Massage And MS: Managing Symptoms And Improving Quality Of Life

When I was a young girl I thought massages were for wealthy people, something only they could afford to do.

I was dead wrong.

Like others in the MS community, I am trying to live a more holistic life by finding alternatives to medications and over-the-counter remedies.

But pain is a great leveler, forcing you to scramble to find something – anything – to relieve the suffering. After years of downing multiple over-the-counter medications to curb the pain from my MS, fibromyalgia, and tension headaches, I’ve finally turned to alternative options. Heating pads filled with lavender, peppermint oil on my temples, or my husband’s sweet massages are a few of the ways I try to curb the pain. But I need more.

A licensed masseuse to reduce stress and improve overall well-being can be another solution.

I had my first massage in my twenties after hearing about a new masseuse specializing in Swedish massages. I arrived ready to be cured. My hopes were quickly dashed when the receptionist led me to a small, open area on the floor where my massage would take place. People walking around me while loud music blared in my ears were not the calming effect I’d imagined.

I learned my lesson, and now look for licensed massage therapists who provide a quiet, nurturing space for massages. Now I can enjoy hourly sessions with a therapist working on removing tight knots on my body. Along with soothing music and fragrant oils, it is always heavenly.

The News Medical article, “Massage Therapy Can Alleviate Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis” addresses the issues of MS including severe pains, muscle spasms, clinical depression, poor circulation, anxiety and stress. It claims, “Although not a substitute for regular MS treatment, massage therapy is an effective, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) that can alleviate such symptoms and in turn, help to pacify the disease”

The article adds that, “Massage therapy is an easy and affordable complement to doctor-prescribed treatments. Massage therapy may assist MS patients in managing the stress of their symptoms and to improve their quality of life.” 

If you’ve never had a massage I highly recommend getting one. But before you do, decide which type of massage is right for you:

  • Swedish massage: A gentle form using circular strokes to help relax and energize you.
  • Deep massage: A forceful massage that uses slower strokes that go deep into the connective tissues and muscles.
  • Sports massage: Similar to Swedish but geared toward athletes to help or prevent injuries.
  • Trigger point massage: Focusing on tight muscles occurring from overuse or injury.

According to The Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that massage helps with stress, pain and muscle tension. Although more research is needed, a few studies have found that getting a massage is an effective treatment for anxiety, fibromyalgia, headaches, and insomnia.

Best of all, it simply feels good. A qualified therapist can create an atmosphere of total calm and comfort. Be sure to communicate which specific areas you’d like the therapist to focus on (or stay away from), and discuss any health concerns you want them to be aware of.

So relax, close your eyes, and quiet your mind. You deserve to treat yourself to an hour of blissful calm.

Ahh…

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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