In keeping with our theme of “What You CAN Do”, we are deligthed to feature a blog post from Karl Robb, a blogger, Parkinson’s advocate, writer, inventor, speaker, photographer, and Reiki master. His new book, A Soft Voice in a Noisy World: A Guide to Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease is available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com in paperback and eBook formats.
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The diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) at the age of 23 was both frightening and yet, cathartic. I didn’t know what I had but part of me wondered if it might be a brain tumor. At such a young age, I was unaware of what PD was, but I knew that I was going to have to learn to live with it. My body was out of control. My feet shuffled, my posture was slouched, and my foot began to tremor for no apparent reason. I received my diagnosis over 20 years ago, after seeing nearly a dozen doctors. Had I known what I know now, I would have taken charge of my illness even sooner than I did.
Throughout my life, I have observed how PD poses unique issues for each individual that is struck with it. My book, A Soft Voice in a Noisy World: A Guide to Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease is a lifelong collection of tips, suggestions, and advice that has served me well. There is no doubt that illness limits our capabilities but it doesn’t mean that we don’t have options. Parkinson’s disease changes your life, but it doesn’t have to destroy it.
There is still so much that you can do. A proactive and investigative search into complementary therapies, stress relief techniques, and an overall health regimen may serve you well. What works for one may not be of benefit to another. Finding the modality that works for you is vital to your health and healing. For me, my life changed at the introduction to Reiki.
Fourteen years ago, I wasn’t looking for Reiki (a complementary therapy using light touch that reduces stress), but it found me. My friend and longtime teacher had just moved his practice less than a mile from my home in Virginia. Someone totally unrelated to Reiki and in another state gave me my teacher’s name. I was reluctant to investigate Reiki because it sounded so new age and indescribable.
Cautiously and a little reluctantly, I went to see what Reiki was all about. When my now teacher and dear friend explained the benefits of Reiki, it sounded too good to be true. As unconventional as Reiki sounded, I needed something to boost my energy, reduce my dyskinesia, and help me with my balance. I was willing to give it a try with little to lose.
I skeptically got on the massage table (fully clothed) and 90 minutes after my very first session, I was hooked. My body felt lighter, all my stress had faded away, I felt invigorated, and my walking showed improvement. Since the first treatment, I received numerous Reiki treatments and over 14 years, I have trained and learned to work on myself and others. For me, I know that Reiki has allowed me to do so much more. Reiki has not cured my PD but it has quelled many of the symptoms that plague PD patients.
Finding what works for you can take careful and thorough investigation. Therapies like yoga, acupuncture, massage, cranial sacral, Reiki, and others may help you and have little to no risk. Working with your doctor on the medical side and finding a complementary therapy may very well prove that there is more that you can do for yourself.