Michael Hyland, DPT, CEEAA Physical Therapist

An interview with Michael Hyland, DPT, CEEAA Physical therapist for PD on November 14, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.



Please tell me a little about your background.


I grew up in Pensacola, FL and went to graduate school in St. Augustine, FL. So, I am a FL boy through and through. I graduated with my Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2012 and moved to OK where I still live and run my practice. My wife is from this area, so I may be stuck here haha. Anyway, I come from a line of folks that wanted to help people; my paternal grandfather and my dad were Dentists and my mother is a retired physician. I didn’t want to go into medicine or dentistry, but I wanted to help people. Physical Therapy was the best fit for me to do that. 


Can you tell me more about your advocacy?


I have a passion for education. I have always enjoyed not only teaching my clients what to do to help themselves, but also the WHY. Once I developed a passion for working with folks with Parkinson’s Disease this love of educating has grown to be even stronger, mainly due to the issues that I see in the medical field and the lack of education for those who are part of the Parkinson’s community. There are so many unanswered questions and so much fear and doubt when an initial diagnosis is given. Nobody should be afraid of the diagnosis, because in my book knowledge is power and equips you to reach your highest potential as a PwP. That’s the reason behind the Parkinson’s Disease Education Podcast and YouTube channel: To demystify the disease and to empower persons with Parkinson’s Disease to reach their true potential. 


What is your passion and how did you get involved in Parkinson’s awareness and hope for a cure?


As I mentioned before, my passion is educating persons with Parkinson’s Disease (really all of my patients) and that spark was ignited early on in my career. Back in 2010 while still in my PT Doctoral program I was in one of our clinical neuroscience courses over the summer (we had four in the curriculum) and we had learned about PD as one of the multitude of diagnoses that PT can help with and we had learned about LSVT BIG from our professor who was newly certified. She showed us a video by a Norwegian gentleman who was diagnosed with YOPD named Anders Leines. He created a video showing his experience going through LSVT BIG. But the video to me spoke to me so deeply at a level far beyond simply the therapy techniques. He made a video that was, at least for me, deeply moving in that it dripped with hope and inspiration for people living with PD and that this therapy technique was just one way that this was possible. At that moment I said, “THAT is what I want to do as a physical therapist.” From that time, I have had a fascination with all things PD and a passion for helping PwP to fight this disease. 

What type of goals do individuals with Parkinson’s have when working with you?


Most folks that I work with or have worked with want to prevent or stop falling, to regain lost confidence and strength, and to get back to activities that are meaningful to them. In addition, folks want to understand the disease and the implications. I strive to help people to understand why PD affects their movements the way it does, how it impacts balance, posture, ADLs, cognition… the list goes on and on. Another goal that I have had come up with often is to be less of a burden on a loved one who is acting as a caregiver, or if they aren’t dependent on them they want to keep it that way.


What type of training and how long are the programs?


I have a Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy (DPT) and have gone on to obtain certification in LSVT BIG specifically for PD and similar movement disorders. So, with our therapy programs patients will typically go through LSVT BIG, which is a specific protocol of 4x/wk for 4 weeks (16 treatments) delivered by a certified PT or OT. Once that is over, we don’t typically discharge our clients. Some folks transition to maintenance if they are a candidate for that (must meet Medicare guidelines). Otherwise, our clients have the option of a wellness plan to see them on a self-pay basis as often as they would like to keep them accountable and motivated to continue their exercises. For those who truly are finished we keep in touch throughout the year and will evaluate as needed to see if a tune-up is needed, and that is typically 6-12 months after their program has ended. 


Our educational programs are monthly and offered online.  


What effect can your advocacy have on an individual with Parkinson’s?


Our advocacy can empower persons with Parkinson’s to understand what they are going through and to be prepared for what may come down the road. There is a lot that can be done to slow down or prevent some of the physical limitations of the disease and for those things that are inevitable it is best to understand those things now so that it won’t be a surprise later and can therefore be dealt with. Ultimately, knowledge is power.  


What would you like to see as a future goal for your advocacy?


I would love to see people seeking out our material on YouTube and our memberships as a preferred source of information about PD and how to deal with it. Right now, the organizations do a fantastic job of putting together information, but nobody seems to know where to find it. And it doesn’t seem to ever be presented in an orderly fashion from A to Z. There are categories to PD that can be broken down into further categories; for example, motor symptoms and then further subdivided into dystonia, dyskinesia, tremor, freezing etc. And non-motor symptoms could be divided into cognitive, behavioral, mood, digestive, cardiovascular, etc. Who is doing that in an organized and bite-sized manner? That’s my goal. 


What events do you participate in?


On an annual basis I have been invited to be a speaker at APDA Oklahoma’s PRESS meetings and as a speaker and panelist at the annual Education and Research Forum. In addition, I am a webinar presenter for Parkinson’s Lifestyle Management, which is a free online service for education on PD. 


How does your advocacy also assist the caregivers?


So often we see caregivers that are just so overwhelmed with all that their loved one with PD is going through. Not having a great understanding of PD (individual to their loved one and in general) adds to the stress that they already go through every day. Often, I see caregivers getting mad or frustrated when their loved one with PD is confused or slow to respond to a question. I’ve seen the same issue with moving slowly or when they stoop instead of standing tall: “Look up Bob, stop looking at the floor!!” It’s not fair to either of them. So, knowledge can lead to understanding and hopefully patience and acceptance of the situations that they find themselves in. 


How can someone get in touch?  What is your website?


Where can’t they find me? Haha. Our practice site is, but I’ll give you a list of our best resources: 


Facebook – @mahyland; @hylandpt; @parkinsonsed

Instagram – @parkinsonsdiseaseeducation

Twitter/X – @ParkinsonsDisEd

YouTube –

LinkedIn –


And of course my email is


How can others also become advocates for awareness?


Learn as much as you can, teach others as much as you can from what you have learned, and steer folks towards resources that are crucial for their understanding of PD. Subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow us on all our social media as well!


In your opinion what is the key to effective advocacy? 


 The key is to continue learning about your subject or group. The more I listen and answer questions the more that I learn. As much of an expert as I have become in this area, I know that I don’t know everything and probably never will. Regardless of that, empathy and passion are the keys to effective advocacy as far as I’m concerned. 


If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Parkinson’s community, what would it be?


You as a person with Parkinson’s Disease can and should be an inspiration for your loved ones and for your care partners in healthcare. You should be teaching them what you CAN do, rather than allowing them to tell you what you CAN’T do. And don’t ever listen to anybody who tells you nothing can be done” or “this or that isn’t related to Parkinson’s.” Those practitioners, whether they are your PCP or even a neurologist, don’t know what they don’t know yet. If they aren’t listening to you and YOUR experiences, then you need to find another person to work with. Be empowered!