Why is Aikido a good match for People with Parkinson’s?

Exercise is great for all of us. Finding a movement practice you enjoy is key to sticking with regular exercise. August offers several great opportunities to discover the benefits of Aikido practice for people of all walks of life, including people living with a movement disorder such as Parkinson's disease.

 

 PRO, 8880 Southwest Nimbus Avenue #B, Beaverton, OR 97008

PRO, 8880 Southwest Nimbus Avenue #B, Beaverton, OR 97008

 

All events presented by Suzane Van Amburgh, Chief Instructor of Aikido Multnomah Aikikai, Portland Oregon. Van Amburgh is certified in the Brian Grant Foundation's Exercise for Parkinson's Training, developed in conjunction with OHSU. See full biography below.*

 

 Brian Grant and Jennifer Wilhelm of OHSU: Exercise for Parkinson's Training

Brian Grant and Jennifer Wilhelm of OHSU: Exercise for Parkinson's Training

Why is Aikido a good match for People with Parkinson’s?

Aikido practice is a good match for people with Parkinsons Disease (PD) because it includes so many of the components recommended to address typical PD constraints. 

Aikido includes:

  • Big flowing movements, weight shifts, turning, footwork, whole body motion.
  • Spinal extension, opening of the chest, full breathing exercises, large arm movements, stretching and strengthening movements resulting in improved posture and stronger legs.
  • Reciprocal motions: arm movements coordinated with leg movements. Rotation in hips and torso, awareness of the shoulder-to-hip diagonal across the back.
  • Focus, challenge, engagement, purposeful action, functional movements.
  • Imagination, visualization, forming intention, internal rhythm and timing, whole body organization to initiate action. 
  • Sensory integration: practice on a mat surface, kinesthetic learning, instruction in the use of the eyes during movement, attention to improving proprioception.
  • Cognitive challenges: paying attention to several things at once, attending to how you initiate movement, planning, remembering a sequence, recognizing patterns.
  • Camaraderie, good humor, cooperative, atmosphere, fun.

Aikido may provide something different and complementary to your weekly exercise routine. Aikido offers: 

  • Study of the elements of balance and coordination within a martial context.
  • Traditional weapons handling: sword or jo staff practice.
  • Definitive feedback in a cooperative, haptic encounter with your practice partner.
  • Option to embrace a Samurai spirit or Bushido approach to life.
 Suzane Van Amburgh Sensei, practicing with wooden bokken

Suzane Van Amburgh Sensei, practicing with wooden bokken

*Instructor: Suzane Van Amburgh

Suzane Van Amburgh has studied human balance and coordination of movement for over 30 years. Her approach in teaching is to create a learning environment where the student can discover themselves in movement. She is a certified Aikido instructor (Birankai shidoin, 5th degree black belt), a somatic educator (graduate of the Feldenkrais® Institute of Bend), and she completed the Exercise for Parkinson’s Professional Training (Brian Grant Foundation/OHSU collaboration).

In a clinical setting, Van Amburgh served as Balance Program Coordinator, conducting tests in postural stability and videonystagmography for patients at risk of falling. She provided follow up, balance training sessions tailored to the skill level of the patient. 

Educational Director and Chief Instructor of Aikido Multnomah Aikikai in Portland Oregon, Van Amburgh oversees the training, dojo culture and development of students in the martial way of Aikido. Public workshops and class series are scheduled periodically.

Learn more and discover the movement practice that's right for you:

 

Find your practice!