Research shows that in addition to medications, there are some activities that ease motor symptoms and improve the quality of life of those diagnosed with Parkinson's.
Through studies Dr Julie H. Carter, Professor of Neurology at Oregon Health & Science University and Associate Director at the OHSU Parkinson Centre of Oregon, states that an individual can have some control over the symptoms of Parkinson's by teaching the brain to change and adapt to new circumstances, an ability called neuroplasticity.
Scientific evidence now suggests that certain activities - exercise, social connectedness and creativity - may not only be therapeutic for Parkinson's symptoms, but may actually change the brain and allow it to form new pathways of communication among brain cells.
This research builds on that of Professor Lakke, a Dutch neurologist who found that creativity or originality of artists who developed Parkinson's was not impoverished, and in fact artists remained amazingly productive despite considerable and limiting motor fluctuations. Professor Lakke suggested that autocuing, or using clues and triggers to initiate activity, might be circumventing the impaired motor programmes. This concept is being explored in depth by the Movement Disorder Clinic in Melbourne, Australia and the Conductive Education Centre in Birmingham, UK.
The TPwP program supports the findings of these areas of research.
A recent qualitative study by Sally Schofield examines 'Group Art as a Therapy for People with Parkinson's. In this work, Ms Schofield references the the Tingey Painting with Parkinsons program. The outcome of her project is 'the proposal that group art therapy can help redress a break with the sense of self brought on by receiving a diagnosis of a long-term progressive condition through offering a space in which the person can actively explore their experience and experiment with new ways of being and of interacting with others'. Thesis below.