This article has been reviewed and fact checked by Dr. Rodney Soto, M.D. who is a board-certified doctor in Neurology and Holistic Medicine by the American Board of Holistic and Integrative Medicine.
- Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive and degenerative neurological disorder that can cause difficulty with balance, vision impairment, muscle control, and basic functions of the body
- Parkinson’s occurs most often over the age of 50
- Parkinson's disease symptoms can vary from person to person and include motor and non-motor symptoms, with the most recognizable symptom being the resting tremor
- Conventional treatment includes medication to mitigate and manage symptoms
- LifeWorks Wellness Center offers effective alternative treatments for PD
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurological condition that can cause vision impairment, difficulty with balance, muscle control, and basic functions of the body. For Parkinson’s sufferers, the main cause of death continues to be aspiration pneumonia.1 There is no cure for PD but the progression can be slowed down, and symptoms can be controlled and even reversed.
Let’s look at what Parkinson's disease is, the symptoms, what causes it, who gets it, diagnosis and conventional medical treatment options and how we treat Parkinson’s naturally at LifeWorks.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease (PD)?
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive and degenerative neurological disorder that affects both motor and non-motor skills. It is a chronic and progressive disease for which there is no cure. It is also considered by western medicine to be idiopathic, which means it can arise spontaneously and the cause is often unknown, although many researchers today believe that it may be some combination of a genetic predisposition and environmental exposure.
The most familiar and visible symptom in a person with PD is the tremors visible in one arm or hand, described by James Parkinson in his 1817 piece “Essay on the Shaking Palsy”, although ironically that is one of the least debilitating symptoms.2
The lack of motor control is due to the decrease in the production of a substance within an area of the brain called the substantia nigra, or “black substance,” called dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain that controls movement. Therefore movements become slower and more involuntary, muscles become stiff or rigid, and posture is stooped forward.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
There are symptoms related to movement (“motor”) and symptoms unrelated to movement (“non-motor”). People with PD are often impacted more by their non-motor symptoms than motor symptoms.
Each person is unique and will experience the disorder differently; however, these are the most common symptoms among Parkinson’s patients.
- Loss of smell (this can often be an early sign)
- Tremors, mainly in the hand at rest
- Bradykinesia, or slowness of movement
- Stooped or hunched posture
- Gait and balance difficulties
- Freezing of gait (FOG)
- Dystonia (involuntary and repetitive muscle movements)
- Dyskinesia (uncontrolled movement)
- Facial masking (lack of facial expression)
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Soft voice
- Breathing problems
- Micrographia (handwriting becomes smaller and cramped)
- Apathy or lack of motivation
- Cognitive changes
- Excessive sweating
- Sleep disorders
- Sudden gambling or spending problem
What Causes Parkinson’s?
Many scientists have reason to believe that environmental factors trigger the disorder in genetically predisposed persons, particularly certain pesticides, and head injuries. Certain genetic mutations are also linked to an increased risk of PD, but the vast majority of cases are not directly related to genetics.
Some studies also indicate that bacteria in the gut can promote Parkinson’s by altering the brain’s immune reactions.3 However, there is no definitive evidence that can narrow it down to just one factor.
Who Gets Parkinson’s Disease?
The average diagnosis of Parkinson's disease occurs at age 60 with an average range being 50-80, although young-onset Parkinson’s can occur in people in their 20s or earlier.4 Age is the greatest risk factor for PD since our cells may be more susceptible to damage as they age. Due to an aging population, researchers predict the number of people with Parkinson’s will double by 2040. PD is diagnosed almost twice as often in men as it is in women.
There are an estimated 1 million Americans living with PD and over 10 million people worldwide.5
Conventional Medicine’s Approach to Parkinson’s
How Parkinson’s is Conventionally Diagnosed
Doctors look at the following motor symptoms to diagnose Parkinson's disease, although not all of these symptoms must be present for a diagnosis:
- Bradykinesia (slow movement)
- Postural instability
- Walking/gait problems.
