A Chicago Hospital Is Finding That Martial Arts Can Help Patients With Parkinson’s Disease

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It’s no secret that sports — and martial arts in particular — can help even perfectly healthy people develop better balance and coordination, and now, a hospital in Chicago is trying to see just how much martial arts can benefit patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Fox 32 Chicago reports that a clinical trial at Rush University Medical Center had patients with Parkinson’s disease practice karate twice a week for ten weeks. Throughout the study, doctors found that patients who practiced karate were falling less often. Being taught how to properly fall was also beneficial to the study participants.

While Parkinson’s disease currently has no known cure, medication and aerobic exercise has been shown to reduce its symptoms. Given the additional physical, mental, and social benefits of martial arts, it makes sense that practicing karate in a group setting could help people living with Parkinson’s improve their quality of life.

This particular study placed its entire focus on karate in particular, but it opens up the question of if (or how) grappling-based martial arts like jiu-jitsu could benefit people who live with similar conditions.

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