Because there are so many benefits of massage, many multiple sclerosis (MS) patients use this form of bodywork for relief of some of the most common symptoms. So how does massage benefit patients with MS? Read on to find out.
Symptoms of MS
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, "MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body."
Common symptoms of MS include:
- Walking difficulties
- Numbness or tingling
- Vision Problems
- Dizziness and Vertigo
- Bladder problems
- Sexual problems
- Bowel problems
- Cognitive changes
- Emotional changes
Treatment for MS typically involves medication to control symptoms, but some patients may opt to include massage therapy as a complementary treatment. Those dealing with chronic pain and other conditions may also consider a massage chair for their home for their ease and convenience.
Multiple Sclerosis Massage
The National MS Society explains that massage therapy can help prevent or alleviate the following symptoms of multiple sclerosis:
- Spasticity: Massage can help relax muscles, reduce spasms, and improve range of motion exercises.
- Pain: Massage is useful in any condition in which a decrease in swelling or movement of tissues leads to pain relief. MS patients will enjoy stimulation of the tissue from massage, as well as reduced anxiety and fear.
- Poor circulation: The use of friction in massage can improve blood flow through superficial veins, while petrissage (massage of skin that is gently lifted or squeezed) can increase circulation in deeper arteries and veins. Massage can also increase capillary dilation (widening of the blood vessels) through light stroking. Improved circulation allows sensory nerves to heal by removing the excess pressure.
- Pressure sores: Massage may help prevent the development of pressure sores; however, the National MS Society recommends massage not be used if pressure sores or reddened areas of inflammation are present.
Overall, massage therapy can reduce pain, increase range of motion, and decrease stress and depression in people with multiple sclerosis. It is important for those with MS to keep stress levels low because stress can worsen or trigger symptoms. Treating yourself to regular massages in a calming environment can improve your well-being, especially as someone with MS.
MS patients should be sure to consult their physician prior to trying massage therapy of any kind. Once approved by your doctor, the benefits of massage can make a major difference in your life!