Boxing Classes Help Parkinson's Patients

Boxing Club in Newbury Park is helping Parkinson’s patients get their lives back.

By Dr. Bruce Hensel
|  Friday, May 16, 2014  |  Updated 10:23 PM PDT
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A local gym is helping people with Parkinson's Disease in a unique way; using boxing training as therapy. NBC4's Dr. Bruce Hensel visited TITLE Boxing Club Friday, May 16, 2014, in Newbury Park and met a woman is defying the odds one punch at a time.

Dr. Bruce Hensel, Matthew Glasser

A local gym is helping people with Parkinson's Disease in a unique way; using boxing training as therapy. NBC4's Dr. Bruce Hensel visited TITLE Boxing Club Friday, May 16, 2014, in Newbury Park and met a woman is defying the odds one punch at a time.

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At first blush that might seem strange. The disease causes so many problems with movement and boxing requires such active motion.

But, Dr. Bruce says, it turns out, active motion as we see in boxing actually helps both the brains and the muscles of Parkinsons patients.

One of those patients, Jennifer Parkinson, was severely limited by her symptoms before she started the classes.

That all changed with the calluses.

"When I box, I feel like I have complete control back over my life again," she said. "And, it feels so good just to be able to hit … and when I’m on that bag, it’s just me and the bag. Nobody else around.

"And it's, I feel like the bag is Parkinson's. So, I’m just beating the heck out of it."

Trainer Josh Ripley says Parkinson is not alone:

"We get a full range of Parkinson’s patients here. Everyone from early diagnosis to having dealt with the disease for multiple, many years."

"With boxing, the large movements that are centered around the core, forces the Parkinson’s patients to use those extremities that get lost with the disease. The boxing forces them and makes them use those movements."

Jennifer Parkinson says the simple classes had long-term effects on the on the disease and on her life.

"Most of the time I notice no tremor, whatsoever," she said. "It’s given me back everything that I feel like I lost."

Dr. Bruce cautions that the classes are not for everyone:

"People need clearance from their doctors first but if its safe for them; it can change their lives."

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