Sail 4 Parkinson is an experimental project involving Parkinson patients and their caregivers. Here’s what it is.

The main goal of this project is to combine pharmacological therapies and several cognitive, physical, intellectual activities. All of this within a spectacular marine and natural environment. We play in Sardinia, Oristano’s Area,  the wonderful Sinis and Cuglieri – Montiferru coasts. We made up a constructive experience to help all Parkinson’s disease sufferers strengthen their immune system and psychophysical conditions. Sail 4 Parkinson enables patients to develop all the techniques, pieces of knowledge, incitements and motivations needed for managing their daily lives.

Among their partners, Sail 4 Parkinson include Limolo Activities and Daniela Meloni, who are in charge of sailing activities and feeding. Other people running and associated with Sail 4 Parkinson are: Parkinzone Onlus and neurologist Dott Nicola Modugno, director Imogen Kusch and the theater company of Klesidra, psychologist Silvia Della Morte, musicians Andrea Mieli and Didier Caria, and a team of physiotherapy, patient care, sport, cooking and feeding experts.

Now, 2021,  in its noneth edition, Sail 4 Parkinson has evolved over the past three years. Beside perfecting schedules and methods, the project started getting successful results with patients and their caregivers. In particular, the former saw their own health improve.

un gruppo di partecipanti al progetto Sail4Parkinson sulla barca in navigazione

Sailing. 5 dedicated lessons.

Instructor: Daniela Meloni (Limolo Activities) and her sailing team.

Learning to arrange the boat, to coil a line, turn the handle of a winch, to heave and strike the sails, to haul in and slacken the sheet, to tie and untie knots, to keep your balance aboard. parkinson

Intense days at sea will be spent to help patients sharpen their gestural expressiveness, manual ability, balance, concentration and problem solving in case of need. They will gradually explore new, underestimated potentialities by learning how to handle the sail boat and themselves autonomously.

Limolo Activities skipper, Daniela Meloni, devised the training method for Parkinson’s disease sufferers. In doing so, she made a few changes to the classical method.

The more evident goals they achieve in such an energizing environment, the more self-confident they will be. 

Vela: Il metodo di insegnamento

Il metodo di insegnamento utilizzato con i pazienti Parkinson è stato elaborato da Daniela Meloni, la skipper di Limolo Activites, applicando diverse varianti rispetto al metodo classico. L’osservazione delle difficoltà di movimento, i timori particolari e la diversa dinamica delle reazioni dei pazienti Parkinson ha portato ad individuare un metodo ottimale nella scomposizione in fasi e sottofasi delle azioni necessarie alle manovre.

Ogni giorno, si comincia con una ginnastica di riscaldamento, utilizzando cime, winch e parti della barca. parkinson modugnoI pazienti sono richiamati ad operare con molta concentrazione in quanto è necessario che recuperino la loro minore rapidità utilizzando precisione e coordinamento. La barca diventa una palestra a cielo aperto e “un piccolo teatro” perchè le manovre essenziali per la navigazioni ed i ruoli a bordo vengono simulati e appresi prima di uscire dal porto. In mare aperto, tra virate e strambate, i pazienti provano tutti i ruoli, timone compreso.

L’evidenza dei buoni risultati che riescono ad ottenere, in un contesto altamente energizzante come quello del mare, vento e barca, aumenta la loro autostima e li rende consapevoli di forze e capacità che erano spesso convinti di avere perso.

L’ultima giornata è test di verifica, velocizzando comandi e manovre. Ognuno viene stabilizzato nel ruolo consono alle sue inclinazioni e capacità. Spesso siamo riusciti ad affidare interamente ai pazienti la conduzione della barca, mantenendo una mera funzione di controllo. Sulla scia di questo risultato e quale ulteriore verifica del lavoro svolto e del metodo utilizzato, nell’Ottobre del 2018, tre pazienti sono stati selezionati per la regata dei Legionari a Porto Rotondo che si è disputata concludendo con un ottimo risultato in classifica.

il Neurologo Stefano Modugno sul molo

Doctor’s opinion.

Nicola Modugno, neurologist
Head of the Parkinson’s disease and motor disorders center (I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed, Pozzilli IS).

Sailing turned out to be an all-round sporting activity. It fosters the progress of effective outdoor gym drills needed for the management of a sail boat. Practicing will enable patients to exercise their motor control and coordination and their stamina.


Imogen Kusch parla ad un gruppo di partecipanti del progetto Sail4Parkinson

Acting: Parkinson’s disease patients and the five-action method.

Imogen Kusch, Director

While working with patients, we often use a technique from acting trainings. Known as the five-action method, this technique aims at whetting the patients motor skills through the involvement of their minds, bodies, spirits and self-consciousness.

Acting is perceived as a form of art therapy here.

dei musicisti si esibiscono suonando sassofono e tastiere

La Musica

Throughout the Sail4Parkinson project, you can always hear music. Our exercises with lines are beaten by saxophonist and flute player Andrea Mieli and singer and keyboard player Didier Caria. Their live soundtrack also acts as the background music of relaxation moments with Imogen Kusch and his work about the five-action method. Music in the projects is meant to teach us the meaning of “here and now”.

Cuoco e partecipanti preparano dei piatti in cucina

Cooking together and paying attention to a proper diet.

Daniela Meloni: Dinners at Limolo.
Leonardo Marongiu Cooking Class Hub Restaurant, in Macomer.

It’s also necessary to see to eating as a fundamental aspect of individual well-being. Often Parkinson’s disease sufferers are overweight due to their symptoms and their carelessness about what they eat. What we want to do in the project is to make both patients and companions / escorts / assistants aware of healthy eating. All dishes served in our meals, including typical Sardinian recipes, contain fresh local ingredients.

Light lunches and part of dinners are provided by Daniela from Limolo Activities. Light lunches are protein-free content for experimental reasons, as we want to check L-DOPA absorption in the afternoon and in the evening. About quantity and combinations, dishes are designed to highlight the match between taste and simplicity.

la psicoterapeuta Silva Della Morte parla ad un gruppo di partecipanti al progetto Sail4Parkinson

Working with a psychotherapist

Doctor SIlvia Della Morte.

All moments lived in Sail4Parkinson arouse emotions every day. Therapeutic work aims at strengthening team energy. All this through individual and team awareness moments, where the participants are encouraged to describe their own feelings and rearrange new, solid lifestyles in the future.

la psicoterapeuta Silva Della Morte parla ad un gruppo di partecipanti al progetto Sail4Parkinson

Several activities, one single project, lots of results.

The whole idea is to practice every feasible activity at sea and on earth, so that an adaptable format could be used based on the weather conditions. Thus, patients will manage to get out of their ruts and gradually get aware of their potentialities, reinforcing their resilience.

It will take patients a few days to get more self-confident, determined, happy, enthusiastic and sociable. After that, they will often come to improve their motor skills.Doctor Nicola Modugno, Medic, Neurologist

Thanks for photos to photographer Vittorio Andreatta


Sail4Parkinson’s team is here to provide further details about the Sail4Parkinson program and the next editions of the project.

foto di gruppo dei partecipanti ad una delle edizioni di Sail4Parkinson