After working as an assistant to an amazing healer, Dr. Andrew Pasminski, a chiropractor, naprapath and acupuncturist, I applied to and was accepted at the Chicago School of Massage Therapy in 1995. I graduated in August 1996, and have been practicing ever since. One of my motivations for becoming a massage therapist was to provide massages for my Dad who had MS. That never happened, but I have been able to provide relief to clients with multiple sclerosis.
The benefits of massage therapy for MS include the following:
Pain Reduction. Tight muscles and muscle spasms, common in those with MS, are alleviated through massage therapy, thereby reducing pain, especially the pain-spasm-pain cycle.
Increased Flexibility. When muscles are tight and painful, it is a natural reaction to avoid moving that in turn leads to decreased mobility and flexibility. Massage therapy loosens the muscles, controls muscle spasms, tremors and spasticity. Spasticity, most common in the legs, is stiffness and involuntary muscle spams which can lead to immobilized joints and pressure sores, if untreated. It is one of the most common symptoms of MS. Balance and coordination can increase with regular massage therapy treatments.
Stress Reduction. Stress makes just about every condition worse and MS is no exception. Massage therapy helps to reduce stress and anxiety, leaving the client with a wonderful feeling of well-being.
Increased Circulation. Massage therapy increases the passage of blood and oxygen to muscles, which is especially helpful to alleviate neuropathy. This, in turn, also reduces the pain and discomfort that accompany neuropathy.
Induces Deep Sleep. One of the symptoms of MS is disturbed sleep due to muscle spasms and spasticity. Massage therapy aids in inducing deep sleep, which in turn helps alleviate muscle pain. There is a big correlation between lack of sleep and muscle pain.
MS is one of the few conditions that is covered by several insurance companies for massage therapy, so that is worth looking into. A course of regular massage therapy treatments will provide the most benefits.
Have you tried to get regular massages? Have they helped your MS?
Leslie Kahn is a licensed massage therapist who has been practicing for 18 years. She has learned several different bodywork techniques over the years; her treatments are unique and tailored to each individual client. She only makes housecalls, both to businesses and homes. She has been married for 35 years to a native Brit, Martin Aistrope, who is an actor, voiceover performer and dialect coach. In 2000, they adopted a baby boy who turned out to have special needs. She is also a blogger for ChicagoNow at Soapbox Momma.