Rock Steady Boxing Helps Patients Fight Back against Parkinson’s
At Columbus Community Hospital (CCH) Rehabilitative Services, our experts are proud of our comprehensive Parkinson’s Wellness Program. The program offers innovative services to help people who are affected by Parkinson’s disease (PD), as well as services to help educate and support PD patients’ families, who are often their caregivers.
Staff members are excited to announce a new feature which will be added to this extensive program. Rehabilitative Services will now be offering Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) classes at the Columbus Wellness Center for patients who would like to try a new approach to fighting back against Parkinson’s.
A New Tool to Fight Parkinson’s
Rock Steady Boxing is an international nonprofit organization based in Indianapolis. It has more than 740 affiliate programs and it gives people with PD hope by improving their quality of life through a noncontact, boxing-based fitness curriculum.
“Our Parkinson’s support group members have been asking about Rock Steady Boxing for years,” said Michell Ruskamp, speech language pathologist and assistant director of Rehabilitative Services.
The classes have proven that anyone, at any level of Parkinson’s, can lessen their symptoms and lead a healthier and happier life.
“This new activity will give our patients another tool in their toolbox to add to their overall well-being and help them fight the disease,” she said.
During the classes, exercises are adapted from boxing drills. They vary in purpose and form, but all of them are rigorous and are intended to delay or stop the loss of the participants’ functional abilities.
Helping Both Physically and Mentally
Studies have suggested that certain kinds of exercise may be neuro-protective, actually slowing disease progression. There is evidence that participants in all stages of Parkinson’s are able to make progress in the RSB program. However, referral for therapy and exercise early after diagnosis has been shown to best delay the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
“It’s a different avenue from a therapy perspective than what I’m used to,” said Matt Wesch, PT, DPT. Wesch is one of two physical therapists from Columbus who are now certified to coach Rock Steady Boxing classes. “It’s more intense than what I’m used to and I think it’s good. It helps patients get out of their comfort zones and push themselves.”
Wesch added that the program offers freedom, motivation and purpose for anyone who has been diagnosed with PD, also mentioning that participants walk away with a sense of pride after each class.
Brittany Zoucha, PT, DPT, is also certified to teach RSB classes. She said the classes are versatile and can be adapted to fit anybody at any progression of the disease.
“There’s no perfect patient and that’s why Rock Steady is such a great class,” Zoucha said. “There are different modifications that we can do to get everybody involved, active and working at the hardest level they can.”
She noted that the program helps anybody who is fighting back against the disease, both physically and mentally.
“I’ve seen people who had very bad tremors, but once they started hitting the bag, their tremors went away. It’s really neat to see the impact of these classes and we are so excited to bring them to Columbus,” Zoucha said.
Rock Steady Boxing was brought to Columbus thanks in part to generous donations received for Parkinson’s rehab through the Columbus Community Hospital Foundation.