In this episode, I interview Dr. Chris Hageseth of Ft. Collins, Colorado. Dr. Hageseth is a retired physician and Marine flight surgeon, with decades of experience in the field of psychiatry. After receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease over five years ago and being dissatisfied with the cost and effects of his medications, he began investigating a wide-range of exercises and holistic bodymind practices. His regimen, which includes meditation, yoga, intensive exercise, and lots of walking, has allowed Dr. Hageseth to control his symptoms even without the use of medications. Please see below for a synopsis of the topics in our interview (including many useful links), which include Dr. Hageseth's personal regimen, the training he is now offering others, the experience of members of the Ft. Collins PD support group using medical marijuana, and the practice of mindfulness meditation.
Here is a synopsis of topics in our interview, including time markers for those who would like to skip to a particular topic.
Interview begins: Dr. Hageseth describes his symptoms and experience of diagnosis
- 6:00 minutes – looking at PD as a challenge instead of a sickness – experience with medications, aerobic exercise, yoga, and weightlifting
- 7:30 – Why yoga? – “I feel like I’m alive in every cell of my body… I woke up my proprioceptive system”
- 9:00 – experience with marijuana – Society of Cannabis Clinicians – the issue with THC and balance – anecdotal results from 32 people in the Ft. Collins PD support group: only 2 continued to use marijuana.
- 12:15 – using exercise and yoga as a treatment plan, without medications – Dr. Hageseth explains that PD isn’t just a movement disorder, it has many manifestations
- 14:15 – comparing yoga and tai chi - finding a good teacher – link to Tai Chi study in New England Journal of Medicine
- 15:15 – current regimen, how does he feel? Mindfulness practice – Jack Kornfield link, Jon Kabat-Zinn (Full Catastrophe Living) – 45 minutes of meditation, 15 minutes of yoga, virtually every morning – yoga classes at least 4 days a week – high-intensity trainings once a week – walking one hour per evening, six days a week, “the most important exercise”
- 18:30 – John Pepper and conscious walking – difference between Chris's and John’s techniques – the role of imagery in movement – link to ideokinesis.com
- 21:15 – Chris's website, explaining his training program and offerings, called 'Integrating the Bodymind': sweatingoutpd.com - the role of intensity in PD treatment – by last spring, Chris started checking out how he could be doing so well – DAT scan, checked out by two neurologists who confirm his PD
- 23:30 – neuroplasticity and Dr. Norman Doidge
- 26:20 – the question of case studies versus larger studies – Chris introduces his program, "integrating the bodymind"
- 27:30 – “the first move that got me on the track to feeling better, was what happened in my mind when I reinterpreted PD from a disease to a challenge” – description of Chris’s 7-week program, including the role of positive thinking, guided imagery/hypnosis, “mindful contemplation”
- 31:45 – the importance of training sinking into one’s daily life – how much training do you need for an intervention to stick
- 32:30 – what is it about mindfulness that is beneficial to PD? “Moment-to-moment awareness” – “I am correcting myself hundreds of times a day… I never judge myself, I am taking care of myself”
- 35:00 – benefits of mindfulness specific to PD, and also beyond it – a holistic wellbeing, appreciating aliveness – “I’m really glad that I’ve got Parkinson’s”
- 36:00 – sweatingoutpd.com , or google “sweating Parkinson’s disease”