My mother, who is in her late 70s, suffers from shaking hands. She eats well, is healthy and exercises daily. The doctors assure her that she is not suffering from Parkinson’s disease. She can’t knit or sew now and finds it increasingly difficult to sign her name. Do you have any suggestions?
Your mother’s condition is probably a benign tremor, which is often called ‘essential tremor’. This type is different from Parkinson’s disease because it is not accompanied by other symptoms, such as loss of facial expression, altered gait, stiffness in the limbs, etc. Moreover, benign tremor does not respond to the medicines that are prescribed for Parkinson’s disease.
Essential tremor is often hereditary. As well as shaking hands, this condition may also involve the person shaking their head, as if saying’ no, no’ all the time. The shaking becomes more pronounced when the person is nervous or being watched. When they are relaxed, or have just woken up, the shaking is usually much better. As the day goes on, it becomes more vigorous, especially when they’re trying to do something such as writing or knitting, which is centered on the hands.
The exact cause of essential tremor in the hands is not known. We know that alcoholics, for instance, have tremors due to the depletion of vitamin B12 in the body as a result of liver damage, and various drugs can cause tremor as a side effect. Many neurological conditions trigger shaking, Because we don’t know the reason for essential tremor, there is no definitive remedy for it.
However, to keep the symptoms under some control and prevent, stress causing excessive tremor, I have devised a therapy which has brought some relief to patients who follow it religiously…
This breathing exercise will help your mother to counter the effects of stress.
* Take a deep breath in through the nose, counting slowly to three; hold the breath for a count of six. then exhale slowly, counting to six again.
* Practise this breathing cycle three times a day for five minutes, for one month. It can then be used in a stressful situation or when doing a fiddly job such as writing or knitting, to help to calm things down.
Yoga : Your mother would benefit from yoga classes, with an emphasis on postures such as the cobra, swing, turtle and semi-bridge. N o one is too old to do yoga.
Hand exercises: Do the following exercises while practising retention breathing.
* Keep your upper arms by the side of your body and put your hands out in front of you, forming a right angle to your body at the elbow. With palms upwards and thumb towards the body, flick the fingers away from the thumb and then back together again, stretching the fingers and palm as much as possible, both lengthwise and widthwise. Do this 20 times, twice daily.
* Stretch the thumb-tips of each hand to touch the fingers of the same hand in turn. Start by touching the little finger, then ring, middle and index, and then reverse. Repeat the whole cycle 20 times, twice a day.
* Using the thumb-tips of each hand again, touch the folds of each finger over the joints – there are three on the underside of each finger – starting with the bottom fold and climbing upwards. Repeat ten times on each finger.
* Avoid coffee, alcohol, citrus fruit, salt and spicy foods.
* Make a fresh juice of carrots, celery and ginger (organic if possible): wash the vegetables and top and tail the carrots; peel the. ginger but not the carrots. Drink a large glassful three times a week for two months.
* Avoid constipation by drinking six to eight glasses of still, pure water daily between meals, and eating figs, prunes and/or papaya for break fast, and plenty of spinach and beetroot at other meals. Constipation causes malabsorption of calcium and magnesium, which are essential for the body to function.
* Drink Biotique Relaxation Tea or camomile tea: two cups a day for two months.
* Take Brento by Tandu, or Biorelax by Biotique: one daily at bedtime for one month, to instill calmness and improve sleep.
* Take one tablespoonful of the Avurvedic supplement Bioprash, with a little manuka honey, daily for three months, to help boost energy.
* Take Biocare vitamin B complex: one a day for two months, to support healthy nerve function. Listen to a relaxation tape at bedtime or whenever calm is needed. I have produced one (Sanogenetic Solutions), and there are many others on the market.