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Back from Portland–The 4th World Parkinson Congress (WPC)!

Portland Parkinson's Event!

4th World Parkinson Congress in Portland, Oregon, US!

Last week, over 4000 Parkinson’s advocates, patients, researchers, speech pathologists, neurologists, authors, those living with Parkinson’s, carepartners/caregivers, family and friends, and those interested in Parkinson’s disease all convened on the beautiful northwest city of Portland, Oregon. #WPC2016, an event only held every 3 years (next to be held in Kyoto Japan in 2019), assembled news makers, scientists, doctors, and patient experts who discussed the latest information in Parkinson’s.

Vendors spanning the globe brought the latest in equipment, tools, medicines and procedures, and therapies for improving the lives of those living with Parkinson’s.

Due to flight delays and adverse weather, my updates have been delayed, but watch for my next post for more pics and my talk with the Editor of the blog, The Shoe Maven, the fashionable and inspirational Tonya Walker, as well as some other observations from this wonderful event.

Here are some photos:

Sonia and a smaller Parky.

Sonia and a smaller Parky.

GLynis from New Zealand and me.

Dylis from New Zealand and me.

 

Saying "Hi" to Parky the Raccoon.

Saying “Hi” to Parky the Raccoon.

 

 

What a coast!

What a coast!

Great Parks!

Great Parks!

 

Five or More Questions with Polly Dawkins

Meet the people leading the Parkinson's organizations!

Meet the people leading the Parkinson’s organizations!

 

Introducing, Five or More…, a series leading up to the World Parkinson Congress 2016 in Portland–meet some of the Executive Directors and leaders in the Parkinson’s Community as they answer a range of some required questions and some optional: Polly Dawkins of The Davis Phinney Foundation, was kind to agree to go first.

Here are eight questions. Five of them are encouraged that you answer. The remaining three questions are your choice whether you want to provide an answer or not. Thank you for being the first to try this experiment!

I have known Polly since she started at The Davis Phinney Foundation and she has been a loyal follower of the blog.

Required questions:

Chinese, Thai, Italian, Mexican, or Ethiopian—what is your favorite cuisine?

Do I have to choose?  Love Asian food and my favorite is Japanese.  Since that’s not the on list…if it’s a great Mexican place (like the food in the Yucatan Peninsula), that’s the food I’d choose.  The spicier the better.  And, Thai would be a close second.

What do you like on your pizza?

Grilled fennel, roasted garlic and mushrooms on an olive oil and light cheese base, topped with fresh arugula and shaved parmesan.

Of the four seasons, which is your favorite time of the year?

Summertime is the only time of year for me.

How many World Parkinson Congress events have you attended?

Montreal was my first Congress and Portland will be my second.

What are you looking forward to most in Portland, (site of the WPC 2016)?

Meeting with members of the Parkinson’s community in person, seeing old friends with whom we have worked, creating new partnerships/collaborations in the community and spending time with the Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassadors.

Optional:

Tell us something about yourself that we might not know about you that you would like to share.

I have the best job ever.  You probably already knew that.   I love to swim and ride my bike.  You probably knew that, too.  Something new and different?   I love spending time in Latin America and speaking Spanish.

Where would you like to go, that you have never been before?

Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Norway (when it’s warm) and Botswana.

What is the Davis Phinney Foundation working on that you would like to tell us?

In addition to working on bringing The Victory Summit to Sacramento, New Orleans, SW Florida, Nashville, Durango and other locations yet to be announced, we are currently working on developing new content and launching a new website for the Davis Phinney Foundation, which should be up and ready by the time we’re all gathered together in Portland.

As well, we are really proud of the quality of life research we’ve funded and what that has meant in terms of changing the way people approach living with Parkinson’s.  As well, we are considering ways in which we can invest in quality of life research that have more direct impact on our programs and the Parkinson’s community as a whole.

Thanks again, Polly!

 

 

Taking the mystery out of a reiki treatment.

 

Calm and Very Cool!

