As a CAM Practitioner, I have the pleasure and privilege of supporting lots of different kinds of people in managing symptoms of long term conditions. One of these conditions is Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is a neurological condition that affects the Central Nervous System (brain and spinal cord), which controls all functions of our bodies. MS affects the myelin sheath, the coating that surrounds our nerve fibres – nerve fibres communicate messages to and from the brain and body. MS is an autimmune condition, which means that our body’s immune system mistakes myelin as a foreign substance and perceives it as a threat to the body, attacking it accordingly. This damages the sheath and affects, or prevents, successful communication between the brain and the various parts of the body.
MS is a complex condition and, currently, there is no cure. There are many different types – it is different for everyone affected – and it is a challenging, life limiting condition. Physical symptoms include spasms and stiffness in muscles; loss of feeling in muscles; balance, dizziness and speech issues; bowel and bladder problems and memory difficulties. Emotionally, people affected by MS often feel a great deal of stress and experience depression and anxiety. This is often accompanied by a deep sense of loss which, in my experience, is a commonly overlooked, but incredibly important, emotional aspect of the condition.
Studies show holistic therapies improve the management of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms and here I look at the benefits of individual therapies.
Reflexology and Massage – popular choices for self care
A study using survey methods investigated the types of complementary and alternative therapies use by people affected by MS. The results of the survey showed Reflexology, Massage and Aromatherapy to be three of the most popular CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) therapies to be used in self care and symptom management.
Holistic Therapies to improve the symptoms of MS
The effects of Reflexology on the physical symptoms of MS have been investigated in various studies, with positive results.
In one study, 71 patients were randomised to receive either Reflexology on specific points in the feet and massage of the calf area, or non-specific massage of the calf area only without Reflexology. 53 patients completed the study and showed significant improvements in paraesthesia (sensations such as pins and needles, numbness, tingling), bladder symptoms and muscle strength and spasms. The study concluded that Reflexology benefits in alleviating motor, sensory and urinary symptoms in people affected by MS.
In another study, 73 people received Reflexology and Foot Masssage each week for 10 weeks, which was primarily as a treatment for pain. They showed improvement for pain, fatigue, depression and muscle spasms, with the effect on pain lasting for up to twelve weeks.
For more information on MS, visit the MS Society website.
Treatments and Prices
Please visit Treatments and Prices for more information on treatments, prices and booking.
Please visit Book online. There is a choice of two centres for appointments – please note that The Glasgow Osteopathic Centre has full accessibility, including wheelchair access and on street parking.
– Siev-Ner I, et al.
Reflexology treatment relieves symptoms of multiple sclerosis: a randomised controlled study.
Multiple Sclerosis 2003;9(4) 356-361.
– Hughes CM, et al.
Reflexology for the treatment of pain in people with multiple sclerosis: a double-blind randomised sham-controlled clinical trial.
Multiple Sclerosis 2009;15(11):1329-1338
– Esmonde L, Long AF.
Complementary therapy use by persons with multiple sclerosis: Benefits and research priorities.
Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2008; 14 (3): 176-184.
©Andrea Doran, Flourish, May 2017