Complementary Therapies for Parkinson’s

Between the varieties and combinations of medications and surgical therapies available for people living with Parkinson’s, many people have found conventional treatment regimens that work well for them. However, the options to help people with Parkinson’s live well don’t stop there. There are various complementary therapies (those that are used alongside traditional medical treatment) that people with Parkinson’s experiment with, under the care of their medical team, to reduce symptoms even more.  

In this collection of resources, we share information and advice about many of the complementary therapies people in our community have tried, from rehabilitative therapies like physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy to laughter yoga, dance, tai chi, and much more.  

Group of five adults practicing tai chi in park

A List of Complementary Therapies for Parkinson’s

Complementary therapies are those that are used alongside traditional medical treatment. This is different from alternative therapies, which are used in place of traditional medical treatment. This post highlights 19 complementary therapies that people in our community have tried and found beneficial. 

The Victory Summit Event: Physical, Occupational, and Speech-Language Therapy 

In 2020, The Victory Summit® Event: Boise centered around rehabilitative therapies, with sessions led by experts in physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy. Here, you can watch the videos of the presentations, view the slides, and read the session transcripts to learn more about how these therapies can help you live well with Parkinson’s right away. (Bonus session: see how dance therapy and creativity help Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassador Amy Carlson live well with Parkinson’s every day!) 

Living Well with Parkinson’s through Dance and Movement 

Dancing has been shown to improve gait and balance, reduce tremor, slow cognitive decline, and improve overall coordination and mobility in people with Parkinson’s. And, as a result, it has become one of the more popular activities that people with Parkinson’s do to improve their quality of life. In this webinar, founding teacher of Dance for PD® David Leventhal talks about how to manage Parkinson’s with the mind of a dancer and leads the audience in dance routines you can do anywhere. 

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Poetry as Medicine Café

Recently, a group of Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassadors came together for a Poetry as Medicine workshop with Wayne Gilbert. What began as a one-hour session turned into a monthly poetry jam that has resulted in far more than words on a page. At our first ever Poetry as Medicine Cafe, these poets shared their words with us. Watch to be inspired by what they’ve learned, what they’ve written, and how poetry has become medicine to help them live well with Parkinson’s. You’ll walk away feeling understood, encouraged, and ready to pen something of your own. 

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