Conventional Treatment for Parkinson’s
Conventional treatments for Parkinson's disease involve the use of medications to manage the symptoms. The most widely used medications are Levodopa and Carbidopa, usually a combination of both in the form of Sinemet, Sinemet CR or Rytary. While they can ease symptoms for a time, they do nothing to stop or slow the progression of the disease itself.
Many people with PD will time their dosage with a planned activity in order to be able to participate since there are often unwanted side effects with taking the medication. There are also possible complications from long-term use.
Sometimes Deep Brain Stimulation is used as a less invasive therapy. It can lessen symptoms, limit the need for medications and decrease side effects such as dyskinesia (loss of muscle control resulting in involuntary, jerky movements) and hallucinations that can accompany drug therapy.
Rehabilitation is another part of the conventional treatment protocol that focuses on the patient’s fitness level and energy levels. Rehabilitation may include therapy for speech, mobility, strength, and cognitive and brain health. Specific cardio exercise coupled with cognitive challenges improves not only a patient’s physical health but also their mental and emotional health.
Patients with PD can be very self-conscious about their tremor or difficulty in getting around, therefore many may limit their social interaction. PD patients are encouraged to join a group with other people with Parkinson’s, which can dramatically improve the quality of their lives all around.
When Parkinson’s tremors can’t be controlled with medication, doctors may use Forced Ultrasound, which is a non-invasive surgical procedure that uses targeted ultrasound waves to destroy the brain cells that cause movement problems.
Finally, conventional treatment may include emotional support through mental health counseling, patient education, and treatment of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that often accompany this chronic and progressive disease.
Alternative Treatment for Parkinson’s
Instead of thinking of Parkinson’s as a fixed, static condition, we look at it as a deterioration of multiple bodily systems and functions, which combined create a variety of symptoms which have been labeled as “Parkinson’s”.
When the body has been chronically overwhelmed or unable to keep up with normal maintenance and repair functions, due to some underlying factor (infection, toxicity, pathogen, an autoimmune condition, etc) it will start to deteriorate and malfunction over time. These hidden factors are sidelining and diverting your body’s available resources and energy into trying to cope with these hidden factors and that sets the stage for a disease process to take hold.
Our approach is based on locating and treating these hidden underlying factors. This approach opens the door to more treatment vectors to address and correct, which eliminates these hidden burdens and restores energy, immune and neurological function, thereby releasing the full miraculous healing power of the human body. And that’s why we see amazing health progress with patients and even recoveries using this approach.
Looking for Underlying Factors
We use both conventional and alternative methods to locate these contributory factors. Our testing may include one or more of the following:
- Testing for heavy metal toxicity
- Testing for Lyme disease
- Testing for autoimmune conditions
- Testing for food allergies
- Testing for Leaky Gut Syndrome
- Testing for inflammatory markers
- MRI with volumetrics - assesses neurodegeneration even at the early stages.
- CNS neurocognitive test - assesses the neurocognitive status of the patient including motor skills and performance, memory, attention, and executive functioning.
- Vascular health assessment - shows symptoms of heart and vascular disease and the status of the patient’s blood circulation and blood pressure
- MoCA cognitive assessment - reveals information on cognitive functioning.
- Nutritional Assessment - checks for nutritional deficiencies or abnormalities in neurotransmitters, hormones, macronutrients and micronutrients, minerals, essential fatty acids, and the like.
Once all the necessary diagnostics are completed, our team of doctors will formulate a treatment program tailor-made for the patient.
Holistic Treatment Interventions for Parkinson’s
We offer a variety of alternative treatments and therapies for Parkinson’s. Our alternative treatment programs seek to address the underlying causes and contributory factors that lead the immune system to attack the central nervous system.
Following is a list of some of the more common interventions and therapies we may recommend:
- Autoimmune Treatment - This therapy works to restore a properly functioning immune system that may be attacking the patient’s own body.
