Dr. Sheila Silver

Sheila Silver is a consultant in the area of sex and intimacy to people with Parkinson’s Disease and others. Dr. Silver has a Masters degree in Marriage, Family, and Child  Therapy and a Doctorate in Human Sexuality.  She was a psychotherapist in private practice for many years, and has specialized education and training in the area of human sexuality. Dr. Silver has presented at numerous national conferences and to general audiences on the topics of human sexuality, and how to maintain emotional and physical intimacy throughout the aging process, particularly for those with Parkinson’s Disease. In her private practice, she offers a highly personalized approach in a comfortable and supportive atmosphere, tailored to her client's individual needs to help attain the goals they’re striving for.

Dr. Silver got involved with Parkinson's patients in 2012, when she was asked to speak at the Early Onset Parkinson’s Symposium at OHSU. She says “At the time I knew nothing about PD, but I knew a lot about what often gets in the way for couples around adapting their sexual relationship to the demands of work, kids, aging, and health issues. I had been teaching couples for years about the importance of focusing on connection and pleasure, rather than on sexual functioning or a particular goal.  Since then I have been asked many times to speak at events for people with PD on how to create and keep emotional and physical intimacy in their relationships.  I have also trained doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers about how to look at patients with PD in a more holistic way, remembering that their sexuality is an important aspect to their health and wellbeing.”

She adds “I love this population because people with PD (and their partners) seem to have a deeper appreciation that every day is precious. People with PD are genuinely looking for ways to be more connected and more in love, and are willing to look at sexuality in a broader way.  They are receptive to thinking“outside the box” and this creates so much more possibility for them in terms of creating a good sexual experience.  People with PD are very appreciative of a way to look at sex more broadly that is more inclusive of what they are capable of. It inspires them to dialogue with their partners, and renew their physical intimacy in a way that works for them. That is very gratifying to me.”

Dr. Silver concludes:  "What I most want people with PD to know is that expanding their definition of "sex" allows for greater freedom and connection with their partner.  Letting go of expectations of self and partner creates the opportunity for a collaborative and creative experience that can be satisfying to both of them.  It requires verbal communication and being present with oneself moment to moment, not getting distracted by what they used to do, or think their partner is expecting.  Instead, they need to stay in touch with themselves, communicating what sounds good and being open to wherever that may lead."

Rock Steady Boxing

Kimberly Berg, MS, is a clinical exercise physiologist and certified fitness trainer. Kimberly earned her Master's degree in clinical exercise physiology from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She holds a bachelor's degree in athletic training and is an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist/Personal Trainer. She is also STOTT Pilates trained, an area of expertise integrated into her teaching.

Kimberly is Oregon's first and only Rock Steady Boxing Certified Coach and runs 3 Affiliate Rock Steady Boxing programs for people with Parkinson's Disease. She also leads Portland's only PD dance company the "PD Rebels.” In addition to Rock Steady, Kimberly holds certifications from PWR! Moves, Dance for PD and OHSU Team PD. She has served on an expert research panel for exercise at OHSU and has served as the exercise coordinator and medical advisory board member for the Brian Grant Foundation. Kimberly also developed on-line exercise videos for people with PD.

Of the Rock Steady program, Kimberly says: “Rock Steady Boxing was founded in 2006 by a former county prosecutor, Scott Newman, who was diagnosed with PD at age 39. Boxing training changed the course of his disease, and now, years into his disease, he is better than when he was first diagnosed. RSB classes have proven that anyone, at any level of PD, can lessen their symptoms and lead a healthier and happier life.

Rock Steady Boxing is an evidence-based non-contact, boxing-style fitness program; classes focus on overall fitness, strength, reaction time and balance. Workouts include a circuit of mitts, heavy bags, jump ropes, hurdles, slide boards, voice and cognitive drills. No boxing experience is necessary, and both men and women of all ages are welcome. All participants receive an evaluation of their functional level in order to place them in the right class.

 Kimberly has 20 years of experience training individuals ranging from healthy athletes to those needing injury rehabilitation. She has worked extensively with special needs populations, including cardiac and Parkinson's disease clients. She decided to concentrate on Parkinson’s because she gets to tell people what they can do rather than what they should not do. In contrast to other populations, people with Parkinson’s are more aware of exercise as a life-long activity rather than a brief response to an injury or surgery.

 Kimberly now works full time with PD clients, including coaching 11 RSB classes each week. She says “I always get more back than I give. For a coach, having people who work this hard is a pure pleasure. People with Parkinson’s are the hardest workers around. I have the joy of seeing the improvement every time they leave my class.”

 For newly-diagnosed people, Kimberly says “Get moving! Seek out Parkinson’s-specific classes which can help with issues specific to the condition. For the general population, she says “Everyone should get moving! It’s better to wear out than to rust out!

 RSB is now offered at three locations in the Portland area: in Tigard at Next Level Martial Arts and Fitness 14865 SW 74th Ave #110, Tigard, OR 97224, in SE Portland at Alive MMA, 5607 SE Woodstock Blvd., Portland, OR 97206 and SW Portland at Element Wellness and Sports 5331 SW Macadam Ave Portland OR 97239.