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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Punching for Parkinson's: Rock Steady Boxing Opens

Mathew Daniels at the Grand Opening of Rock Steady Boxing.
We encourage people to fight an illness or a disease, but can you really do that? It depends if you ask Matthew Daniels.

Yes, you can fight a disease. Matthew Daniels is the owner of Rock Steady Boxing Northern Kentucky. The program shows how a focused regimen of strength, cardio, and agility training can slow the development of Parkinson’s, a neurodegenerative brain disorder. It is slow growing and symptoms may take years to develop but the disease slows down the production of dopamine in the brain which is used to regulate movements and emotions. There is no cure, but there are a few effective treatments like boxing.

Most people discovered Rock Steady Boxing via a CBS Sunday Morning report in 2015. The program began in Indianapolis in 2006. Reporter Lesley Stahl’s husband has Parkinson’s and found relief in the boxing program. The idea behind the program is that each exercise is tailored to address a specific symptom like stiffness, balance, and muscle control. It is non-contact boxing. No one gets punched. No one gets hurt. But many see improvement through the conditioning.

Denny Goshorn visits the Grand Opening and shows that he is ready to punch the bag. 
The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation claims that 600,000 new cases are diagnosed every year and that 10 million around the world suffer with the disease. Most cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 50 while only 4 percent are diagnosed earlier than that which makes Scott Layman a bit of an exception because he was diagnosed at age 43.  Layman had some success with a Deep Brain Stimulation procedure in 2013 that is designed to address the debilitating physical symptoms of the disease. Standard treatments include medications and surgery. That is, until Rock Steady Boxing entered the treatment scene.
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Layman says, “I played around with the idea of doing it but never did, primarily out of inconvenience, as the only gym around here with the program was all the way in Milford and in the middle of the afternoon. Then a mutual friend introduced me to Matt at the 915 one night. We traded numbers and it took off from there.” And he has seen progress.

Scott Layman.
Matt is Matthew Daniels, a Golden Gloves boxer, a certified coach, and a longtime boxing patron, and a Fort Thomas resident. He was intrigued by Rock Steady Boxing because it offers a real service to those in real need.  So he went to Indianapolis, got the training, and opened Rock Steady Boxing Northern Kentucky (RSBNKY) in Wilder next to the Ameristop at the intersection of Moock Road and the AA Highway.

Daniels, owner and trainer, says, “I initially I give a 60 - 90 minute evaluation. We have a discussion about the diagnosis, the emotional processes, and just sort of get to know them. And then I do a diagnostic test. I have a checklist of things…to assess someone’s deterioration. And they will fall between P1 and P4. P1 is most abled and P4 being least abled. And then I can assign them to a class that day.” Exercises are designed to address core strength, cardio, and mobility issues. Each client is expected to discuss the program with their doctor and seek medical permission to participate.

The Rock Steady gym. 
 Then it’s on to group training. Daniels describes one portion of the regimen, “We are a group and we are going to exercise and do things specific for Parkinson’s like eye-hand coordination. Each level has its own set of exercises that are switched up with every visit.” The fun part is always at the end of sessions. “The final exercise is punching bags, mitts, and even hitting the trainer…It’s high intensity interval training really. The exercises are timed like a boxing training session. But It’s a very communal atmosphere.” Clients share experiences, successes, and defeats. They push each other to work harder and to succeed. “They (RSB corporate) insist on the group dynamic where people can go to compete a bit because it helps you drive yourself.”

Daniels says that “We work specifically on strength. There isn't much we can do about the balance part. I don’t provide medications. But the more we address the core [strength] the better. I teach clients how to fall because that is inevitable.” They can practice on the soft surface of the ring.
Kids play in the ring at Rock Steady Boxing Grand Opening.
Scott Layman is Daniels’ first client. Layman says, “I have always been athletic. I was the1983 & 1984 Virginia state champion in the 400m and I also played football and basketball in high school. I ran briefly at Virginia Tech until I foolishly became disenchanted and left the team to focus on my academics. So, some of the boxing stuff is easy for me to grasp, yet I am the biggest spaz on basic footwork drills ... things I remember doing in football and basketball when my brain was young and Parkinson's-free. I get on myself a lot, but Matt is very encouraging and keeps pushing me.”

As to improvement, Layman says, “I have noticed improvement in my balance. I still stumble around a bit, but I fall a lot less often. My muscle tone is really good.”

Classes begin in May. You can contact Matthew Daniels at 513-265-1737 or email him at or visit or stop by the gym. It’s a great program helping people live better lives.

1 comment:

  1. I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in my mid to late 40's. I had hand tremors for several years. Gradually became worse. I then noticed when I was tired the tremors were worse. I started falling for no apparent reason. I now have stiffness in my legs and need to walk with 2 canes or a walker. I am very slow getting around. I am now 52 years old. I am forgetful at times and have difficulty expressing myself. I have difficulty swallowing at times. I become tired easily, I also become quite dizzy when performing any athletic function (jogging). I was on Levodopa/Carbidopa, 100/25. nothing was really working to help my condition. Finally i started on parkinson's natural herbal formula i ordered from Health HERBAL CLINIC, i read alot of great reviews from other patients who used the parkinson's herbal treatment. My symptoms totally declined over a 4-5 weeks use of the Health herbal clinic Parkinsons disease natural herbal formula. , its effects on parkinson's is amazing, all My symptoms gradually faded away, I have been active and hope to continue! (Visit www. healthherbalclinic. net or email at Info@ healthherbalclinic. net) I recommend this Parkinson's herbal formula for all Parkinson's Patients.