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One of my clients write this article and I found it hugely moving. It shows how important natural movement and natural rhythms are to the body, in creating integrated and flowing movements. I hope you are as inspired as I was reading it.


Do you believe in the power of music? The power to heal? To make your body respond when nothing else works?

I do. I’ve experienced it.

I have Parkinson’s Disease. Simply put, it is caused by a lack of a chemical, called Dopamine, which is usually produced by the brain. Symptoms vary from person to person but characteristically include an inability to walk and to negotiate doorways, the freezing of muscles, particularly in the legs, arms and face, and lack of balance.

Although the symptoms are of a physical nature, they are caused by a brain malfunction whereby messages sent by the brain do not reach their intended destination.
Parkinson’s Disease is not inherited. It cannot be contracted from someone else. It is not caused by the environment nor location nor work conditions. We don’t know what triggers it. Frankly, anyone can get it. Parkinson’s is not really a disease as it is not passed on to others.
Oh, and there is another thing. There is no cure and it can only get worse.

Enough of the negativity; let me tell you about the power of music.

One day, soon after the Olympics, I was at a party in a garden and someone began to hum the theme tune to the Chariots of Fire film. You know the one; where the boys are running in slow motion through the ocean. You are probably humming it now.

It had an immediate effect on my movements. Whereas before I had been shuffling along with the aid of a stick, and sometimes immovable, now I strode across the grass in time to the tune, stick discarded. The difference was extraordinary. Over the next couple of weeks I experimented. I found that this tune worked every time but it had to be someone else humming Chariots of Fire, not me. At a residential course a month later there were three hundred delegates. By the end of the week, there must have been a quarter of them prepared to hum to help me get to and from the conference rooms. With the musical background I was walking normally again.

I have since tried other songs but nothing works like Chariots of Fire. Why? I can only guess that it is a combination of the rhythm and the visual aspect of the slow motion film. I still have trouble negotiating crowded places like restaurants and supermarkets. Doorways are a particular problem but if I can persuade someone to hum that tune, out loud, in public, I’m off like a train.

So, one day, when you see a person shuffling very slowly or at a standstill, with a walking stick, just try it. Just hum the Chariots of Fire Theme so they can hear you. You may transform their life.

John Ward 2013

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