- Has anyone ever recovered from Parkinson’s who didn’t follow the protocols of the Parkinson’s Recovery Project?
- Is this treatment guaranteed to work?
- How long will it take to recover from Parkinson’s?
- I am taking (or used to take) antiparkinson’s medications. Am I a good candidate for your program?
- What are you selling?
- Does any evidence support these hypotheses?
- I want to recover. How do I start?
- What therapists in my area are familiar with your work?
- Can I talk to a patient in your program?
- Do all Tui Na practitioners know how to treat Parkinson’s-related injuries?
Has anyone ever recovered from Parkinson’s who didn’t follow the protocols of the Parkinson’s Recovery Project?
Many people have recovered from Parkinson’s disease.
The main focus of the Parkinson’s Recovery Project has been on figuring out, from the welter of methods used by those who’ve recovered, the commonalities that might link these recoveries.
If you go online, you will find many people have recovered from Parkinson’s disease. If these recovery cases are examined carefully, one finds highly specific commonalities among those who recover. Without even knowing the processes that cause idiopathic Parkinson’s, they have either 1) brought their attention to bear on an unhealed foot injury – usually an injury sustained in childhood or 2) made a significant mental adjustment: deciding that they are indeed safe from clear and present danger even if they let their guard down. For this mental adjustment, they may have decided to “trust a higher power,” or decided they are “safe, after all,” or simply given up on trying to use their own mental prowess to keep themselves safe from anything and everything.
In many cases, they have done both: they have gotten treatment or performed exercises that has brought their attention to a long-forgotten, still-unhealed foot injury and decided that they are safe enough that they can relax their guard or trust the universe or allow some higher power to be in charge of keeping them safe.
Many people who recover assume that, among the myriad practices and dietary changes they’ve played with, their more esoteric, elaborate, or difficult practices must at the root of their recovery, rather than the healing of a “mere” foot and/or ankle injury and/or their profound attitude change (deciding that they are safe, after all).
It can seem “too simple” to recover just from healing an old injury and/or changing a deeply entrenched mindset of wariness.
But if you look closely at the many approaches taken by people who successfully recover, one or both of these two events have always been a part of the process in every person who has recovered from Parkinson’s.
Some people who’ve recovered find it distasteful to admit that recovery is so simple, that recovery is not the result of some highly esoteric practice or some obscure or expensive dietary supplement.
Sadly, some people who have recovered have decided that they can sell their “secrets:” their lists of everything they tried during their sojourns with Parkinson’s. They provide, for a price, much rigamarole that is not pertinent, and play down or fail to mention the actual aspects that brought about their recoveries – aspects which are simple and require no purchase. In most cases of this type, the sellers can be forgiven: they are not aware of which aspects of recovery were pertinent: they only know that they recovered.
The Parkinson’s Recovery Project has been devoted to tracking down the actual cause of recovery from Parkinson’s and has discovered, as a side effect, the actual cause of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease.
James Parkinson, for whom this illness is named, when describing this illness for the first time, made the point that the illness should not be considered one for which there is no cure. However, in modern times, Parkinson’s disease is defined as incurable.
The idea of incurability of Parkinson’s came about during the 1950s, when brain cells were considered to be incapable of change, and injured nerves were considered unable to heal. Also, the changes seen in the substania nigra cells in the brain (in people with idiopathic PD, the cells revert from dark grey back to pink) were interpreted cell death rather than what we now know is cell dormancy.
The dark cells didn’t die and become replaced by grey cells – they reverted to grey cells because dopamine was not being called for. As soon as there is, once again, a call for dopamine, these cells resume production of dopamine. Researchers now know that these changes indicate reversible functional dormancy, not death.
An aside about drug- and toxin-induced parkinsonism: in cases of drug- or toxin-induced parkinsonism there is, in fact, brain cell death, but these cases are the minority. The vast majority of people with Parkinson’s have idiopathic PD: their Parkinson’s is not the result of brain cell death from recreational or prescription drug use. Our program explains how to determine whether or not a person has idiopathic PD or has drug- or toxin-induced parkinsonism from recreational or prescription drug use, or exposure to neurotoxins.
