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Parkinson’s Disease, a disorder of the central nervous system, affects 1 million people in America and 10 million worldwide. In Goodbye Parkinson’s, Hello Life! Alex Kerten presents his breakthrough holistic technique that combines dance therapy, behavior modification, and martial arts, to prove that there is life beyond the diagnosis of PD. Goodbye Parkinson’s, Hello life! received "Recommended Reading" status by the Michael J. Fox Foundation and listings on the National Parkinson's Association social media sites.
Those who follow Kerten's techniques and are committed to becoming “Parkinson’s warriors” can succeed in eliminating many, if not most, of their symptoms and return to a productive and fulfilling life. Instead of viewing themselves as Parkinson's victims, the methods in Goodbye Parkinson’s, Hello life! will lead them to become healthy people with Parkinson's. Includes 20 easy-to-follow exercises.
|Publisher:||Wiese, Michael Productions|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Alex Kerten has been researching anatomy and the physiology of behavior for over 30 years and treats clients with movement disorders, specializing in Parkinson’s Disease. He is the head of the Gyro-Kinetics studies at the Maccabe health Care Institute and founder and director of the Gyro-Kinetics Center in Herzliya, Israel. He also teaches at the Dr. A. Kalev center for Rehabilitating Structural Movements.
David Brinn is the managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, Israel’s leading English newspaper. A native of Portland, Maine, he lives in Ma’aleh Adumim with his wife Shelley. They have four children.
Read an Excerpt
Goodbye Parkinson's, Hello Life!
The Gyro-Kinetic Method for Eliminating Symptoms and Reclaiming Your Good Health
By Alex Kerten, David Brinn
Michael Wiese ProductionsCopyright © 2016 Alex Kerten
All rights reserved.
Receiving the Script
You're probably reading this because you – or someone who is close to you – have experienced some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease – the tremors, the freezing, the lack of control.
When you first went to a doctor and he examined you, he didn't give a chuckle and lightheartedly say, "Hey! Guess what? You've got Parkinson's, but there's no reason to worry."
Instead, he probably sat you down, and in a grim voice and with a sympathetic look, said, "I'm sorry to say that you have Parkinson's disease. This is a degenerative disease and your symptoms are going to get worse over time. Yes, we have medication that will slow the process down, but you should know that there are side effects involved."
That prognosis, quite rightfully, sounds like a death sentence – a movie script that ends in tragedy. What would be the natural reaction if someone received that kind of diagnosis? They'd go home, google Parkinson's, and get bombarded with ominous information and depressing photos and videos of Parkinson's sufferers and how they look and behave.
"THAT'S WHERE I'M GOING, THAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME!"
The script is now set in stone, and we, the actors, begin to play the role handed to us by the authority in the white coat. Our doctor has stamped our chart with Parkinson's – and he's stamped our soul with Parkinson's.
Without even noticing it, we begin to breathe less rhythmically, our facial expressions become more restrictive, our body language closes in or gets stuck, and before we know it, we've adopted the forms of Parkinson's. The result is that we've begun to act like a Parkinson's victim. Our performance is great – it could win us an Academy Award for the world's best actor with Parkinson's.
When Parkinson's symptoms rear their heads, we quickly lose our sense of self and our sense of confidence. We get stuck when we want to say something, we don't want to go out and meet people. We are afraid people are going to say, "Why are you looking at me like that?"
We're afraid that if we freeze, we'll hold up the line at the movie box office and we'll get razzed or snickered at. We are healthy people who have lost our movements and our rhythm. And we judge ourselves because of it.
Our behavior has become Parkinson's. It's marked on our body and fueled by scripts – stories generated in our mind that produce hormones in our body that cause us to behave even more like the Parkinson's victim that we are becoming. We live and breathe the behavior of fear, and we've acquired the chronic habits of Parkinson's.
It's time for us to say, "STOP!"
There's an alternative to the behavior of fear – it's the path of seeing the truth. We don't have to follow that script that compels us to enter the body forms and shapes of Parkinson's. Instead, we can learn to be Parkinson's warriors and break out of the harmful habits that have been slowly forming.
