Knowledge Bank

Therapy hope for those with Parkinson's

A new therapy is being developed for those with Parkinson’s disease which has had some success in trials, in reducing symptoms.

It’s called gene therapy, and it involves inserting a new gene into the brains of Parkinson's patients.

The idea behind the therapy is to replace faulty genes or augment the activity of beneficial genes, but safety and efficacy concerns have held back the field, which first emerged some 20 years ago. An Arizona teenager died in a 1999 gene therapy trial, while in another two people developed leukemia as a result of such treatment.

However, this more recent trial has proved to be much more successful. But because of safety concerns, it will take some time before Parkinson’s sufferers will have this gene therapy, or one very much like it, available to them.

In the meantime, there are therapies that are safer and easier to come by which have helped those with Parkinson’s. One of those is deep tissue bodywork therapy.

What is deep tissue bodywork therapy?

Deep tissue bodywork, or deep tissue massage therapy as it is also known, is a form of massage categorised as an alternative medicine which involves more focused massage, working on one particular part of the body.

There are several versions of deep tissue bodywork therapy practised today, but the founder is said to be Therese C. Pfrimmer who, in 1946, developed a partial body paralysis which she was able to ‘massage out’ using her own unique technique. Pfrimmer did not previously have any experience with massage therapy, though this encouraged her to do so and she became very recognised in the field. Her technique became known as Pfrimmer Deep Muscle Therapy.

How does deep tissue bodywork therapy work?

Deep tissue bodywork therapy is a more focused form of massage than general massage therapies because it concentrates on the muscles which are situated deeper within our bodies and their connecting tissues.

Deep tissue bodywork therapy is not used as a general relaxant, as conventional massage is, but is focused on specific injuries or problems. The conditions commonly treated by deep tissue bodywork therapy include repetitive strain injury, sports injuries and other injuries, osteoarthritis pains, chronic pain and postural problems to name a few. It is also suggested that it can be used to treat other, more serious underlying conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s and muscular dystrophy.

To learn more about therapies which may help those with Parkinson’s disease, go to The Therapy Book.