Parkinson’s Sound Therapy
Parkinson’s sound therapy is an increasingly popular and innovative treatment for movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease (PD) and essential tremor. It utilizes sound to promote physical, emotional, mental, and social wellbeing alongside medications.
Music therapy, rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS), and sound vibration have all been found to be successful in treating various symptoms associated with Parkinson’s Disease. Furthermore, research indicates that music therapy has a beneficial effect on cognitive functions like attention, flexibility, and speed of processing.
Speech and communication issues are common in Parkinson’s, making it challenging to speak loudly and clearly, pronounce words accurately, swallow food items and express facial expressions. A certified speech-language pathologist can assist you in improving your voice quality as well as other communication abilities.
LSVT LOUD is a voice therapy program specifically tailored for people with Parkinson’s. It helps you speak more clearly at normal volume so others can hear and understand what you say. The exercises in the program are customized to strengthen your larynx (voice box) and speech system so that you speak with more control and comfort.
The University of Virginia (UVA) is among a select few centers in America able to offer focused ultrasound, an FDA-approved noninvasive procedure that can reduce tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor. This technology directs beams of high-energy sound deep into the brain in an effort to heat and destroy cells causing tremors as well as dyskinesias – involuntary movements – that cause these symptoms.
Though the causes of tremor and dyskinesia cannot be remedied, focused ultrasound has the potential to reduce symptoms, enhance quality of life and lower healthcare costs. Unlike surgery, focused ultrasound requires no incisions or holes in the skull and is minimally invasive – decreasing risks of infection or blood clots.
Music and other types of sound therapy have been known to have positive effects on mood, cognition and energy levels. The sounds used in this form of therapy stimulate the frontal lobes to enhance their function.
Music, particularly singing, has long been recognized for its beneficial effects on those living with Parkinson’s disease. Studies have demonstrated that music can reduce tremors and agitation in those suffering from PD, as well as potentially elevating their moods.
Walking with music can be especially beneficial to patients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) since it helps them align their movements to the rhythm of the song they’re listening to, alleviating stiffness and other symptoms associated with PD.
Other advantages of rhythmic auditory stimulation include increased motivation, coordination and energy. It also improves vocal tone and modulation which may contribute to an uptick in mood and positivity.
Around the country, there are many dance and movement programs, choirs and singing classes tailored specifically for people living with Parkinson’s. Reach out to your local APDA chapter or Information and Referral Center to locate one near you.