- Repairing any Gut Issues - addressing Leaky Gut Syndrome which is a common trigger for autoimmunity and inflammation.
- Peptide Therapy - This therapy utilizes specific chains of amino acids called peptides to signal cells to turn on or turn off certain functions. This works to help regulate and rejuvenate neuroendocrine-immune function.
- Exosome Therapy - As in peptide therapy, these cell-derived nanoparticles play a vital role in cell-to-cell communication. They help regulate physiological processes and regenerate older cells by exposing them to exosomes from younger stem cells.
- Plasmapheresis - This process separates the plasma from the blood where it is treated and returned to the body.
- Addressing Inflammation - We test and treat systemic inflammation, infections, gut issues, other causes of inflammation.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) - This treatment option delivers pure oxygen to the patient in a pressurized chamber allowing the lungs to take in more oxygen than normal. This fills the blood with oxygen which can fight bacteria and promote healing.
- Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Technology - The emission of electromagnetic waves to stimulate the body’s own healing properties
- Enhanced External Counterpulsation - This treatment increases blood flow to the heart allowing more oxygen to flow and alleviate symptoms of poor circulation.
- Controlling Blood Pressure - We create a plan to keep blood pressure in a healthy range as this has been shown to reduce the symptoms of cognitive impairment.
- Vielight NeURO - This therapy delivers photons to a light-sensitive enzyme in the mitochondria which is known to trigger self-repair mechanisms in the cells, enhance cognition, and protect cell neurons.
- BrainHQ - This system of brain training exercises Improves brain health.
- Health Coaching - This intervention helps patients keep track of their nutrition, exercise, supplements, and other suggested changes.
- BrainTap - Tapping into specific brainwave states, BrainTap helps to reboot and revitalize the brain, promotes relaxation, and reduces stress on the body and mind.
- Dietary and Nutritional Deficiencies - clearing up nutritional deficiencies, supporting the body with the right nutraceuticals to improve brain health including macro/micronutrients, minerals, hormones, neurotransmitters, essential fatty acids, etc.
- Intermittent Fasting - Through intermittent fasting, the body is able to heal instead of always processing food. LifeWorks utilizes the KetoFlex 12/3 way of eating which means that patients eat their food during a 10-12-hour window and not eating within three hours of going to bed.
- Celergen - This is an anti-aging cell therapy supplement that promotes cell renewal and stimulation.
Our View on Parkinson’s
Based on our experience treating clients:
- Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions are preventable
- Parkinson’s disease progression can be dramatically slowed or halted
- In some patients, the condition may be reversible.
LifeWorks Wellness Center is considered one of the top holistic neurological clinics in the state of Florida and has successfully treated patients from all over the country.
If you are in search of a more natural approach, we can help. Our individualized treatment plans are tailored to your specific needs, addressing each underlying contributory factor in order to improve the integrity of the neurological system as a whole and the overall quality of your life.
If you suspect you are experiencing signs of a neurological disorder, it’s best to get it checked out sooner rather than later. Early diagnosis and treatment improve your chances of mitigating further damage and increases your chances of halting and even reversing disease progression.
You owe it yourself to explore all your options and find out how a more gentle, holistic approach holds out tremendous hope for improvement.
We have helped many patients improve their condition and are determined to help you too.
If you or someone you know is suffering from Parkinson's disease, we would love to share our natural and alternative treatments with you. To discuss your symptoms or to schedule an appointment, call us at our Clearwater clinic at 727-466-6789 or submit an online patient inquiry.
- International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society, Death in patients with Parkinson’s disease – an observational study, International Congress, 2017.
- The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Sciences, An Essay on the Shaking Palsy,
Original essay published in 1817, Reprint Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 14:2, Spring 2002.
- Parkinson’s News Today, Bacteria in Gut Can Promote Parkinson’s by Altering Brain’s Immune Reactions, Study Says, July 20, 2019.
- Parkinson’s Foundation, Young Onset Parkinson’s.
*Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary based on a patient's medical history and other factors.