Research: MACHT and ELLGRING

Listed in Issue 52


MACHT and ELLGRING, Institute for Psychology, University of Wurzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany studied the effects of using relaxation and loud rhythmic counting upon the 'freezing' phenomenon in Parkinson's disease (PD).


The 'freezing' phenomenon was studied in a 77-year old male patient with Parkinson's disease (PD). Motor blocks occurred several times per day, lasting between 2 and 5 minutes, which affected mainly walking. Freezing was elicited and intensified by external factors (limited space and room to move), as well as by negative cognitions, negative emotions and tension.



The most effective behaviour to overcome freezing was a combination of relaxation and loud rhythmic counting. Effectiveness in overcoming freezing correlated positively with self-rated mobility prior to trials. Relaxation training improved self-rated mobility.


Relaxation training and cognitive techniques should be used to reduce tension, negative thoughts and negative emotions contributing to freezing, and to improve the ability to cope with freezing.


Macht M and Ellgring H. Behavioral analysis of the freezing phenomenon in Parkinson's disease: a case study. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 30(3): 241-7. Sep 1999.

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