The symptoms of Parkinson’s are mainly due to a lack of dopamine-producing neurons caused by the breakdown of specific brain cells. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, and it is what the brain cells use to communicate. Without it, the brain uses the ability to control areas of the body.
This condition begins gradually, and it affects the nervous system. The symptoms are different for everyone. However, the most noticeable sign in the early stages is usually a tremor in one hand, which can progress into slow movements and stiffness of the body. The risk of developing Parkinson’s gets higher with age, and it is most prominent in men. In the later stages of Parkinson’s, people can develop depression and symptoms that seem like dementia.
The tremors in the case of Parkinson’s happen when the body is at rest, unlike essential tremors, which occur when the body is moving. The loss of motor movements can cause symptoms like drooling, trouble swallowing, and lack of facial expressions. Other symptoms include changes in speech and writing. Some automatic actions, like blinking and smiling, can be lost.
The only confirmed cause of Parkinson’s is genetics. When genetics do not cause the condition, it is considered idiopathic. However, risk factors include exposure to toxins and poisons, certain medications, damage from high-impact sports injuries, and encephalitis.
Acupuncture is widely used as a complementary therapy for people with Parkinson’s because it can effectively reduce symptoms and has neuroprotective effects. It can help with the release of monoamides which includes dopamine. Research has shown that using electroacupuncture or manual stimulation of the needles can influence neurotransmitter activity and reduce oxidative stress by increasing the number of intracellular antioxidants. Additionally, through the regulation of intestinal flora, acupuncture can help in the reduction of neuroinflammation.
At Acupuncture Zen in Delray Beach, other natural therapies like Photobiomodulation (PBM) can be used to decrease oxidative stress with the red-light therapy of 660 nm and 850 nm. The treatment consists of using the Novothor table, the same that is used by US Navy Seals and Special Forces to improve wellness and promote recovery with some side benefits of stress reduction and enhancing mindfulness during the treatment with the red light. This same light system of Novothor is also used by celebrities and athletes. You can experience this in downtown Delray at Dr. Tony Willcox’s Acupuncture Zen.