5 Lifestyle Strategies for Parkinson's: Yes or No?

Many people are interested in trying complementary health approaches. Discuss with your doctor if you might benefit from adding any of these to your regimen. Meanwhile, learn what research has found out about these popular possibilities.

Tai chi class of seniors practicing in the park.
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Tai chi

This centuries-old mind and body practice combines certain postures and gentle movements with mental focus, breathing, and relaxation. The movements can be practiced while walking, standing, or sitting. There is some evidence - based on randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses - that tai chi may improve balance, stability, and mobility, and lessen the risk of falling.

Seniors in a dance class.
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Dance

Ready to channel your inner Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers? Exercise is crucial for everyone, at every age and in any condition, and finding an enjoyable activity might keep you motived to stick with it. Dance has many of the qualities that are important in Parkinson's-specific exercise: it is performed to music, it teaches useful movements, and it addresses balance, strength, gait, flexibility, and cognitive performance. And if you really swing, you can do your heart some good. Enlist a buddy and you'll double the fun.

Acupuncture treatment.
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Acupuncture

While clinical studies in China have shown a positive benefit of acupuncture in treating symptoms of Parkinson's, large and well-controlled trials have yet to be conducted in the United States. The American Academy of Neurology concluded that there is not enough evidence to either support or refute the use of acupuncture for Parkinson's.

Woman smiling while getting a massage.
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Massage

Many people with Parkinson's disease try massage as a way to lessen such symptoms as pain and rigidity, and it's generally safe and well-tolerated when performed by a licensed practitioner. While some studies suggest that massage therapy treatment can have a positive effect on reducing tremor and temporarily reducing rigidity, the American Academy of Neurology has so far found insufficient evidence to either support or refute such manual therapies as massage, biofeedback, or Alexander technique in the treatment of Parkinson's.

Various dietary supplements.
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Dietary supplements

The research is still inconclusive, but so far, supplements - such as coenzyme Q10 and creatine - have not been found to help control symptoms.

Avery Hurt
Meet Our Writer
Avery Hurt

Avery Hurt has written health and science articles for many years for a variety of publications including Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, Eating Well, Health, Medical Economics, and Physicians Practice. She is the author of Bullet with Your Name on It: What You Will Probably Die from and What You Can Do about It, and numerous books for young readers.