Calm and Very Cool!

The time has come to demystify the word reiki (ray-key). “Rei” means light and “ki” or “chi” means energy. Many of you who follow my blog, know how important this complementary therapy/energy treatment is to me and just how it has changed my life for the better.

Just this weekend, friends who have known me for over 15 years, were amazed to see me bring a halt to my dyskinesia just by using the practice of reiki. One dear friend, who was in agonizing back pain, came to my wife and I for a treatment in hope of some relief, to which she got. Reiki doesn’t do everything you need and it isn’t a cure—it is one more tool in your toolbox. We are all unique and the code that works for me may not register for you, but isn’t it worth investigating? Everyone can use one more tool!

Reiki is a practice with ancient roots.  The reiki method/protocol I use was developed in Japan over a hundred years ago. The reiki that I practice comes out of a lineage call Jin Kei Do which combines a practice of Qi gong, meditation, and the use of touch to transfer universal energy.

Reiki can be effective for: balancing one’s personal energy, reducing fatigue, lowering anxiety, helping to get a better night of sleep, reducing pain, and a assisting a variety of other challenges. The practice is performed by nurses and some doctors in over 100 hospitals in the United States. Slowly, this treatment is gaining the credit that it deserves.

How is a reiki session performed? A reiki treatment or session is very simple. The client, unlike a massage, remains fully clothed and either sits in a chair or lies on a massage table on their back while the practitioner lightly touches or even works inches off of the body. The client does remove their belt, shoes, and eyeglasses and gets on the table or chair and is asked to relax and to just breathe. The practitioner very gently and lightly touches the head, chest, stomach region, legs, back, and feet.  The client may feel heat, cold, tingling, or nothing at all. Often, like my first time with reiki, I fell asleep on the table, for over an hour and woke up feeling much better and more refreshed than when the session began–that is what started it for me almost 20 years ago. That is why I decided to learn reiki for myself. I was skeptical, until I actually experienced it. Once the session is over, the client is gently awoken, given a drink of water, and sent home. Benefits may last weeks until the next treatment. Sessions can last as long as 1.5 hours or as short as 15 minutes and usually are about the price of a massage.

The beauty of a level 1 reiki class is that it is all about self care, so you can learn to perform reiki on yourself, whenever you choose. If you decide you want a better understanding of this energy treatment there is level 2,3, and mastership, which in my lineage is a 1 year training program.  I suggest going to your practitioner/teacher to receive the benefits of their treatments and to experience it before, you commit to learning it yourself. The reason I decided to become a reiki master is that I saw the benefit of reiki help my Parkinson’s so I wanted to teach reiki to others with Parkinson’s.  In order to be able to teach reiki, one must become a reiki master (in our lineage).

Combined, my wife and I have worked on at least 100 people with Parkinson’s disease and their carepartners. We have seen benefit from these treatments, even when they sometimes can’t see the results themselves. The first thing we notice is a clarity in their eyes, sometimes an improvement in clarity of mind, better mobility and flexibility, or just a release of tension and anxiety. I also have seen smiles and a softening of the face muscles.

In 2013, at the World Parkinson Congress (WPC) in Montreal 2013, I had the privilege to work on 9 people with PD, and 8 of 9 expressed a benefit from the treatment. I even saw an improvement  in the person who didn’t see a difference. They were more relaxed and appeared more refreshed after the treatment. Some people don’t verbalize their experiences with reiki as fully or clearly due to this new sensation.

My wife, Angela, a reiki master, as well as many other experienced reiki masters, massage therapists, yoga teachers, and I plan to work at WPC 2016 in Portland, Oregon at the Wellness Way area of the conference. Wellness Way is an area where you can experience therapies or just take a quiet respite and enjoy a  moment or more for yourself.

I encourage you to explore reiki and other such therapies to see if they might assist you along your journey as you look for relief from stress, anxiety, or fatigue. I encourage you to find a referral for a reiki practitioner near you to offer you a free sample or trial period to see if you like it. Please make sure that they are experienced, sensitive and aware about your condition.

