Sep 25, 2013 by
The sportsman gets stiff leg muscles after a game. The businessman gets a stiff neck from the computer. A session with the Thumper massage machine brings relief; the muscles relax; blood circulation returns to normal and they feel fine. They go on with their lives, able to enjoy them to the full.
The Parkinson’s patient doesn’t just have a stiff muscle or group of muscles. Practically every muscle in their body, from head to toe, literally, is stiff and unyielding. They accept it. It’s one of the symptoms of this killer disease. Their walk becomes a shuffle as the muscles tighten and shorten in their legs and calves and they accept the progression as par for the course. Their back stiffens and movement becomes more difficult and painful. On the outside, they bear it bravely, accepting it as a normal step in their physical decline from a healthy individual to one facing a certain end. On the inside, only they can know the depth of the pain of the body’s slow down. Not just the physical pain, but the spiritual pain and suffering. Loved ones feel powerless and helpless as they see the disease taking its inevitable course. Everyone tries to make the best of the time left.
A depressing scenario, isn’t it? But it is one that is being acted out all over the world in many homes today. Does it have to be this way? The answer is yes – unless. It is that ‘unless’ that reveals a chink in this Goliath’s armour.
It is possible to categorise Parkinson’s sufferers into two categories: those who fight to maintain as normal a lifestyle as possible and those who give in to it and stop fighting.
While pharmaceutical companies are investing millions to produce expensive drugs that bring short-term relief, their toxicity is recognised as being very serious. It is accepted as a necessary side-effect to improving the quality of life of the patients in the short-term. The long-term prognosis remains unchanged and the patient just has a different battle to fight. Anti-oxidants can mitigate the negative effects of the drug to some extent but the stiffness and pain remain.
To counter the muscle problems, some turn to exercise – and it does have a positive effect. It slows the progression of the disease and can ease the pain somewhat. Horse riding has a very positive effect and hippotherapy can make a very significant difference in not only the stiffness and pain but on the drug dosage level needed by the patient, and thus the amount of toxins that flood the body.
The problem with both these courses of action is that not everybody can run to a gym or jump on a horse when they start getting stiff. Thus, effective though these routes may be, they can be somewhat impractical for most sufferers.
Here is where I get personal. My wife was diagnosed with Parkinson’s some 8 years ago, though, looking back on it, we could see the symptoms were there for many years prior to the diagnosis.
As a child and young person, she had grown up on a farm where DDT was routinely sprayed on the fields. She and her sisters regularly ate the poisoned food without any knowledge of its dangers. One sister has cancer, another MS, a third suffered a devastating aneurism. Their father died of cancer and their mother had Alzheimer’s. A rather high coincidence of disease. My wife also had a thyroid problem that should have required a removal of the gland but which she fought and beat with a herbal remedy, Thyroid Throu.
When we told the medical staff that we were going to fight this disease, we were met with a knowing sympathy. They had seen it all before – but the outcome was predictable.
We tried the methods I mentioned above: exercise and horse therapy. My wife was a champion rider in her youth and we went back to this sport and found it really helped. When she rode, she was without any symptoms. It is thought that the horses give off dopamine that the body can absorb. The movement of the horse gently – or, not so gently, massaged the body, easing the stiffness. The resulting improvement lasted several hours before the stiffness returned.
We had bought a cheap massage machine some years earlier and it was pressed into service. However, it was not up to the job and failed after a few weeks. Taking it apart, I saw its construction was so weak, it was a wonder it lasted as long as it did.
We checked the shops and tried a range of massage machines, only to reject them for their ineffectiveness, their poor construction or limitations. We scoured the Internet and saw a number of different alternatives but all fell into the same category as those we rejected, with the exception of the Thumper. (This is not an advert for the Thumper massager. Rather it is a testimonial to both its effectiveness and the professionalism of the company producing it.)
The first model was damaged in shipping. The company acted immediately, sending out replacement parts. Opening it up, I was impressed by its engineering in contrast to the others I had tried. It still didn’t seem to work quite right so, within a few days, we were in the receipt of a perfectly-working replacement free of charge. Customer service was of the same quality as their product.
My wife’s back had been very stiff and painful for years. Most nights were short and sleep broken numerous times as a result. We began using the Thumper. (We chose the Mini Pro in counsel with the company). Each time, it resulted in good feelings while it was being used – but the stiffness remained.
Within 4 weeks of regular nightly use, we were noticing a difference. Pain-free times were extending and we were getting more sleep. After 6 weeks, her back loosened up and we found we could get a full night’s sleep most nights. (A strange way to judge the effectiveness of the treatment, perhaps – but very noticeable for us!)
We were not out of the woods yet. With a recommended 20-minute limit on its use before taking a 20-minute break, we were using most of the time on her back alone. However, as her back eased up, we were able to move to other parts of the body. The typical Parkinson’s walk is gone, as the muscles of the legs and calves have softened and stretched under the Thumper’s pounding massage.
Of particular note was the effect when we used it on her feet. A feeling of wellness spread over the body, as each part of the foot was massaged. As we used the massager on arms, legs, back, and buttocks, a feeling of cleansing developed. At first, it was not particularly pleasant, as she felt a bit sick. However, having experienced the same symptoms when cleansing her Thyroid gland, she was able to recognise them and work through them.
Now, in addition to a healthy diet, exercise, and horse riding, we had another string to our bow in the fight against this disease, as the massager also helped cleanse the body of toxins.
Is my wife now well and free from Parkinson’s? No. Does she still experience muscle pain and stiffness? Yes. This is an ongoing battle. However, unlike those who just stiffen up and suffer, we are able to fight it at the moment of onset with the massager. This seems to be very important, as it prevents the stiffness spreading as the surrounding muscles try to compensate.
The stiffness seems to attack in the upper back, close to the spine first of all. Other muscles will individually stiffen up but, by using the massager, which is available at any time, this stiffness can be dealt with and her condition ameliorated.
It is like fighting a running battle with an unseen enemy who uses hit and run tactics – or rather hit and claim the territory. He only runs when we turn our artillery on him in a solid thumping session which pounds him out.
You might think this is a painful process and you would be right, at times. If we don’t use the massager early enough or she has had a particularly strenuous day and is very tired, it can be painful. The pain is generally short-lived as the massager softens the muscles. After that, it feels good and the relief from pain is very rewarding.
The Thumper is not a cure to Parkinson’s, as it is a cure for the sportsman’s or businessman’s stiff muscles. Rather, it is a powerful weapon in the armoury to fight the effects of this disease. I mentioned a strenuous day. She can have a strenuous day. Many sufferers can’t even think of more than a gentle one. Her quality of life has been improved considerably. We are under no illusions that the battle has been won by using a massager – but, in this case, the massager has proved more than equal to the task for which it was designed: softening muscle, relieving muscle pain and cleansing cell and tissue.
Disclaimer: Please remember to consult your doctor, consultant, or health care practitioner for more information.
I would be happy to answer any questions about our use of the massager via email: [email protected]
Andrew Fortune is a retired university professor and aid worker who now runs a charity in Iceland, whilst researching alternatives to drugs for people with neural diseases. He is also a writer, editor, and proofreader.