As we have written, massage therapy is an excellent Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), and can be a CAM therapy for many different conditions (for example, see last week’s entry on burns and massage therapy). Recent research has shown massage therapy to be effective in dealing with symptoms on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) as well.
In the summer-2010 edition of the Massage Therapy Journal, three studies done in the past five years were examined, showing that reflexology (massage therapy to specific points in the foot and lower leg) can be helpful in lowering levels or pain, as well as in improving muscle movement and physical sensation for people suffering from MS. General massage was also seen as effective in reducing symptoms of depression, fatigue and pain in MS sufferers, but further research needs to be done to more throroughly understand the effect massage therapy has on the disease.
This research supports an earlier study featured by the Touch Research Institute, a favorite source of ours for information about medical conditions for which massage therapy can be used as an effective CAM therapy. TRI cites a study written in 1998 in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies that shows massage therapy’s effectiveness in lowering anxiety and depression levels among people with MS. In the study, regular massage therapy was also demonstrated to improve patients’ self-esteem, body image and morale about the disease and their place in society as MS sufferers.
While further study should be done in order to pinpoint precise types of massage therapy and how they can help soothe specific symptoms of MS, the general conclusion from academic research is that massage therapy can be an effective complementary treatment for the disease.
Massage therapy therefore seems to be an effective CAM therapy for Multiple Sclerosis as well as many others catalogued already in the Blog. Let us know in the comments area if you feel we’ve missed one.