Treating Parkinson's Disease with Acupuncture

An innovative and integrated approach to treating Parkinson's Disease with acupuncture, counseling, and the principals of Oriental medicine. 

The Parkinson's Recovery Project

The Parkinson's Recovery Project was conceived by Janice Walton-Hadlock, a California acupuncturist who observed that her PD patients consistently demonstrated an energetic blockage at acupuncture point #42 along the Stomach channel. Walton-Hadlock believes that this blockage causes a reversal in the flow of energy in the channel which results in damage to the part of the brain responsible for producing dopamine, hence the Western explanation for Parkinson's disease. As Walton-Hadlock continued working with her PD patients, she learned how to release the blockage using a massage technique called Forceless Spontaneous Release. Once the blockage was removed and the head to feet flow of energy in the Stomach channel was restored, patients began healing. Adding acupuncture to the massage technique encourages a more timely return to normalcy.


Acupuncture is used to restore the proper balance and flow of energy or qi (pronounced "chee") within the body. Qi flows through a highly organized system of channels that course through all the organs and tissues. When qi is not flowing properly through these channels, the imbalance invites disease. Acupuncture needles are inserted in specific "points" along the channels to correct the imbalances and call upon the body's own resources to promote healing. When treating PD, acupuncture is employed when FSR has released the foot blockage so that qi flows through the acupuncture point Stomach 42. The treatment goal is to re-establish the proper flow of energy, especially through the Stomach channel.

Forceless Spontaneous Release

The Forceless Spontaneous Release massage technique employed by the Parkinson's Recovery Project, provides a way to release the blockage by gently holding the patient's injured foot between both hands in certain positions. Sometimes the blockage is released quickly, more often the process takes months during which the patient may experience swelling or discomfort in the ankle, though rarely enough to alter activity level.

Psychology/ Counseling

As Janice Walton-Hadlock's Parkinson's Recovery Project continued, the question begged to be asked, "How did the blockage to the foot arise in the first place?" The answer was not simple, but Walton-Hadlock theorized that people with PD have the ability to suppress injuries in times of crisis so that no physical response such as swelling or bruising occurs, but instead an energetic blockage is created. Thus a crucial part of healing involves learning to turn off the dissociation response and re-establish a proper mind-body and heart-brain connection. Re-establishing these connections is crucial to recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a candidate?
The best candidates for this protocol are those recently diagnosed with PD and who have not yet begun pharmaceutical treatments, namely Sinemet.

How long does treatment take?
Treatment times vary greatly according to the individual, but patients should be prepared for the long haul. In most cases, the blockage that led to the development of PD occurred upwards of 20 years prior to diagnosis. Reversing this deeply rooted energetic pattern is not a process that is usually accomplished in a few weeks-more likely months to years. In the first phase of treatment, weekly sessions are recommended. Later phases may require fewer visits.

What are the side effects?
Again, this varies from person to person. Common side effects include fatigue, back pain, dizziness, and headache, and are the result of reversing the flow of energy in the stomach channel.

As with any alternative medical treatment, results are not guaranteed. The label of "Parkinson's Disease" is reserved for medical doctors, and as an acupuncturist, I am strictly treating an energetic imbalance and not PD per se. Please read more about the Parkinson's Recovery Project at

Free Consultation

Parkinson's Patients: You are always welcome to come in for a free initial consultation in order to assess whether or not this method of treatment is right for you.