PD & the ‘Kamehameha Effect’: By Maria De Leon

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Have you ever heard your loved ones complain or say that when you are up and about in public you seem different? They may describe you as lively, happy, and energized but moving better even. However, they gasp, as my husband often does, asking why can’t we simply have that kind of motivation when we are at home rather than just sit around like bumps on a log?

Not long ago when my family and I traveled to Hawaii for vacation my husband finally put a term to this positive effect of well-being that ensues when confronted with something utterly delightful to us. The ‘Kamehameha effect’ as my husband lovingly has coined it, is the end result of a natural boost of dopamine in our brain’s when confronted with pleasurable, enjoyable things. After hours of touring the island, there I was barely able to walk, shuffling, feeling stiff all over particularly in my lower back which was beginning to hurt down to my feet. I was choking on my own saliva and was beginning to lose my voice. When suddenly we came upon the current Supreme Court of Hawaii – also known as Aliiolani Hale building which has in its courtyard a statue of King Kamehameha I which is facing Lolani Palace. At the site of this grand structure I became so ecstatic since it happens to be the headquarters of Commander Garret and his Hawaii 5-0 unit. Seems like within minutes, I was no longer stiff, shuffling or choking. Husband was astonished at the effect calling it the ‘Kamehameha effect’ and still teases me about this every chance he gets. IMG_1866

He insists that this effect is purely is psychological and wishes I could summon it at will. However, although it has a psychological component is not that easy. It is instead a chemical reaction that takes place in our brains once ignited by exterior forces. The ‘Kamehameha effect’ is one that can be seen even in groups of Parkinson’s people at the same time if united by same outside force as was the case in New Orleans when the Saints won the Super bowl in 2010. According to Dr. Georgia Lea, a neurologists and assistant Neurology professor at the Oschsner Institute in NOLA, that during the super bowl championship all her PD patients who were fans of the SAINT’s suddenly were cured for hours to days!

This is the ‘Kamehameha effect’ at its core – ignite our own happy endogenous neurochemicals to bring forth dramatic improvement in our PD symptoms.
Although, this effect is not a switch which can be turned ‘on’ and ‘off’ at will, there are things we can do to promote the repeated occurrence of this phenomena by doing things which brings us joy, passion, love, gratitude and satisfaction. As one of my favorite literary authors Gabriel Garcia Marquez would say; “there is no medicine to cure what happiness cannot.”
Go ahead find your passion and unleash the ‘Kamehameha effect

all rights reserved by Maria De Leon

8 thoughts on “PD & the ‘Kamehameha Effect’: By Maria De Leon

  1. So true! Recently celebrated 50th anniversary of our house. Grandkids aged 11and 13 were willing to go along while their Mother was away. Grabbed musical instruments from many countries. Went from room to room banging, tooting, and strumming. For finale, we lit candles and sang happy birthday to Kelsey Cottage. We named our house after living in England where many houses have names. PD was not invited to the party!

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  2. My husband has Parkinson’s and also C.O.P.D one works against the other when trying to exercise. Hard as wife and minder .feel so sad sometimes as now is the time we could have travelled a bit more ,but planning going anywhere is not always possible. Love him to sky and back but hate what these diseases are doing to him.And feel also to me .Sorry if that sounds selfish .

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    • Maudwade..thank you for sharing your story with me..I cani agine how hard it must be for the two of you..my advice is try to find things that you both like doing together at home or near home ..small steps..my friend and I traveled to Orlando to Disney world we got wheelchairs at airport and motorized scooters at park ..we took it very easy ..did what we could but still had great time..the scooter was great for me because I could put all my junk which helped me be more relaxed and get less stiff and since scooter does not go very fast I could take my time walking..big hug ..you are not alone…here if need to talk


  3. Maria,
    Your inspiring article couldn’t have come at a better time. Today I’m experiencing the same symptoms, barely able to walk, shuffling, stumbling, I fell twice this morning, I feel stiff all over and my feet are killing me.i choke on my Sylvia and can’t speak clearly because bubbles up and gets in the way.
    I happy to know what causes these symptoms to arise out of nowhere. And equally happy to know where to look for relief. Thank. You for sharing.
    Kimberly Babcock


    • Kimberly ..I am so glad that you found my story helpful…I know exactly how you feel ..but I have learned that if these symptoms keep popping up a medication adjustment is in order so make sure to speak your physician maybe even consider speech therapy..in meantime find that which drives you and puts a spring in your step…for me helping others to live better happier fuller lives makes my brain pour out dopamine…big hug ..you are loved. Stay tuned for my women’s Parkinson’s diva journal coming out soon…💃🏻💗


  4. Thanks for sharing that Maria. I live about 10 minutes away from that statue and will think of your story when I drive by. I too recently went on a trip to NYC and spent everyday non stop. When I returned home I was right back to my usual slower pace and I wondered why that was. Now I too will call it the “Kamehameha Effect”!


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