We can say, "No! I don't want that Parkinson's script anymore, I've been there and it's not for me."
That means we're going to learn how to feel good, we're going to learn about our body's rhythm and patterns, and pay attention to our body language and our facial expressions. By changing our script and eliminating our behavior of fear, we can bring ourselves back to a place where our natural movements dominate our Parkinson's movements.
We've unfortunately learned how to live with the forms of Parkinson's, but we also know how not to be in that position. We have lived without Parkinson's for much longer than we have lived with it. Even though it's much easier to behave like a sick patient than it is to behave like a healthy warrior, with dedication and the right attitude we can undo the chronic habitual behavior that our scripts and Parkinson's have thrust upon us.
We can bring ourselves to a new balance by becoming aware of our body language and the way it expresses itself with hormones through forms and feelings. We may put our faith in doctors or religion, but we also must take on the responsibility and put a little faith in ourselves. Doctors don't know better; we know better. But we don't always know that we have that ability. We aren't aware that we know how to "play" our body using the art of movement. Movement and body rhythms are the secret to feeling good and the basic element of life - movement is everything, for good or bad.
Once we know that, then we can change our relationship with our doctor – not as a desperate patient looking for a miracle cure, but as someone in control of the situation who needs some help. At that stage, the medication that doctors prescribe will be effective and beneficial.
We need to tell ourselves, "With my own help, I'm not going to be a slave to Parkinson's anymore."
Then something wonderful will happen. And we'll ask ourselves, "Where is the Parkinson's?"CHAPTER 2
The Parkinson's Warrior
My gift is my ability to look at people and, based on their behavior, understand if they are balanced in mind and body. I examine their breathing, the forms of their abdomen and chest, the way their eyes look, the stories that their brain passes down to them from past experiences ... and their future expectations of what Parkinson's is going to do to them.
Most of my clients are stuck inside these stories until there comes a certain point in our sessions when they realize something. The client looks at me differently, and I see a change in their body language, in their chest, abdomen, and eyes as it becomes clear to them.
"Wow, it is so obvious now. I brought Parkinson's upon myself."
One can develop PD through genetics or from being exposed to chemicals, but PD today is widely known to be a chronic disease brought on by our behavior. Therefore we first have to look into the chronic behavior patterns we've developed in order to begin diminishing the effects of PD on our bodies.
That's when we can go to work, and I can provide the tools to teach and guide the client out of their Parkinson's behavior. If we don't get to that place where we take responsibility for our own behavior, then it will always be a case of one step forward, one back – a constant zigzag. We must realize that medication, with its side effects, will not cure PD, but only delay it.
There are five stages of Parkinson's disease as defined by the medical establishment:
Stage 1: Parkinsonism
Parkinsonism means that you have Parkinson's but it's not professional Parkinson's. You have some symptoms but it doesn't have to develop or get worse and your condition doesn't have to deteriorate. At this stage, you can still change your Parkinson's script.
The symptoms are much more noticeable – stiffness, freezing, tremors, and trembling, a shift in gait, and changes in the facial expression are likely. There might be difficulty with balance and in retaining clear speech. The progress from Stage 1 to 2 can take months or even years – and if you've been able to change your script and learn how to communicate between the mind and body, it never has to get there.
Stages 3, 4, and 5
These stages of Parkinson's mark the major turning point in the progression of the disease. Daily tasks become more difficult, and your behavior patterns are unmistakably Parkinsonian.
Three Approaches to Parkinson's
I work with clients with all the stages of Parkinson's. But, regardless of their stage, there are three basic kinds of people who come to me.
Those who say, "I have pain. Take the pain away." I explain that I can take away the pain, but it will come back again and again. I help them to change their body language and their expressions – and the pain changes along with it. But they're unwilling or unable to change their Parkinson's script. So the pain and chronic habits will return.
The second type of clients are those who are willing to work just hard enough to maintain their current state.
"I don't have the energy or the time to do this on my own, but I will come to you once or twice a week. You do your brainwashing on me, and I'll do the exercises," they say.
They are resigned to the idea that Parkinson's is always going to have the upper hand.
