Holladay Healthcare has been developing programs to assist people with Parkinson’s disease. We currently provide both the LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD therapy treatment approaches by licensed and certified PTs, PTA and SLP. These approaches focus on improving amplitude of motor movements and voice projections, due to the decrease of these processes associated with Parkinson’s disease.

To go along with our LSVT therapy, Holladay Healthcare started providing tai chi classes to the community last year. We have been working with the Mountain West Parkinson Initiative (formerly known as the Utah Parkinson Association) to help increase awareness of these classes.

Tai chi involves a series of slow, rhythmic, meditative body movements that were originally designed to promote inner peace and calm. There are many benefits of performing tai chi, including balance/fall prevention, strength, flexibility, endurance, coordination, gait and decreased stress.

There are quite a few research studies being published about the benefits of tai chi as a viable exercise routine for people with Parkinson’s disease. For example, a randomized control trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2012 researched the use of tai chi to improve postural stability for fall prevention. This study performed tai chi twice a week for 24 weeks and compared it with two other groups who performed a resistance training program or a stretching program.

Their results showed that the tai chi group performed better than the other two groups in their primary outcomes of maximum excursion and directional control. Tai chi outperformed the resistance group in stride length and functional reach; it also outperformed the stretching group in all secondary outcomes, which included stride length, knee extension/flexion strength, functional reach, and timed up and go test. Patients who participated in the tai chi group also had fewer reported falls during the study compared to the other groups. The gains made during the 24-week study were maintained three months following the study.

Here at Holladay Healthcare, we have been able to offer tai chi once a week for eight weeks. We are finishing our fifth class and have been able to help several people in our area with Parkinson’s disease. The community is starting to recognize us as a center to provide Parkinson’s treatment. Holladay Healthcare presented tai chi on Oct. 22 at the Mountain West Parkinson Initiative’s annual Parkinson Symposium.

References:
  1. http://www.medicinenet.com/tai_chi/article.htm
  2. Li F, Harmer P, Fitzgerald K, et al. Tai Chi and Postural Stability in Patients with Parkinson’s disease. N Engl J Med 2012;366:511-9
By Jeremy McCorristin, PT/DPT and DOR, Holladay Healthcare, Salt Lake City, UT