Parkinson's Disease

How can physiotherapy treat Parkinson’s Disease? 

At River East Physiotherapy, we take an exercise-based approach to treating Parkinson’s Disease.  When working with clients, our physiotherapists draw on their university training in neurological rehabilitation, as well as their advanced training in Parkinson’s Disease completed with NeurofitBC.   

There is growing scientific evidence that exercise is an essential complement to the medical management of Parkinson’s symptoms.  For example, a recent Canadian medical guideline for treating Parkinson’s disease concludes: 

  • “A regular exercise regimen begun early has proven benefit;” and 
  • “Rehabilitation therapists experienced with Parkinson disease can help newly diagnosed patients, and others through all stages” (Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2019).

What services do you offer for clients with Parkinson’s? 

We offer four main services:  

  • One-on-one initial assessments with a physiotherapist. 
  • One-on-one subsequent treatments with a physiotherapist. 
  • ON HOLD DUE TO COVID-19 - Group exercise classes with U-Turn Parkinson’s - Our physiotherapists lead Rock Steady Boxing classes in the North Kildonan location of U-Turn Parkinson’s.  U-Turn Parkinson’s also offers a range of other classes and events for people living with Parkinsons, including a Balance & Strength class, Yoga Parkinson’s, U-Tunes (a singing group), and social events. 
  • Information sessions on Parkinson’s - contact us to organize a session for your organization. 


Our physiotherapists have completed advanced training in Parkinson's disease, on top of their university-level training in neurological rehabilitation.

I am living with Parkinson's Disease.  How often should I see a physiotherapist? 

For assessments, treatments, and group exercise classes, every individual is different.  You and your physiotherapist will decide together what is right for you.   

That said, it is generally recommended for people living with Parkinson’s to have a one-on-one treatment with a physiotherapist at least every six months.  This allows you to track your progress and adjust your exercise program accordingly.  It also allows your physiotherapist to provide an ongoing update to your physician, neurologist, or other members of your health care team on how you are progressing, to inform their treatment as well. 

For group exercise classes, this depends on your regular exercise program.  In general, people living with Parkinson’s require high intensity exercise for 30 to 60 minutes a day, five days a week, in order to see improvements from exercise.  Group exercise classes, such as the Rock Steady Boxing classes our physiotherapists lead at U-Turn Parkinson’s, are an excellent way for you to achieve the intensity required.  Plus, they’re fun! 


What is included in an initial assessment with a physiotherapist? 

An initial assessment is a one-hour, one-to-one session with a physiotherapist.  With your consent, it will include: 

  • A conversation to help us understand how your condition is affecting you, your relevant medical history, and your goals. 
  • A series of objective tests to evaluate your coordination, balance, posture, walking, and day-to-day function. 
  • A new client package, including a customized exercise plan and community resources that may be helpful to you.  For example, the group exercise classes that our physiotherapists lead at U-Turn Parkinson’s are often a good fit for our clients’ exercise plans.  We may also refer you to other specialists, such as speech language pathologists or nutrition experts, or to other community organizations such as Parkinson’s Canada in Manitoba. 
  • A report to your family doctor, neurologist or other member(s) of your healthcare team. 


What is included in a subsequent treatment with a physiotherapist? 

After your initial assessment, a subsequent treatment involves a one-hour, one-to-one session with a physiotherapist. It is designed to track your progress towards your goals and adjust your exercise program accordingly. It may include a progress report to your family doctor, neurologist or other member(s) of your healthcare team. 

How do I sign up for Parkinson’s group exercise classes? 

All participants in Parkinson’s group exercise classes must have an initial assessment with a physiotherapist at River East Physiotherapy.  This allows your physiotherapist and U-Turn Parkinson’s to ensure you register for the class(es) best suited to your needs.  It also allows our physiotherapists who coach group classes to prepare for and accommodate your unique needs during the classes. 

Once you’ve completed your initial assessment, your physiotherapist will refer you to U-Turn Parkinson’s to register in their program.  Once you’re registered in the program, you will be able to register for classes at your convenience. 

What are group classes like? 

Starting March 5, 2020, our physiotherapists will be leading Rock Steady Boxing Winnipeg (RSBW) Classes with U-Turn Parkinson’s at their North location. 

RSBW is a boxing-inspired exercise program.  RSBW classes include movements that target the neurological change required to fight Parkinson’s symptoms.  These classes focus on overall fitness, strength training, reaction time and balance.  Workouts use focus mitts, heavy bags, speed bags, double-ended bags, core work, and circuit weight training. 

All U-Turn Parkinson’s classes are overseen by a Medical Advisory Council made up of physicians, physiotherapists, nurses and personal trainers. 

I’ve never boxed before.  

No experience is required!  Our coaches will provide options for your level, and they’ll help you learn new movements.   

And boxing is just one part of RSBW - classes also focus on general fitness and improving other movements commonly affected by Parkinson's.

People of all genders, ages and abilities are invited to participate and fight back against Parkinson’s. 

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