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Friday

 

Researchers investigate massage to help Multiple Sclerosis patients



























Image source: MALTINGSTRAINING


People with M.S. can have fatigue, muscle pain or weakness and difficulty with motion.

There is no cure, but researchers at one of the country's top rehabilitation institutes are studying massage techniques to see if M.S. patients can find relief.

Shavonne  Thurman was in her twenties when numbness in her abdomen and double vision sent her to the doctor. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis which has slowly progressed.   


Shavonne said  "It comes, it goes, you never know. You just wake up and it's like oop! Today my legs don't want to work."

Shavonne is taking part in a clinical trial, testing the effects of massage on M.S. patients.
Christina Manella, a massage therapist at Shepherd Center, Atlanta says  "In M.S. in particular the myelin around your nerves is affected. So it sets up a kind of a feedback loop that makes your muscles tighten that's not under your control."

For this study, therapists are using Swedish massage techniques, long, even strokes that are easy to reproduce. 25 patients will receive therapy once a week for six weeks.

Researchers want to measure the impact of massage on spasticity, involuntary muscle tightness. 

Deborah Backus is the director of M.S. research at Shepherd Center. She also wants to know if massage helps patients manage the stress of having a chronic disease.

Backus said,  "M.S.-It's been shown that the fatigue, the pain, it really is closely related with depression, psychological stress, which really impacts the quality of life."

Shavonne says the massages helped to relax and clear her body and relieve stress.

Researchers say there has been little prior research evaluating the use of massage therapy in M.S.  although the benefits of massage on patients with other diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome have been established. Many health insurance plans do not cover massage for M.S. or other chronic diseases, but researchers are hoping that further studies may help change that.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by WAAYTV
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length
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