Acupuncture and Parkinson's - Steve's story

Steve is 59 and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015. He shares how daily acupuncture helps him manage his symptoms. 

By the time I visited my GP, my handwriting had become smaller and smaller. I was also noticing my muscles felt stiffer, especially getting out of bed in the morning and when I walked, my arms weren’t swinging as much. 

When my doctor saw me walk, he went from jovial and happy to very intense. He thought he had seen signs of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and he arranged an urgent referral for me. Over the next year I clambered in and out of some wondrous machinery for various tests and scans. 

When the needles are in, I can feel a tingling sensation, but nothing too unpleasant!

At home, I’m not just lucky that my wife, RongRong, is wonderful, but she is also trained in acupuncture and acupressure and began giving me this treatment daily.

But as a diagnosis of MND became less certain, I was given levodopa. I felt like I could fly - it had an immediate effect. I didn’t want the acupuncture to mask the effects of the medication so I did take a break for a couple of weeks.

Since that short break, I’ve not been brave enough to stop daily sessions. For me, I feel that the overall benefit builds up.

I will usually have needles inserted on my head, forearm, lower legs and feet. Sometimes I have them on my back too. 

A session will normally last about 30 to 45 minutes depending on how many needles I have inserted. It’s usually between 10 or 20, but can vary if I’m having a Parkinson’s ‘on’ day or an ‘off’ day. When the needles are in, I can feel a tingling sensation, but nothing too unpleasant!

Steve and RongRong
Steve and RongRong

25 years ago, I had a bad back and RongRong gave me some acupuncture at the time, but my general thoughts on the therapy were similar to my ideas on spiritualist meetings. That is, I had a healthy scepticism, combined with being open to - and receptive of - new, previously untried ideas which may be of great benefit. 

After an acupuncture session, I’m definitely not as rigid. I mostly have sessions in the evening before bed, so it helps me to relax and I find I sleep much better. A good night’s sleep also really helps me with my energy levels the next day.

For me, acupuncture is nothing ventured, nothing gained!  

Read more about complementary therapies for Parkinson's.