The electrical signals generated by the latter are very different from the unique electrical signals generated by a person with idiopathic Parkinson’s – signals that are very simple to track. At the time of this writing, most neurologists never bother to differentiate between idiopathic Parkinson’s disease and drug- or toxin-induced parkinsonism.)
Getting back to the history of PD, researchers determined that idiopathic Parkinson’s was incurable based on the idea that changes in brain cells meant the same thing as dead brain cells. Also, the dominant view of the brain at that time was that the brain was a “fixed, rigid switchboard,” unable to change. This view, and the idea that neural cells cannot heal – ideas that have since been proved wrong – led to the 1950s conviction that Parkinson’s was incurable.
We now know that brain cells are in an almost constant state of change: experiencing growth and/or decline in response to the thoughts, usage, and chemistry of the moment. We also have learned that nerves and neurons can heal. And yet, the idea that Parkinson’s is incurable has become entrenched.
Despite many people having recovered from Parkinson’s, the syndrome is still referred to as “incurable” because doctors do not know how to medically initiate the cure. Therefore, since the 1950s, when a person recovers from Parkinson’s, the most common response from the medical community is: “That person must have been misdiagnosed or else is crazy.”
These subjects are addressed in depth in the book Recovery from Parkinson’s, available for free download on this website.
Is this treatment guaranteed to work?
There are no guarantees. The rate of recovery is highly variable.
If the dopamine-inhibiting pattern is being held in place only by the electrical aberrations caused by the foot injury, recovery is fairly simple. The treatment will result in highly predictable changes (recovery symptoms) and soon, within weeks or a month or two, the Parkinson’s symptoms will cease.
If the dopamine-inhibiting pattern is being held in place by a dissociation-inducing decision, such as a decision to be impervious to physical and emotional pain, then recovery will not occur until the patient decides to reverse this decision.
Because we cannot make any guarantees that a patient will decide to make this decision, we cannot guarantee that a given person will recover from this form of Parkinson’s disease.
The patient must decide he is safe enough that he is no longer in clear and present danger: that he can stop playing “emotionally dead” to his own physical or emotional pain. Then he must cease using the highly developed stream of mental hyper-vigilance that he has cultivated, a stream of thought that he has used to keep himself wary, alert, or “safe.”
As soon as this thought stream is turned off and the person feels “safe enough” to revert back to parasympathetic mode, dopamine release is almost instantaneous, even if significant amount of the substantia nigra cells have become dormant and the PD symptoms “advanced” (severe). We’ve seen that, even in cases of advanced Parkinson’s, the brain still has more than enough dopamine to drive easy, normal movement. So long as the person has not caused permanent brain damage by using dopamine-enhancing pharmaceutical drugs (including most of the antiparkinson’s drugs), he will be able to recover very quickly.
However, making the decision to destroy a highly specific self-protection mechanism that might have been employed since childhood can be very difficult. In our experience, a patient might often finds it far easier to make a conditional decision that he is safe under specific circumstances. In such a case, his Parkinson’s symptoms will become diminished so long as he feels safe. But even so, he will still struggle for an indefinite period, maybe years, anytime he feels himself at risk in any way. He will experience PD symptoms that come and go according to how safe he feels in that moment. We refer to this as partial recovery.
A person might need minutes or he might need years, before he can decide to completely “let go” of his constant mental wariness and turn off, for good, the mental hyper-vigilance.
The problem is that most people with Parkinson’s have cleverly trained themselves to use a rarely accessed, highly specific neurological mode, the pre-death mode of dissociation, to keep themselves numb from pain – a feat that requires fairly high intelligence and a very high level of will power and mental focus.
This use of the word dissociation does not have the same meaning as “psychological dissociation,” a process in which a person compartmentalizes specific memories away from normal consciousness.
The neurological mode used by people with idiopathic Parkinson’s is Pre-death Dissociation: a brain shift that ordinarily occurs in only in response to excessive bleeding, excessive perforation of the skin, or any potentially mortal injury, or when a person is possibly transitioning into death.
Until a person with Parkinson’s decides to stop his (usually long-term) habit of using this mode and learns to use only sympathetic mode for dealing with fear and pain, the normal mode for dealing with pain and fear, they will find themselves increasingly “frozen” when they feel unsafe.
