Big Baby

baby pushups,snow mask, deviantart

Virtually every week, from a variety of social media sites, I read of a few suggestions for therapy or treatments to help with Parkinson’s. Some are clearly bogus aimed at pushing a product or a program. Others are worthy of more investigation to see if their claims can be collaborated. Some can be dismissed as not relevant to me personally while others seem to be just common sense.

Recently, I came across one strategy that was particularly alluring. I was drawn to it in almost a primordial manner. Let me briefly highlight what the article in the Underground Health Reporter  purported.

The authors suggested that when brain development or motor function is impaired, your nerve impulses become jumbled. When your nerve impulses are disorganized, so are your motor impulses and sensory impulses, endangering your overall health. They say that the “cross-crawl” technique is one of the easiest ways to activate your brain development and nervous system to give it the proper motor and sensory stimuli it needs to take control of your bodily functions—thereby preventing or rehabilitating health problems. The cross-pattern movement builds the bridge between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, allowing for electrical impulses and information to pass freely between the two.

These patterns are stored in the brain and are responsible for governing our nervous system, spinal muscles and coordination, and programming our bodily systems to work together as a team (no mention of that slacker dopamine on our PD team!). They go on to suggest that all of our bodily systems depend on cross-crawl integration, even cerebral activities, such as learning language, reading, hand-to-eye coordination and communication.

We’re encouraged to look to babies.

Until a baby learns to crawl she moves in a homolateral pattern. This means that the right hemisphere of the brain controls the right side of the body and the left hemisphere of the brain controls the left side of the body.If we failed to mature past this pattern of movement, our gait would be awkward and uncoordinated, with the right hand and right leg jutting forward at the same time. brain development

However, as soon as a baby begins to crawl, she activates the contra-lateral pattern of movement that is essential to her brain development and nervous system. She learns to reach out with her right arm as her left knee juts forward, and move her left arm forward as she picks up her right knee. We continue to learn this cross-crawl movement as we advance to walking, running and swimming.

The cross-pattern movement builds the bridge between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, allowing for electrical impulses and information to pass freely between the two.

They continue by pointing out some signs that your cross-pattern movements could use some sharpening including:

Lack of coordination and balance
Difficulty reading
Exhibiting learning disabilities, such as dyslexia
Saying things backwards

The suggestion is that you can reprogram your nervous system and strengthen the connection between the right and left sides of your brain using cross-crawl exercises They conclude with brief instructions on how to practise this exercise:

Stand with your spine erect and arms at your sides.
On an inhale, raise your right arm up. At the same time you raise your right arm, lift your left leg, bending at the knee.
On an exhale, lower both the right arm and left leg.
On an inhale, raise your left arm up. At the same time, lift your right leg, bending at the knee.
On an exhale, lower both the left arm and right leg.
Full range of motion, not speed, is the most important component of this exercise. The higher you lift your arms and legs, the more you are energizing the brain development becomes, encouraging it to store new, more effective patterns of movement.

Use the breath to help you slow down the movements. Slower movements require more precise control, which delivers greater benefits, faster. Experts recommend 200 to 500 repetitions a day, but it is important to stop at the first sign of fatigue.

I don’t know about you but I can see that this might be helpful. I think I get it. I even tried to practise the exercise as described above (but 200 to 500 repetitions a day! Can’t see that happening!). If we want to make positive strides forward in brain conditioning and motor functioning, we’ve got to think and act like babies. Yes, babies. Perhaps not quite the cute and cuddly kind but babies all the same. Really. Big. Babies.


Post-script. I’m up to 4 repetitions today. Wwwaaaaaaaaaaa !!! 😦






5 thoughts on “Big Baby”

  1. Thanks so much for this post – it sounds like a winner! Can we just crawl? Especially with poor balance? Where can I find the complete repertoire you do at the National Ballet school – is it somewhere on line? Priscilla


    1. Love ur suggestion that “we just crawl” is hilarious. i neve thought of that and it might make for interesting group exercise sessions….a bunch of us packed into a room and crawling around the floor! As for NBS, they are expanding their offerings outside Toronto as are Dancing With Parkinson’s. i can give u contact #s if needed. cheers rk


  2. Thanks for this post, it’s interesting. I have noticed when I exercise there are a lot of cross- crawl movements in the routines. I guess I need to do them more purposefully…with a goo gah! Irt the dancing, apparently Hamilton City Ballet has classes and the researchers from McMaster have developed an app which will allow dancers to do it at home…publicly available August 2017.


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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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