The third type of clients are the Parkinson's warriors. They come to me to learn how to fight Parkinson's by taking responsibility through listening and speaking with their body. And they are ready to work every day on it at home, in between visits to me.
They are the ones who say, "I want to feel good."
That is such a basic and simple sentiment, but it's so important. If you're reading this, then you also want to feel good. And if you're a Parkinson's warrior, you can attain that goal.
MY DANCING WARRIOR
By SHMUEL MERHAV
Alex is my teacher, my guide, my coach, and my healer in my recovery journey. A year ago l was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. It took me a few months to decide that I wasn't ready to accept the verdict that says that this is an incurable disease, and I became determined to find a way to recover. After a few months of searching, I found Alex. Thank God for that.
Alex is a dancing warrior. He is teaching me to become a dancing warrior too. He teaches me to fight. He does it by fighting alongside me and by showing me how to fight. It is not an easy thing to do, because Parkinson's is a very tough opponent and because I tend to give in from time to time and feel sorry for myself.
In these cases, Parkinson's wins and takes over my body. That's when Alex needs to fight me – my Parkinsonian side – until I refuse to give in anymore, until I join him and start to fight my Parkinson's with him.
This is a very tricky task: How do you deal with someone's despair and resignation and turn him into a fighter again and again?
By fighting me, Alex can easily make me feel like he is my enemy – which makes me want to refuse to cooperate. Alex needs to fight me in a way that will make me trust him, follow him, and join him.
So he dances. He dances with me, with my fears, frustrations, shortcomings, and despair. He listens to me. He understands my body and my limitations, and he leads me – as great leading partners do – to start dancing with him, and to start fighting my Parkinson's with him, not against him.
Then and only then – when he sees that I am ready – he puts on some great music and makes me dance. I begin to dance by myself while Alex instructs me how to move my stiff limbs and body and how to let the music guide them.
In every encounter with him I get to know myself and my body, my possibilities and limitations and the ways I can break my own limits. And I actually break them. My body, hands, and legs achieve a range of motion that I thought I would not get to anymore. My back is less stuck, my range of facial expressions increases, the joy and vitality are coming back to me and my body, and my walking is more energetic and light. As homework, I free dance every morning for half an hour and I feel much, much better.
When I first met with him, Alex did not promise to cure me of Parkinson's but opened a whole new way of relating to it, to my body and to the new situation.
In the first diagnostic meeting with Alex he said, "What I see in you, Shmulik, is 80% panic and anxiety and 20% Parkinson's. You are not breathing because of the panic. It causes your diaphragm to be stuck, and all the muscles in your back, shoulders, and arms adapt themselves to your locked diaphragm. We will begin to release your body from the panic and anxiety, and only then we will deal with the Parkinson's disease."
Alex explained to me that my anxiety did not result from Parkinson's disease, but an old anxiety that has been with me for years, to which the Parkinson's simply attaches itself. I understood well what he was talking about because I was aware of this anxiety, which has accompanied me for a long time. I told him, "If by working with you, I can succeed in freeing myself of this anxiety – I will thank God for Parkinson's."
And this is what is happening. Working with Alex has freed me from the panic and anxiety.
It is clear to me now that the Parkinson's is telling me: "If you do not start to live a full life, balanced, where your whole body participates, your Parkinson's disease will get worse. You will be stiffer, slower, shake more."
Parkinson's is the last call for me to live ... to enjoy ... to feel good in my body. Alex teaches me how to do it and I happily oblige.
I find that my body is now moving in ways that I thought were not possible anymore. And I realize that through the dances and the movements of daily behavior, I am succeeding in my fight against Parkinson's. I have begun to learn how to become a dancing warrior myself, just like my great teacher.
Shmuel Merhav is a management consultant and facilitator, working with CEOs and management teams.CHAPTER 3
How to Use This Book
It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me... And I'm feelin' ... good.
– Nina Simone
The information presented in this book is based on years of research, work with hundreds of clients, and with my ongoing success with people afflicted with Parkinson's.
Used in complement with your medication program, it can show you the way to a much healthier life and state of mind.