Viewing of Capturing Grace in DC!

Beautiful film!

Beautiful film!

Last night, I attended a viewing of Dave Iverson’s touching film Capturing Grace. The documentary chronicles the lives of a group of fellow Parkinsonians (Brooklyn Parkinson Group) and their transition into becoming dancers through the instruction of David Leventhal and the Mark Morris Dance Group. The film captures the indomitable spirit and drive of the group’s members and the rock solid bonds that unite them through the power of dance. The story leads from classes and rehearsals to the moving public performance that the group openly shares what they have learned and accomplished.

I was grateful to actually meet Mark Morris and David Leventhal and thank them for their contribution to the Parkinson’s world.

If you haven’t seen Capturing Grace or you want more information on dance and Parkinson’s, the Dance for PD model is one to strongly consider!


By the way, for you film directors and Hollywood hopefuls, don’t forget about the World Parkinson Congress’ video competition, now open for entry!

If you are an author with a book consider sharing it at the Book Nook event at the World Parkinson Congress in Portland! For more information on both of these exciting mediums, click here for more information about the 4th World Parkinson Congress.

Wellness Way at World Parkinson Congress (WPC) 2016

Take time for yourself  while at The World Parkinson Congress 2016!

Take time for yourself while at The World Parkinson Congress 2016!

Wellness Way is your opportunity at the World Parkinson Congress 2016 in Portland, OR, to take time for yourself and experience therapies like massage, yoga, reiki, meditation and more. This is your place to relax, reflect, and recharge after traveling or just if you are in need of a few moments of silence. Wellness Way is a designated area of 4 dedicated rooms intended to calm your body and mind. Learn about techniques and therapies that  you may have not considered. This is an exciting new extension to #WPC2016 programs.

The 2016 WPC’s New “Book Nook” Will Bring Readers And Authors Together!

Check out WPC's Book Nook

Check out WPC’s Book Nook

I have been fortunate to have attended 2 World Parkinson Congresses, Washington and Montreal. Both events were outstanding in information and learning about what is new in the world of Parkinson’s disease.

Join us at the 4th World Parkinson’s Congress in Portland, Oregon this September 20-23, 2016 —Register Now!

If you didn’t already know, registration for the World Parkinson Congress (WPC) is NOW Open! This September an international contingent of scientists, activists, experts, vendors, writers, researchers, medical experts, body workers, and so many others who focus on Parkinson’s disease will convene in Portland, Oregon for this huge event. For my fellow Americans, I encourage you to take advantage of the fact that the #WPC2016 is in the US, once again and in the great city of Portland. The WPC only happens every 3 years! This is a wonderful opportunity to learn what is happening around the globe and meet many of the world’s leaders in their field. Click here to learn more or to register today!

WPC Book Nook
2016’s WPC will be providing something new this year with their Book Nook! Meet some of the authors behind many of the Parkinson’s books that you have read or plan to read. Some authors may do a reading as well. If you are an author writing about Parkinson’s disease read about the requirements for submitting your application for approval. This is a great opportunity to bring authors and readers together! For more information, click here.

Portland Countdown Podcast Starts Today and Every First Tuesday Through September 2016!

Portland Countdown Podcasts WPC 2016
Portland Countdown Podcasts WPC 2016 #WPCPodcast

As you probably know by now, the World Parkinson Coalition’s big event, the 4th World Parkinson Congress, is coming to Portland, Oregon in September 2016. Starting today and the first Tuesday of each month until September 2016 you can enjoy Portland Countdown, a podcast dedicated to important Parkinson’s topics and timely information. Hosted by Dave Iverson and Jon Palfreman, in this premiere #WPCPodcast, they interview Dr. Andrew Lees and discuss some history of Parkinson’s disease.

I found the podcast to be informative and refreshing in that Dr. Lees described Parkinson’s from a perspective unlike most doctors that I have encountered. I hope you enjoy it!

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