The Power of Parkinson Wellness Recovery (PWR!) for Parkinson’s Disease: Moves, Gym, and Surge

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Joseph Addison

“It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” Socrates

Introduction: After developing LSVT BIG® for her postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Becky Farley went on and started/founded Parkinson Wellness Recovery® (PWR!®) (click here for the website). With PWR!, Dr. Farley created some excellent Parkinson’s-specific exercises, which are named PWR!Moves®.  There are four basic PWR!Moves (Up, Rock, Twist, and Step), and they are performed with large amplitude, high effort, and attention to action in multiple postures (sitting, standing, on-all-4’s, prone, supine). PWR! is more than just exercising, it’s really a philosophy to live your life better in the presence of Parkinson’s. To learn more about PWR!Moves, click here.

Personal Disclaimer: I have no official relationship with PWR!; however, I have been certified to teach PWR!Moves. Clearly, I am a big fan of both the exercise routines and the overall philosophy of PWR! for treating people-with-Parkinson’s, just like me.

PWR!Moves exercises specifically target four skills shown by research to interfere with mobility in people with Parkinson’s (anti-gravity extension, weight shifting, axial mobility, and transitional movements).  Click here to get a nice introduction to all 20 PWR!Moves exercises.

To be fair, there are many other types of Parkinson’s-directed exercise programs, including: Rock Steady Boxing (click here to learn more); LSVT BIG (click here to learn more); Dance for PD (click here to learn more); LIM Yoga (click here to learn more); Tai Chi for PD (click here to learn more).  

Medical Disclaimer: Please consult with your Neurologist before beginning any new exercise routine, like PWR!Moves or any other listed here.

“True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.”Wilhelm Von Humboldt

The Power of PWR!Moves and Surge: I spent a week at the PWR!Gym in Tucson, Arizona working out in 5 individual 2-hour PWR!Moves and exercise sessions (Surge) with Jennifer Bazan-Wigle as my Physical Therapist/Coach, and with further emotional advising from my partner Susan. It may not sound like much, but a 5-day 2 hr/day schedule was both very intense and most enjoyable (definitely an incredible experience). In my opinion, you need someone there to help you effectively process the Surge week. Thankfully, Susan provided me with a tremendous amount of support/structure.

The following video uses still photos and motivational quotes to describe some of the feelings you’ll experience at the PWR!Gym. If you have the opportunity to do a Surge, I highly recommend it. The Power of Parkinson Wellness Recovery (PWR!) for Parkinson’s disease (click here to view video).

The PWR!Gym is just a gym. However, its sole purpose is Parkinson’s. Thus, the PWR!Gym feels both different and exceptional at the same time. This gym is focused on providing outstanding care and advice to anyone with Parkinson’s, and it just feels right.

“Attitude determines how well you do it.” Lou Holtz

Lessons Learned: PWR!Moves really can make a difference in your quality-of-life. A Physical Therapist like Jennifer can really make a difference in achieving your goal and supporting your journey. Finding a PWR!Moves-certified Physical Therapist (or a certified Personal Trainer) can help get you doing the exercises correctly, and they can help motivate you when it’s needed.

Jennifer spent the week working on a few focused goals and exercises to help me decrease rigidity and to increase axial mobility/overall flexibility. And she gave me a few simple phrases/keywords to remember and to use all-day-long.

Shown here are 3 composite videos, highlighting just a few of the PWR!Moves and stretches/related-exercises that Jennifer ‘prescribed’ for my workout (we made ~30-short video segments to help me navigate my detailed-daily workout plan):

(1) PWR! Gym Surge Week: Posture and Walking: Improvement in posture after a PWR! session; improvement in walking compared to earlier in the year and during day 3 on the Surge (click here to view video).

(2) The highlight of PWR! Moves from the Surge at the PWR! Gym: Some of the more important PWR!Moves from my workout plan (click here to view video).

(3) The Adaption of PWR! Moves and Stretches: Some of the PWR!-related exercises (and some stretches) using other devices like PVC pipe, rolled-up-towel, wall, and TRX (click here to view video).

“Look to the nervous system as the key to maximum health.” Galen

Future Goals:
•Learn from these lessons.
•Intensity matters.
•I need to, and I know I can work out longer and harder.
•Decreasing rigidity and increasing axial mobility/overall flexibility makes a global whole-body difference.
•Manage better some of my emotional and physical events that can seemingly and instantly negate the positive benefits of my exercise.
•Neuroplasticity takes both sustained effort and time to achieve change.
•Exercise is Medicine, and there is no substitute for it.

“Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times when the ‘hero’ within us is revealed.” Bob Riley

Closing Thoughts:
•Thanks to all of you that teach/use PWR!Moves and other forms of exercise with your Parkinson’s clients.
•Rest assured, your Parkinson’s clients may not always tell you, but you are really helping them to manage their disorder.
•And they may not ever mention it, but you matter to them, a lot.
•Thank you, Becky, for PWR!Moves and everything else you’ve done to help anyone with Parkinson’s. Just saying a simple thank you, seems so small compared to the largeness of your gift to this disorder.
•Thank you, Jennifer, for your continued participation in my health and battle against Parkinson’s. I can’t imagine having Parkinson’s without your advice and help.

“Live neither in the past nor in the future, but let each day absorb all your interest, energy and enthusiasm. The best preparation for tomorrow is to live today superbly well.” Sir William Osler

Cover Photo Credit:

7 Replies to “The Power of Parkinson Wellness Recovery (PWR!) for Parkinson’s Disease: Moves, Gym, and Surge”

  1. Hello. Agree 100% that PWR is effective. My dx was in 2007. Have been doing it since about 2008-ish. Met Dr Farley when she was quest speaker at British Columbia PD society 2008 AGM in Vancouver. Have been physically active all my life. Started doing the program at time(BIG movements)……then attended the first 2 PWR retreats 2011/12) in AZ. My wife’s comment….”I would not have believed the change in people had I not seen it with my own eyes”. There are now 50+ PWR trained PTs, OTs, exercise physiologists, BC registered fitness trainers across the province. The PWR program is the best thing going if done consistently. I do through NeutrofitBC. Can’t have an appointment each day with my neuro but can have a date with exercise 365 days a year. Thank you.


    1. John, Thank you for your note. I especially appreciate your comments about Dr. Farley and the PWR!Retreat. Like you, I have attended two in the past few years.However, this year was better timed to actually go to the gym for the Surge. Stay healthy and active! Frank


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: