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Parkinsons disease (PD) is a chronic and progressive movement disorder. The symptoms continue and worsen over time. As many as one million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease, which is more than the combined number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Incidence of Parkinson’s increases with age, but an estimated four percent of people with PD are diagnosed before the age of 50. The cause is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options to help manage its symptoms.
Parkinsons Drum Circle Therapy
In a previous article we noted that physical therapy can improve motor function in patients with PD. In that article we discussed the effectiveness of boxing training in improving motor function in PD patients. Another modality is to improve motor skills through playing drums and other rhythmic instruments. Drumming has long been a part of traditional healing rituals worldwide and is increasingly being utilized as a therapeutic strategy. Recent studies have demonstrated this improvement.*
One study assessed feasibility and effects of twice-weekly group West African drum circle classes for 6 weeks on PD patients.** They measured quality of life, symptoms, motor findings, cognition, and mood. Ten patients with PD were recruited into the drum circle group. Ten patients with PD were matched with each of the drum circle participants as the control group. Both groups completed the PD-specific Parkinson Disease Questionnaire quality of life assessment and the Geriatric Depression Scale and underwent motor and cognitive assessments. Drummers had significantly improved scores, whereas the control group’s scores were unchanged. The conclusion was that drum circle classes significantly and reversibly improved quality of life in patients with PD. Click here for more information on Music Therapy.
*Clinical Social Work Journal June 2016, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 179–185
**Movement Disorders Volume 3, Issue 3 May/June 2016 Pages 243–249