1. Stories
  2. Newsroom
  3. Theracycle & Virginian Outpatient Therapy: Advancing Parkinson’s Research Together


Theracycle & Virginian Outpatient Therapy: Advancing Parkinson’s Research Together


Virginian Outpatient Therapy

Following a scientifically proven exercise regimen, Parkinson’s patient sees remarkable symptom improvement

FRANKLIN, Mass. – January 15, 2019 – Theracycle, a provider of motorized exercise bicycles designed to ease symptoms for people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), has worked with outpatient physical therapy provider, Virginian Outpatient Therapy, to replicate a proven “forced exercise” regimen for PD symptom improvement. Forced exercise, in which a motor assists in moving the patient’s body beyond the extent they can do so themselves, has been shown to vastly improve PD symptoms including rigidity, loss of balance and tremors, as initially demonstrated in a 2009 study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic.

In the Cleveland Clinic study: Forced, Not Voluntary, Exercise Improves Motor Function in Parkinson’s Disease Patients, the patients who participated in forced exercise on a Theracycle exhibited a 35 percent improvement in motor scores, as measured on the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). Those who only participated in voluntary exercise on a traditional stationary bicycle did not exhibit any improvement in their symptoms.

“At Theracycle, we understand how life-changing forced exercise can be for PD patients,” said Theracycle CEO, Peter Blumenthal. “We’re honored to make a positive impact on the lives of those living with PD. To see Virginian Outpatient Therapy replicate the Cleveland Clinic study with its own patient and produce equally impressive results is inspiring, and further proves what we’ve always known – Theracycle makes living with Parkinson’s easier.”

Virginian Outpatient Therapy Assistant Director of Rehabilitation and Board Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist, Shirlea Hennessy, replicated the Cleveland Clinic study in the summer of 2018 with a PD patient who introduced her to the Theracycle. Together, they worked to supplement his existing wellness program using the same exercise regimen within the study. By adding an hour of forced exercise on the Theracycle three times a week for eight weeks, Hennessy’s patient saw the following improvements:

  • Went from a UPDRS score of 36 to 6 in a matter of twelve weeks
  • Lost 10 pounds throughout the course of the program
  • Allowed him more joy in his daily activities, such as seeing his grandchildren, attending bible study and doing Tai Chi and yoga
  • Regained his confidence in driving himself places

“To see such substantial improvements in his mobility symptoms in as little as eight weeks was remarkable. Even after stopping forced exercise for four weeks following his program, my patient maintained his improvements, revealing that a little effort can go a long way in establishing greater freedom and independence,” says Shirlea Hennessy, PT, DPT, GCS. “That freedom and independence is all that PD patients strive for as they face their diagnosis and symptoms.”

Hennessy will continue to implement forced exercise with a Theracycle for her PD patients at Virginian Outpatient Therapy and expects to see improvements across the board. In addition to the proven results through the Cleveland Clinic and Hennessy’s work, Theracycle recently conducted a survey of its customers in which 80 percent of respondents saw an improvement in their walking, balance and gait; 73 percent saw an improvement in their overall mood and 64 percent saw a reduction in tremors or involuntary movements. You can see the full results of the survey by visiting Theracycle’s website.

To learn more about the patient’s journey, download our whitepaper here »

About Theracycle

Theracycle is a provider of motorized exercise bicycles designed to ease symptoms for people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), Multiple Sclerosis, paraplegia, stroke, Down Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and other degenerative neurological disorders. Based on the original Exercycle, invented in 1932, Theracycle is a provides a safe way to engage in forced exercise that cannot be completed through a traditional stationary bicycle. It has been proven to improve balance, gait, rigidity and muscle stiffness. For more information about Theracycle, visit www.theracycle.com.

Media Contact

Peter Kaplan