Monica Norcia - Helping People Living with Parkinson's
Learn to Avoid Falls, Improve Balance with The Alexander Technique
San Rafael, CA 94901
Recently, one of my students, a woman who lives with Parkinson's, said to me: "I used to move without thinking. Now, I have to negotiate everything or I'll fall." It's true. We usually don't have to think about how to functionally get from Point A to Point B. The phone rings, you get up off the couch and go answer it. Standing, sitting, walking are all unconscious habits. Until a disorder such as Parkinson's. Then balance and the basic mechanics of movement can become challenging and falls more frequent.
Parkinson’s, as defined by the Parkinson’s Foundation, “is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most people. …A person’s brain slowly stops producing a neurotransmitter called dopamine. With less and less dopamine, a person has less and less ability to regulate their movements, body, and emotions.” Aside from such symptoms as fatigue and sleep interruptions, efficiency of movement and motor skills and memory can become impaired.
I have been a teacher of the Alexander Technique since 2002. The technique, recommended by UCSF neurologist Maya Katz, MD., and the North Carolina-based Poise Project, is a beautiful adjunct to mainstream Parkinson's treatments, such as medication. Alexander teachers work to re-educate inefficient, lifelong habits of movement that only create more problems when Parkinson's arises. Questions of balance, flexibility and pain that have not been addressed prior to Parkinson's now MUST be worked on, especially because one of Parkinson's main symptoms can be increased stiffness and slowness of reflexes. Alexander lessons include learning how the joints work in relation to the head and spine, how to stay centered when walking, sitting and standing. And we learn how to become more conscious while doing daily activities, such as getting out of bed and getting dressed.
I also encourage partners and caregivers of the person living with Parkinson's to have a few lessons so that they can learn how to help their loved one through cues and reminders.
Parkinson's can also affect the breath and voice. For more information on how, please read my blog at: www.vocalmotionmethod.com/sound-advice-14-voice-student-living-parkinsons-disease.
Words from one of my students: "I am writing on behalf of - and with - my wife, R., in order to give the highest possible accolades to Monica Norcia for the Alexander Technique work she has done with her in connection with her Parkinson's Disease. Monica has helped my wife become more aware of her body, her breathing, her center and her surroundings. The Alexander Technique instruction has had a noticeable and profound impact on her. Monica's work has helped alleviate my wife's back pain and, perhaps more importantly, helped with her all-important balance...It has helped restore some of her flexibility and diminish some of her stiffness." - Larry S.
After a 3-year training, I was certified in 2002 by the Alexander Technique Institute in San Francisco. Through my voice teaching, I started working with a student with Parkinson's and then, wanting to learn more, trained with The Poise Project, which is bringing the Alexander Technique specifically to the Parkinson's community.
I was born in Rome, Italy, into a family of opera singers and actors. A Bay Area voice teacher, singing performer, pianist and music director since 1997, I received my bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from California State University-Hayward. As a singer fluent in Italian, I enjoy specializing in the Italian/Neapolitan repertoire. I'm a Level 2 Reiki practitioner, certified in shamanic healing from HCH in Lafayette and am an avid yoga practitioner and meditator. I teach voice at JB Piano in San Rafael and travel to individual's homes for Alexander4Parkinsons lessons.
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