July 14th, 2024

Dopamine boxing classes help Parkinson’s sufferers with life

By Lethbridge Herald on June 15, 2024.

Herald photo by Alexandra Noad Megan Welcer, Alyssa Edwards, Dean Stewart and Tysun Tallman are volunteer coaches for Lethbridge Dopamine Boxing.

Alexandra Noad

A local man is teaching boxing to people with Parkinson’s disease to help improve their quality of life.

In 2017 Christopher Campbell was asked by Dr. John Doan, dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Lethbridge, to create a boxing class for Parkinson’s disease. This style of boxing is known as dopamine boxing.

According to Parkinsonfoundation.org., dopamine boxing helps improve strength, posture, hand eye coordination, balance and reaction time.

Campbell says he has seen numerous examples of the benefits of dopamine boxing in practice.

“I can give you a number of examples off top of my head of people going from not be able to lift their head or dress themselves to their spouse having to join them because they are not able to keep up in their day-to-day,” said Campbell.

The dopamine boxing is also a practicum placement for university students and is the only Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s program south of Calgary.

Dean Stewart, a neuroscience student at the University of Lethbridge, says he gets to see people beyond their diagnosis.

“[Parkinson’s disease] is a neurodegenerative disorder, but it’s more than that. They’re people and they get to have this opportunity to work and learn and grow and participate in physical activity,” said Stewart.

Megan Walcer, a kinesiology grad, says her communication has improved by working with the clients.

“My communication skills have improved greatly. When you have to work one-on-one with someone, you have to make sure that they really understand what you’re saying. Good cue words and also building a great report with your clients is so important,” said Walcer

Walcer hopes to continue to work with people with limited mobility in the form of physiotherapy.

The classes are held three times weekly at Sik-Ooh-Kotoki Frienship Society a place that helps create programs for Indigenous youth.

For Tysun Tallman, a Blackfoot coach, says the boxing classes has helped connect him to his cultural roots.

“I think being here grounding my work in southern Alberta, I think there’s a real opportunity to change the world,” said Tallman.

Campbell also hosts evening boxing classes which are $30 a month, but are free for women and girls. He says he believes everyone should learn how to defend themselves.

“Having that comfort that you can at least eventually defend yourself or know how to protect yourself, instills A level of agency into people that that frees them up,” said Campbell.

Campbell hopes dopamine boxing in Lethbridge will survive him.

“I want this to be bigger than me. I want this to survive me,” said Campbell.

Campbell is currently working on opening a movement disorder centre in Fall 2024.

More information on dopamine boxing can be found at lethbridgedopamineboxing.ca

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My Partner, who is 66 years old, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last year. We noticed that he was experiencing hallucinations, slow movement, disturbed sleep, and twitchy hands and legs when at rest. He had to stop taking pramipexole (Sifrol), carbidopa/levodopa, and 2 mg of biperiden because of side effects. Our family doctor recommended a PD-5 treatment from naturalherbscentre. com, which my husband has been undergoing for several months now. Exercise has been very beneficial. He has shown great improvement with the treatment thus far. He is more active now, does more, and feels less apathetic. He has more energy and can do more activities in a day than he did before. As far as tremors I observe a progress, he improved drastically. I thought I would share my husband’s story in case it could be helpful, but ultimately you have to figure out what works best for you. Salutations and well wishes

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