You will learn how to feel good. And take it from me nobody can argue with you when you feel good.
You will learn about certain behavior patterns that create chemical imbalances that take you away from your home-base center of balance and contentment. And you will learn how to regain that center by synchronizing your thoughts and your actions.
You will also learn that we are all actors, and life is a movie that we're acting every day. Part of our brain provides the script and another part directs the actor – the body – how to act according to that script. You will learn how to listen to what your body is telling you instead of what your brain is telling you. And you will learn how the mind, which has filled you with endless anxiety-filled scripts, can actually be the body's best friend and return it to a balanced state.
You'll learn how to be aware of the constant processing of these anxiety-filled scripts in your mind that lead us away from our home base. You'll understand how to stop them and how to be in the present – a state of mind that lowers your anxiety and can reduce your Parkinson's symptoms.
You will learn a series of exercises that will put you in touch with your body and the forms it takes and we'll explain the biological reasons behind those forms. Through focusing on breathing, movement, self-massage, conducting, and improvised dancing, you will learn how to regain your abilities that have been curtailed by Parkinson's – and with time these exercises will become part of your subconscious behavior patterns.
The art of movement, conducting, and changing your body language and facial expressions are all integral parts of an actor's repertoire. Taking on healthy body forms can in turn lead to a healthy body. If you can communicate health with your posture, your body language, and your facial expressions using the exercises in this book, it can lead you toward feeling healthy.
If you can't do an exercise at first, don't despair. The more you do and the more you include them in a regular schedule, the easier they will become. Using the information and basics provided here, you can build your own programs to enable you to customize according to your needs and capabilities.
Use this book as a guide that can be followed word by word and exercise by exercise – or take from it whatever you need to help you cope and overcome whatever difficulties you are facing on a particular day.
Parkinson's sufferers have good days and bad days, and sometimes you may want to concentrate on your breathing when you're trembling. Other days, you might want to focus on conducting and improvised dance to evict the forms of Parkinson's from your body.
Excerpted from Goodbye Parkinson's, Hello Life! by Alex Kerten, David Brinn. Copyright © 2016 Alex Kerten. Excerpted by permission of Michael Wiese Productions.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword Dr. Marieta Anca-Herschkovitsch ix
Introduction - The Arts of Healing Movements: Alex's story xiv
Snapshot of a Session - New Hope with Gyro-Kinetics David Brinn xix
Section 1 Getting Ready
1 Receiving the Script 1
2 The Parkinson's Warrior: My Dancing Warrior Shmuel Merhav 7
3 How to Use This Book 13
4 What Is Parkinson's? 15
5 Our Alpha and Beta States of Being 21
6 Where Do Our Scripts Come From? 25
7 The Third Hemisphere: The Body 28
8 Physiology of Behavior 33
9 Living in the Present 38
10 Regaining the Middle 40
11 Replacing the Parkinson's Script 42
12 The Mind: From an Enemy to a True Friend 44
13 Percentage of Parkinson's 49
Section 2 The Exercises
14 Introduction to the Exercises: The Body Forms 55
15 Exercises for Life 67
Exercise 1 Breathing 71
Exercise 2 Hands and Facial Expressions 78
Exercise 3 Conducting 85
Exercise 4 Conducting Inward / Internal Massage 92
Exercise 5 Art of Movement / Free Dancing 99
Exercise 6 The Spring Theory 105
Exercise 7 The Body Player 111
Exercise 8 Putting It All Together 117
Exercise 9 How To Sleep - An Excursion to Your Body 125
Exercise 10 Beginners 132
Exercise 11 Intermediate 136
Exercise 12 Advanced 140
Exercise 13 Finishing Up 144
Losing My Walker Doris Coronel 147
Section 3 Keep Going!
16 Where Does Medication Fit In? 151
17 The Role of Music 158
18 The Role of the Spouse/Caregiver 162
19 Helpful Tips 167
20 Conclusion: Making It Pan of Your Life 173
Section 4 Additional Reading
Appendix The Science 179
Bibliography/Reference Works for Further Reading 194
A Message from the Publisher 198
About the Authors 204