multiple sclerosis

Is Massage Good for Multiple Sclerosis? Benefits and Research

Is Massage Good for Multiple Sclerosis? Benefits and Research

Massage therapy can offer a whole host of benefits for ordinary people, ranging from easing pain to improving sleep. But what about when you have an autoimmune disorder like multiple sclerosis (MS)? 

Living with MS can mean facing a diverse range of mental and physical symptoms each day. And those who are affected by it will often try natural therapies — like massage — to support their well-being. But is massage good for multiple sclerosis? 

Below, learn about massage therapy and multiple sclerosis, including the benefits, research, and tips for getting started.

What Are the Benefits of Massage for Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition that affects the central nervous system. Some of its main symptoms are pain, fatigue, and muscle spasms.

To curb these symptoms and boost well-being, many people with MS will use massage alongside their prescribed treatment plans. In fact, one 2018 review found that massage was one of the three most popular complementary therapies for people living with MS. 

And as it turns out, people may be gravitating toward massage for good reason. Here are some of the most promising benefits of massage for MS to know about:

Soothes Stress and Boosts Mood

Multiple sclerosis can take a toll on your health in many ways, and it’s not always physical. For example, anxiety and depression are three times more common for those with MS than they are for the general public. 

Luckily, you might find that a good massage can curb your stress and improve your emotional well-being. Research has shown that:

  • Massage may be able to boost endorphins and happiness hormones. 
  • Massage and reflexology can soothe anxiety and stress in those with multiple sclerosis.
  • Massage can ease specific physical symptoms of MS — and in turn, this can boost a person’s quality of life.

Curbs Fatigue and Supports Energy

The single most common symptom of MS is fatigue. And if you have this condition, you might know first-hand how low energy levels can get in the way of your day-to-day life. But the good news is that routine massage may be able to help. 

In a 2016 pilot study, 24 individuals with MS received a therapeutic massage once a week for six weeks. And at the end of the study, they reported significant improvements in their fatigue levels.

Beyond that, a 2021 review of ten studies found that massage and reflexology were both helpful for alleviating fatigue in those with MS.

May Reduce Aches, Pains, and Muscle Spasticity

Muscle spasms are a common experience for people living with MS, and they can feel like anything from slight stiffness to severe pain. Fortunately, certain types of bodywork therapies, like massage and reflexology, have been shown to reduce spasticity in MS patients.

In addition, the same 2021 review mentioned earlier also showed that massage could alleviate pain for MS patients — on top of reducing fatigue.

It’s important to note that too deep of a massage can sometimes increase muscle spasms. If this is a worry for you, just remember to start out with light pressure. And as you get a feel for how your body responds, you can gradually work up to a deeper massage over time.

Precautions and Considerations

As with all health-related matters, it’s important to start your new massage routine with care. Here are some tips to keep in mind before getting started:

  • Talk with your doctor about starting your massage journey. They can give you expert advice regarding how to best go about massage based on your unique health.
  • Avoid too much pressure when you’re in a flare-up. During MS flare-ups, touch, kneading, and even gentle pressure might hurt more than it helps. 
  • Ease into your massage routine. It’s best not to start with an intense massage gun or deep tissue therapy. Instead, try light forms of massage. You could use gentle home massage tools, ask a partner, or work with a masseuse to see how you feel after lighter therapeutic touch.

The Takeaway on Massage and Multiple Sclerosis

So, is massage good for multiple sclerosis? So far, the research has shown that it offers some incredible benefits for those living with this autoimmune condition. These include:

  • Easing stress and anxiety 
  • Boosting quality of life
  • Reducing fatigue 
  • Soothing aches and pains

With that being said, every case of MS is unique — and the results of massage therapy can look different for each person. So, just be sure to proceed with care, and with guidance from your healthcare team.

To get started, you might find it helpful to work with your doctor while slowly integrating massage into your routine. For instance, you could begin by trying weekly or monthly visits to a massage therapist. And for daily relief, you can use a physician-trusted massage tool like those offered by MedMassager.

View the MedMassager Body Massager Plus today, or learn more about its many uses here.

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