Local Parkinsonʼs group hosts Train-the-Trainer therapy and exercise classes

November 8, 2013
Instructor Becky Farley directs physical therapists working with people with Parkinson's disease. SOURCE SUBMITTED

The Parkinsonʼs Education and Support Group of Sussex County recently sponsored a program which trained 35 clinicians and 25 fitness trainers in new therapy and exercise techniques for people with Parkinsonʼs.

“Class attendees were drawn from all over the Delmarva Peninsula, so people with Parkinsonʼs all over Delmarva will benefit from the training,” said Dennis Leebel, leader of the local support group. The classes were held over a four-day period at the Stockley Center in Millsboro with participants from Rehoboth Beach; Lewes; Millsboro; Georgetown; Ocean View, Berlin Md.; Salisbury, Md.; Easton, Md.; and Onancock,Va.

The class instructor, Becky Farley, PhD, MS, PT, from Tucson, Ariz., is the founder and CEO of the Parkinsonʼs Wellness Recovery program and had previously cofounded the Big Therapy program for people with Parkinsonʼs. Her programs emphasize large amplitude, strength building, and repetitive exercises.

Exercise has been shown to slow the progression of Parkinsonʼs, and Farley believes her therapy and exercise programs can have a neuroplasticity effect on people with Parkinsonʼs whereby they can regain the use of previously lost faculties. The PWR program is the first program where both therapy and exercise programs employing the same principles have been developed for people with Parkinsonʼs. “The classes were fun, easy to learn, functional and effective,” said student Marge Fleming-Smith.

“I hope all of our members will enroll in one of Beckyʼs PWR Therapy programs which will now be taught at a number of local and area-wide hospital-based and private therapy offices,” said Leebel. “The first of the new exercise classes is being started at a private therapy office in Ocean View by one of the attendees at the PWR Fitness class. We hope to eventually have exercise programs in four or five nearby communities for our 200-plus members.”

In addition to the new Ocean View location, the group hopes to see new exercise classes started in Millsboro, Georgetown, Long Neck, Rehoboth Beach and Lewes. For more information about Parkinsonʼs, how to enroll in the exercise classes, or where to find a Parkinsonʼs support group on Delmarva, call Leebel at 302-644-3465 or visit the Delmarva Parkinsonʼs Alliance at

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