Rock Steady Boxing: Fighting back against Parkinson’s

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As a concert flutist, Teresa Muir relied on her hands. When she started to have trouble with stiffness and balance, she knew something was wrong.

“… Suddenly, I wasn’t able to play things that I was always able to play before,” she says.

Doctors diagnosed Teresa with Parkinson’s disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. Not one to give up easily, Teresa decided to fight back – literally. She joined Rock Steady Boxing, a non-contact boxing program designed specifically for Parkinson’s patients.

“The changes I noticed were almost immediate,” Teresa says. “After about a month, I was able to walk across the loop from the train station. My husband said my facial expression perked up again. I became more pleasant to live with.”

Susan Eichensehr brought the organization here to Chicago and says improvements like the ones Teresa noticed aren’t uncommon. Boxing strengthens the core to improve balance while improving things like hand-eye coordination and decision-making. Along with that, Susan says there’s a psychological component Rock Steady brings.

“Number one: they’re fighting back against their disease,” she says. “Part two: the camaraderie in this room is out of this world … and then the biggest thing we here: some of the folks said in Rock Steady that they found hope, that they made friends, that they actually believe there’s a future for them.”

For Teresa and others at Rock Steady, the future seems bright as they continue to fight back, one punch at a time.

“I feel like I have a purpose to get up in the morning because I get to get up and box,” Teresa says. “It gives you such hope for being able ot cope with what you’ve been handing.

Rock Steady Boxing is located at 761 N. 17th St., St. Charles, IL 60174. 61 N. 17th Street, Suite 5 Saint Charles, Illinois 6017461 N. 17th Street, Suite 5 Saint Charles, Illinois 60174

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