movement. “I am mentally alert, and physically alive,” he marvels. "I feel full of beans."