Dancing with Parkinson’s


VERNON, Conn. (WTNH) – It’s not easy to squeeze into a jammed room with aspiring dancers. They’re here for the Dancing with Parkinson’s class – offered at the Hartford HealthCare Movement Disorders Center.

Instructor Laura Richling leads this group of patients with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers.

She says, “This class has nothing to do with Parkinson’s and this class has everything to do with Parkinson’s.”

Laura explains, “It has nothing to do with Parkinson’s. When we walk into the door, when we sit down, we become dancers.

“This class has everything to do with Parkinson’s,” she goes on to say, “Planning moves, thinking of sequencing of moves, trying to express oneself with movement. Those artistic aspects to dance, a person with Parkinson’s has to think about those things a whole lot more every minute of every day probably than he or she did before that illness.”

Medical Director of the Center Dr. Toni De Marcaida says, there is strong evidence this can intervene in the progression of the neuro-degenerative disorder, “The activation of the brain cells forces the part of the brain that creates energy, the mitochondria of these brain cells are working hard, then it makes the whole brain cell healthier and the degeneration that can happen in Parkinson’s or even Alzheimer’s Disease maybe slowed down.”

Class participant David Popick says, “It’s like I can move again. If I press my hands down against a hard surface, it stops the tremor. My hands can sometimes stop for a few minutes.”

Art Choiniere is energized by the moves.

His wife Cathy says, “He actually was singing. I watched him moving his feet up and down instead of shuffling. I had to keep glancing over because it really touched me.”

Visible progression – says Dr. de Marcaida, equiring no medication or surgery.

For more information- call 1-855-HHC-HERE

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