THE FOUNDER of a corporate well-being programme in Wokingham wants to raise awareness of Parkinson's Disease after developing the condition at the age of 48.

Paul Heywood, who set up Halcyon Life following his diagnosis in 2009, wants to help educate people on how they can lead healthy, stress-free lives which he believes helps him battle the disease.

Paul said: "When I was diagnosed I felt helpless as the decline seemed inevitable and beyond my control. I was told that the condition would progressively get worse but yet I had to keep working in a stressful job in The City, commuting from Twyford daily, to pay the mortgage and bills. I am convinced that stress played a major part in me becoming ill.

"I began to realise that there were many things that I could control to improve my general health. Over time I learned to relax and sleep better and used a personal trainer, dietitian, hypnotherapist and complementary therapies such as reflexology and acupuncture to improve my overall health and help alleviate my symptoms.”

As part of World Parkinson's Day today (Wednesday, April 11), Paul has shared his top tips on how to manage the disease.

  1. Sleep well, a good eight hours each night if you can. If you have trouble sleeping, cut down on caffeine, avoid alcohol late at night and have a hot bath just before turning in.

  2. Eat well, as much fresh wholesome food as possible. Avoid processed food, convenience meals and red meat. Eat more fish, fresh vegetables, fruit, seeds, nuts and berries.

  3. Exercise regularly at least three times per week. Exercise until you’re at least breathless, as much as you can manage, from simply moving more to running if you can.

  4. Talk about your feelings with someone you trust. We all feel low sometimes, especially when our health is not good, but sharing your thoughts and talking about your feelings can really help you to stay positive.

  5. Find time to relax and de-stress. A quick 15 minute mediation every day can really help manage your stress levels. If you’ve not done this before buy a guided meditation CD from your local health shop.