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La. Tech offers dance therapy for people with Parkinson’s disease

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 9:09 PM CDT
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RUSTON, La. (KNOE) - Louisiana Tech is offering resources for people with Parkinson’s disease. They already offer boxing classes, but now they have added a dance class.

Experts say dancing and the power of music can slow the progression of Parkinson’s. That’s why Louisiana Tech is helping people suffering from the disease get on the dance floor.

The music and movement program at Louisiana Tech is a dance class for people battling Parkinson’s disease.

The director of Louisiana Tech’s Parkinson Resource Center said research shows a combination of music, dance, and social interaction help slow the progression of the disease.

“It involves the physical activity. It involves social interaction and it involves the mental stimulation. So that combination is really, has really been shown to slow progression and even improve mobility, coordination, balance, things that folks with Parkinson’s disease struggle with,” said Donna Hood, the director of Louisiana Tech’s Parkinson Resource Center.

Donna Hood says the university also offers a boxing class on Wednesdays for people with Parkinson’s. She said the day after their boxing workout on Tuesday, they can relax their bodies by dancing on Wednesday.

“And to have that on Tuesday, there’s the soreness involved to be able to come and do the dance where we’ve got slow controlled stretching kind of movements. And including that with inspiring music is really a great complement to the Rocksteady program.”

James Sanders attends the classes every week. He said the classes allow him to fight back against Parkinson’s.

“Parkinson’s knocks you down in the ring, then you got to realize they don’t got a cure for this disease. How do I fight back? This gives you a point in which you can fight back and make it through life,” said Sanders.

Larry Neal was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2016. He said the dance class is fun and allows him to socialize with other people who have the disease.

“Probably the most beneficial part of this group is the camaraderie that comes from these people being together.”

Hood said Louisiana Tech is looking for more ways to help and bring people with Parkinson’s together. She said they are currently working on a voice program with Tech’s speech pathology group. If you or someone you know has Parkinson’s, members of the dance class encourage you to attend.

“Music and movement” meet every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m at the Lambright Sports and Wellness Center.

“Rocksteady boxing” is every Tuesday and Thursday at the Lambright Sports and Wellness Center, also from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

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