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Today's Family Magazine

InMotion continues to create hope for people with Parkinson's disease

By Karen Hess

When it opened in Warrensville Heights in March 2015, InMotion had a mission to help people living with Parkinson’s disease feel better every day. 

Inspired by InMotion’s founders, a neurosurgeon, an owner of a performance training center, a retired physician on the Michael J. Fox Patient Council, and two businessmen who had Parkinson’s, the nonprofit wellness center’s staff offered exercise classes, healing arts, education, and support groups three days a week, all at no cost to its clients and their carepartners. 

Knowing that research had shown for years that exercise helps people with Parkinson’s manage their symptoms, and with generous grants from The Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, and The O’Neil Foundation, InMotion was confident that it had the right formula.  More than 36,000 people in northeast Ohio are living with Parkinson’s disease; within a year InMotion was open five days a week, and since then the center has garnered attention from the international PD community.

Rather than offering a single exercise class, InMotion offers multiple programs designed to complement each other, providing clients with the best outcomes. Clients can choose from classes such as boxing, yoga, cycling, “Better Every Day” Parkinson’s-specific exercises, drumming, painting, singing, dancing, and support groups led by social workers.  It’s a holistic, community-based approach that combines exercise, expressive movement, creative thinking, education, and support.

Additionally, since it opened, InMotion has been committed to implementing a rigorous data collection and analysis program using validated measures.  To date, results show that motor performance and quality of life was stable or improved over a 12-month period in the participating group, illustrating the power of a community-based approach to wellness for people with Parkinson’s and their families.

“There is no other model – holistic, evidence-based, outcomes-focused, and free of charge – like InMotion in the world,” said Cathe Schwartz, InMotion chief executive officer. Schwartz said that InMotion was invited to present its outcomes in June at the World Parkinson’s Congress in Kyoto, Japan.   The Congress explores the most recent and cutting-edge science and clinical research, as well as advances in treatments designed to improve care and quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s.  It attracts over 3,000 researchers from more than 60 countries, including healthcare providers, nonprofit organizations, people with Parkinson’s and carepartners, and policy makers. “Attendees were simply astounded that a place like InMotion exists and that we are seeing such positive results with our approach,” added Schwartz.

According to Schwartz, InMotion offers a wealth of community support, which has been a critical piece in producing successful outcomes. “Our approach is designed very thoughtfully and deliberately around giving our clients the tools and resources they need to cope positively and constructively with the changes that their disease brings,” said Schwartz.  The staff talks about “leaving any stigma at the door,” and a team of more than 30 coaches, all trained specifically in Parkinson’s exercises, chant “good, better, best…never let it rest!” to help empower clients.  Client gatherings in the center’s living room and cafeteria are common, and new supportive friendships often extend beyond the center’s walls.

“Our research shows us that what we are doing is working,” said Schwartz.  “But when our clients tell us, 'You are changing my life,' that’s what really drives us.”

For more info call 216-342-4417 or visit