Because making the decision to stop using dissociation is such a personal matter, there are no guarantees that a given person will ever make this choice and thus be able to recover.
This subject is discussed in great detail in Recovery from Parkinson’s.
How long will it take to recover from Parkinson’s?
This depends on which factors are causing the Parkinson’s: mental attitude or physical injury. In most cases, both factors are present.
If there is only a foot injury, the symptoms of Parkinson’s begin to ease up as soon as the injury is gone. Several months might be needed for healing of problems such as long-term nerve dormancy (such as loss of sense of taste and smell) and muscle atrophy (particularly in the biceps). Even so, while these areas are healing, it is obvious that the person no longer has Parkinson’s disease.
If the problem is stemming from use of dissociation, a neurological condition that inhibits the release of brain dopamine, the recovery can occur in a matter of minutes.
The return of perfectly normal dopamine release will occur as soon as the dissociation from one’s own physical or emotional pain has been turned off and/or the person decides to stop using the “numbness to pain” approach and decides to let himself use sympathetic “fight or flight” mode, sleep, or parasympathetic modes as his sole methods for dealing with pain and fear.
However, even when the dopamine-release does become available again, and large motor function immediately becomes fluid and normal, other symptoms of Parkinson’s, such as long-term nerve dormancy (such as loss of sense of taste and smell) and muscle atrophy (particularly in the bicep), may require several months to completely heal.
Some people in our program have experienced restoration of nerve function and muscle tone following the healing of the foot injury, but have still spent years in partial recovery – a condition in which inhibition of their large motor function comes and goes, depending on how safe they feel at the moment, and their related use of dissociation.
In people who have both a foot injury and a habit of dissociation, the healing of the foot injury can often lead to significant changes, usually within a few months: changes such as improved facial expression, a return of sense of taste and/or smell, and better circulation in the extremities.
However, if the mental habit of dissociation remains present, large motor function will not be available except during those times when the patient feels safe. Consistent recovery of large motor skills will not occur until dissociation is no longer used as a self-protection device, and the patient chooses to use sympathetic mode to deal with danger, rather than dissociation.
I am taking (or used to take) antiparkinson’s medications. Am I a good candidate for your program?
Our research group will not work with anyone who has ever taken dopamine-enhancing antiparkinson’s medication for more than three weeks.
In general, we also do not recommend attempting recovery for those people who have taken dopamine-enhancing drugs for more than a few weeks.
However, we recognize that every person has the right to do what he feels is best for himself. Also, it is possible that some people who have taken very low doses for a short period of time might not have a significant level of lasting brain damage. It is up to each individual to decide what course to pursue: dum spiro spero, after all.
We hope that anyone considering recovering who has used dopamine-enhancing medications will read the warning on this website’s homepage link for people who are taking medications. Also, the book Medications of Parkinson’s or Once Upon a Pill, provides even more information, and is available for free on this website.
Note: the dopamine-enhancing drugs cause significant distortion in the thinking processes: they often create the feeling that one is more clever or more capable than “other people.” We have seen, often, that people who are on the drugs are unable to understand the risks discussed in website warning or in the book. Their drugs cause them to assume that they are “different” from the cases we discuss in the warnings and the book and they conclude that the warnings do not apply.
Therefore, if you are taking dopamine-enhancing drugs, please have a friend or family member read the material and advise you, rather than trusting yourself. The medications work by making you “stoned” (inhibiting your ability to be wary). They diminish your ability to use good judgment.
To go to that book, please click here: Medications of Parkinson’s or Once Upon a Pill.
What are you selling?
We are not selling anything.
All the information on this site is available for free. The books that have been written explaining our hypotheses and techniques are available for free download. For the convenience of those who prefer to buy hard copies of the books, rather than downloading them, links are provided for the purchase of those books.
The Parkinson’s Recovery Project is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 and incorporated in California. Donations are tax-deductable.
To keep this website up, we rely on donations.
To make a tax-deductible donation, please click here: Donation
Does any evidence support these hypotheses?
Parkinson’s disease is currently defined as incurable. Anyone who recovers from Parkinson’s is considered by the medical establishment to have been misdiagnosed.
