What is PWR? Here’s why it is such a powerful tool in helping people with Parkinson’s!
PWR or Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery is a method of exercise delivered by a licensed PT designed to target the specific motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The method was developed by Becky Farley, who is the founder of the research-proven LSVT Big protocol. The hallmark difference between LSVT Big and PWR is that PWR is not delivered in a specific protocol model like LSVT Big. PWR can be matched to a patient’s specific needs and abilities. This makes it easier for us as certified therapists to evaluate a patient, identify precisely where they have difficulty in their daily lives, and prescribe the most specific exercise program possible. Because of this flexibility and variety of PWR moves, the exercises can also be easily mixed in with our boxing drills in group exercise class.
The exercises are full body and functional. A functional exercise means it does more than just make a muscle stronger or more flexible. The goal of a functional exercise is to help you do a task more easily. The PWR exercises are broken down into four categories: posture, reducing rigidity, weight shifting, and increasing the length and amplitude of a step. The exercises can be done in a variety of positions, from lying down to standing up. Once you have mastered the basic sequence of exercises, your therapist will develop new ways to challenge you by changing positions, changing the surface on which you are standing, or adding weights.
-Having difficulty rolling in bed? A PWR series focused on improving the rotation in your trunk while speeding up the movement in the lower body to help propel you from your back to your side.
-Does it take several attempts to get out of a chair? There is a PWR series that teaches you to shift your weight forward while at the same time strengthening the legs.
-Can’t lean forward to put something up on a high shelf? PWR can teach you to weight shift, balance, and strengthen your arms at the same time!
-Low endurance? The PWR exercises can be done in a series of flows which allows you to sustain the movements. Working at an elevated heart rate for longer periods of time makes your cardiovascular system more efficient and can help battle fatigue.
Traditional PT with exercise designed to isolate one muscle at a time might strengthen your muscles, but that’s all traditional exercise will do! Training with a series of PT prescribed PWR movements will allow the body to be trained as a unit to deliver results that translate into solving real-world movement problems.
Dr. Farley describes exercise as a physiological tool that promotes brain health, repair, adaptation, and behavioral recovery from the inside. When the right combination of exercise for function, done at a high rate of intensity, is prescribed, you can make positive changes to your brain function! PWR exercises promote neuroplasticity and these positive brain changes!
Both Lindsay Perez, MSPT, and Rachel Burger, DPT, are trained in the PWR method and can help you move better!