Multiple Sclerosis, Pilates & Stretch Therapy

What Is Multiple Sclerosis

 MS is a chronic neurological disorder in which the immune system apparently and inexplicably attacks the protective myelin sheaths surrounding nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. Sclerosis refers to the plagues, or scars, that can form at the site of destruction.

Treatment

Conventional Medical Treatment

includes drugs aimed at lessening frequency & severity of attacks, thus slowing progression & decreasing potential of permanent damage to the central nervous system. Additionally, drugs may be prescribed for chronic symptoms such as depression and pain. 

Alternative Therapies

are aimed at a holistic balancing of the body/mind. Akind to a “well-being”approach for addressing body, mind,& spirit. This is essential to combating the effects of the disease, some believe.

Self-care is thought to be helpful as well. A few examples can include, but are not limited to, a daily routine of pilates or yoga, meditation, and attention to diet. Some dietary supplements have been found beneficial.

Massage & bodywork are among alternatives recommended by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). Though research in these areas is minimal. It has been found massage therapy/ human touch, lowered anxiety, improved depressed mood, & increased self-esteem & body image in some individuals.

More eclectic approaches in treatment & therapy are:

•Muscle Energy Techniques

•Passive-Positional Muscle Release

•Fascial Release Techniques

Pilates

involves precise moves & specific breathing techniques. It is great for strengthening and toning your abdomen & pelvis. Pilates also helps us maintain good posture. With that being said, a strong mind/body connection is inevitable. That alone, is reason enough practicing pilates helps those with MS. By increasing core stability, maintaining a standing balance isn’t as daunting as it could be, without a strong core.

A person with MS will, at some stage in the disease, have times when his or her body doesn’t respond to what the brain is telling it to do. In some instances, one may be incapable of feeling things clearly, or even at all. Just by having a CPT put their hands on the client… where his or her body is in space… seems to prove very important. Afterall, it’s much better than not being touched at all.

Fascial Stretch Therapy

as stated in my last post, is the practice of improving  the mobility of one’s nerves & the flexibility of his or her muscles & fascia by focusing on the fascial lines that connect through & wrap around muscle, nerves, organs, &  just about everything else in your body. The FS Therapist’s goal, by using specific techniques, is increasing the blood flowing to the body & brain; more energy is flowing down the spine, to the spinal column… giving the individual more energy & allows them to move easier. All while aligning the whole body, working on structural balancing & releasing spasticity by using flexing & range-of-motion work.

Fatigue is often stress-related, so massage & Stretch therapy are very effective in helping people relax and de-stress.

Awareness exercises & movement can help clients learn to pay attention & to feel more in their body.

Gaining confidence in knowing one can do something, is extremely beneficial when suffering from chronic illness, because, like many others, this disease deprives the individual of feeling in control.

 

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