Ignoring this issue, our best evidence is that we have worked with Parkinson’s patients whose symptoms are now completely, lastingly gone.
More importantly, patients who we have never met have recovered from Parkinson’s by using the material provided on this website. They have contacted us via email to let us know that they have recovered from Parkinson’s.
Although many people, understandably, wish to meet with patients who have recovered in order to get “proof,” we do not give out names of patients. Besides, there is nothing remarkable to see in a person who recovers from Parkinson’s disease. A recovered Parkinson’s patient appears perfectly healthy, as if he never had Parkinson’s disease.
A common response from people who do meet recovered patients is something like, “That person’s case must have been very mild: he looks perfectly normal,” or even “That person could not have had Parkinson’s disease.”
Another very common response back in the days when we used to introduce new patients to recently-recovered people was, “That person who recovered isn’t like me. I won’t be able to recover easily even if everyone else does.”
Oddly, we found that people with Parkinson’s who met with recovered patients became more determined that they could not recover as easily as “other” people. This phenomenon only makes sense when you understand the mechanisms by which the dissociation is sustained in the brain of a person with Parkinson’s.
Lacking the funding and the time to make before-and-after videos, and lacking the personnel to treat the thousands of patients that must be treated in order for us to generate meaningful statistics for an illness in which no two patients develop the same symptoms in the same order with the same severity, we must, in these early stages, consider another form of proof: the responses that people with Parkinson’s have when they read our material.
I will paraphrase the most frequent sentiment: “When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, I read up on it. What I read didn’t seem to match up with how I felt. But when I discovered and read the Recovery Project’s material, I felt as if you were describing me. It was uncanny. I never thought anyone could understand how I think and feel. But not only does your hypothesis as to the cause of Parkinson’s make perfect sense; it describes exactly how I feel and think.”
At this early stage in our research, a mere fifteen years into the Parkinson’s Recovery Project, we are still trying to figure out how to best support our claims. Until such time as we can present indisputable evidence involving at least a thousand people, we encourage people to read through our findings and see for themselves whether or not they make sense. If our findings resonate with a person with Parkinson’s, he can then experiment with the recovery techniques and see for himself whether or not they work. At present we have only worked with a few hundred patients.
Don’t forget – there is no accurate test for idiopathic Parkinson’s. Diagnosis can only be confirmed via autopsy. Therefore, when a person recovers, he will probably be told by his neurologist that he was misdiagnosed, neurotic, or had been pretending to have Parkinson’s.
I want to recover. How do I start?
Read the book, Recovery from Parkinson’s. It is available for free download on this website.
If the hypotheses in the book resonate, try the techniques that we use in treating people with Parkinson’s disease. These techniques are fully described in the free books. The therapeutic work for the foot/ankle injury can be performed a person with no medical training whatsoever. A child can do the supportive hands-on therapy for the foot injury.
The decision to change the mental stance of dissociation can only be made by the person with Parkinson’s. This is not the same type of inadvertent psychological dissociation that occurs in response to terrible trauma, in which the trauma is compartmentalized away from normal consciousness. This type of trauma, particularly in people who develop post-traumatic stress disorder, involves memory in the right brain hemisphere and inhibition in the left brain Broca’s (verbal expression) area.
In our experience, we’ve seen that people with Parkinson’s have made a conscious choice to activate a particular neurological mode that normally kicks in during near-mortal injury, a pre-death mode known as dissociation (different altogether from psychological dissociation).
Most of our patients have enhanced ability for verbal expression, and a somewhat difficult time accessing right-brain functions of free-form imagination, playful use of imagination, and other physiological functions that are associated with the right brain. This FAQ is not going to go into great detail, but just intends to make the point that the neurological mode of dissociation is not the same thing as psychological dissociation.
The person with Parkinson’s chose this neurological mode because it provides numbness of one’s own physical and/or emotional pain. He chose to use this mentally-induced neurological mode – one that is fairly difficult to induce, and which requires significant intelligence and mental focus to institute – rather than dealing with some terrible pain.
This makes sense in terms of short-term coping – but the person with Parkinson’s has subsequently found it easy to lapse into this neurological mode, which automatically inhibits dopamine release, anytime he doesn’t feel safe. Eventually, after decades, he finds himself, through long habit, subconsciously choosing dissociation – and its accompanying immobility – all the time.
