Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy is one of the oldest healing arts. There are many varied forms and methods of massage. These techniques may include, but are not limited to, stroking, kneading, tapping, compression, vibration, rocking, friction, and pressure to the muscular structure or soft tissue of the human body. This may also include non-forceful passive or active movement and / or application of techniques intended to affect the energetic systems of the body.

Massage therapy can provide many benefits for people living with MS:

Stress Reduction - One of the most common reasons people seek massage therapy is for stress reduction and relaxation. Stress can manifest itself in various ways and complicate almost any existing medical condition. Compounded with the symptoms and deficits associated with MS, stress can become detrimental to an individual’s emotional and physical health. Massage works to decrease depression, anxiety and stress levels.

Muscle Tension or Spasticity - Many massage techniques reduce muscle tension, relieve pain, and increase circulation and muscle length to reduce spasm. Other massage strokes soothe the nervous system, temporarily reducing excess stimulation of muscle fibers. Slow massage techniques can produce measurable physiological changes in muscle stiffness, while also decreasing anxiety.

Joint Stiffness - Massage promotes blood circulation in muscles and around joints. This increases pliability of the tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissue leading to improved movement of joints.

Muscle Weakness or Atrophy - It is important to maintain the integrity of muscle tissue. Although massage cannot directly strengthen muscles, massage therapy helps by improving blood circulation throughout the body, making it easier and more comfortable to exercise.

In addition to any beneficial effects produced by massage itself, the mere aspect of physical interaction between the practitioner and the person receiving the massage may positively impact a person through increased self-esteem and quality of life. By increasing joint mobility and decreasing pain and spasms, massage therapy may improve personal hygiene, dressing ability, and overall functional mobility.