Fly Fishing Good Therapy for Parkinson’s Patients
My wife and I just enjoyed a fourth fantastic fly fishing experience at EPIC’s Alaska Wilderness SAFARI camp this year. Rus and his fellow guides made the seven days at camp very special. The experience has special meaning to me since I was diagnosed six years ago with Parkinson’s disease.
The fly fishing experience has healing effects which allow me to deal with the rigidity, balance and coordination issues brought on by Parkinson’s disease. A major problem for Parkinson’s patients is the inability to extend their arms and legs and to coordinate extremity movements. Fly fishing allows Parkinson’s patients to practice large movements in casting the fly rod, practice eye-hand coordination in handling the fly line and practice balance through wading in streams and rivers. Perfecting and practicing fly fishing techniques helps Parkinson’s patients deal with the major disabilities brought on by the disease.
The body movements in fly fishing are very similar to those that are part of a special exercise program for people with Parkinson’s disease. This Program was designed by a colleague and friend, Dr. Becky Farley in Tucson, Arizona. This exercise program is called Parkinson’s Wellness and Recovery (PWR).
After seven days of fly fishing in Alaska, I definitely feel more coordinated, less rigid and better balanced. I thank Rus and his guides for a truly healing fly fishing experience each time we visit the Alaska Wilderness SAFARI camp.
by Dr. Tim Bowden, Tucson, AZ