Deciding to get rid of this mental habit Parkinson’s must be performed by the patient – no one else can do it for him. We have not seen people be able to turn off this habit via hypnotherapy or counseling. However, exercises that can help increase the patient’s awareness of his own (incorrect) thinking are provided in the book. Awareness of the dissociation-type thinking can serve as the goad to choosing to turn off the dissociation – a powerful act of mental self-determination that reverses the previous, powerful act of choosing to feel no pain.
What therapists in my area are familiar with your work?
First, recovery from Parkinson’s is pretty much a do-it-yourself program or a do-it-with-a-friend program.
As noted above, the techniques for bringing the consciousness to bear on the unhealed foot/ankle injury are very simple – any spouse or friend who can sit still for ten minutes at a time can master these supportive, foot-holding techniques and do them for the person with Parkinson’s. Instruction in these techniques is provided in the book Yin Tui Na: Techniques for Treating Injuries of Parkinson’s Disease, available for free download on this website.
As for deciding that one is safe enough that he can end his long-time use of biological dissociation, that is a job for the patient himself. We have seen that no amount of “talk therapy” or professional hypnosis can make the patient feel safe enough to stop being wary. The patient needs to decide that he’s safe enough to forego dissociation, and then the dissociation will turn itself off.
One of the few aspects of treatment that can be slightly challenging for the do-it-yourselfer is feeling the actual electrical currents in the body. Detecting these currents can be helpful in determining whether symptoms are being held in place by injury or by thoughts, and whether or not the injury is finally gone.
Information on learning to do this is provided in the book Tracking the Dragon. The pertinent chapters of this book are available for free download on this website.
Because the science behind these currents is the underlying premise of Chinese medicine, many people assume that acupuncturists know how to feel these currents and assess them. This is not true. Most acupuncture schools do not teach these skills. In China, not only are these skills not taught, they are considered historical superstitions and are mocked. (For some years, in twentieth century China, it ran counter to party line to promote the idea of channel theory and was therefore illegal.)
You are far more likely to find a friend or neighbor willing to spend a few hours learning to detect the sensations that derive from electrical currents in your body than you are to find an acupuncturist who has learned how to do this.
This lack of awareness of channel detection techniques is slowly changing. Scattered acupuncturists are starting to learn about channel theory and teach themselves to use it for diagnostic purposes. However, these people are few and far between. Maybe in fifty years it will be common for practitioners of Asian medicine to know how to feel the electrical currents. At the present time, most acupuncturists do not even know that it is possible to easily detect, by hand, the currents that are the underlying basis for their medicine.
We do not give out names of health practitioners. If we did, it would suggest that health practitioners are needed in order to recover. This is not the case.
Then again, if you have Parkinson’s and you have no nearby family or friends, you might want to seek out a physical therapist or massage therapist who also does light-touch therapy such as craniosacral therapy, for the foot/ankle injury portion of the recovery program. Practitioners of light-touch physical therapy can be found in your yellow pages or via the internet. Be sure to work with sosmeone who is willing to learn the Yin Tui Na material on this website, as most schools of light-touch work teach the use of much more directional application of force than is ideal for treatment of Parkinson’s.
Then again, if you turn off the dissociation, you may not even need the physical therapy part of the work.
Can I talk to a patient in your program?
We cannot give out phone numbers. If you wish to communicate with someone who is in the program or who has completed it, please consider going online to find websites from people who have recovered or who are working on recovering.
We do not sponsor any of these sites.
We are a medical research program, and honor all the laws regarding patient confidentiality.
Do all Tui Na practitioners know how to treat Parkinson’s-related injuries?
The light-touch techniques we use for supporting the foot/ankle injuries are referred to in Chinese medicine as Yin Tui Na. While the techniques of Yin Tui Na can be quickly mastered by most anyone, very few people have ever studied it – there is no need for “study.” Any child can quickly master these techniques.
Yin Tui Na is not taught in most acupuncture schools.
The Tui Na that is taught in acupuncture schools is most often Yang-type Tui Na (vigorous physical manipulation). The dissociated injuries in people with Parkinson’s are not responsive to this strong-arm type of bodywork.