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Effects of Massage Therapy on Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Gabriela Wieczorek, RMT - Registered Massage Therapist

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the brain and spinal cord. The protective layer around the brain and spinal cord gradually becomes damaged causing an impaired nervous system with faulty signals. Symptoms of MS are dependent on the type of MS, severity, and progression rate. These include muscle stiffness, difficulty walking and keeping balance, numbness and/or weakness in the arms and legs, cognitive impairment, and fatigue.

Registered massage therapy has been shown to provide numerous benefits for individuals living with multiple sclerosis (MS). To start, massage therapy can help alleviate muscle stiffness and spasticity which is commonly experienced by those with MS. By targeting specific muscle groups and applying various techniques, therapists can help improve flexibility and range of motion, ultimately enhancing overall mobility and reducing discomfort.

As we know, massage therapy has a relaxation component to it as well. This can influence patients with MS positively by reducing their stress levels. The overall calming effects of massage therapy can help alleviate anxiety and improve mood, contributing to a better quality life for those managing the challenges of MS. Additionally, the tactile stimulation provided during massage sessions can help individuals reconnect with their bodies and improve body awareness, which can be particularly beneficial for those experiencing sensory disturbances associated with MS such as numbness/tingling.  

Regular massage therapy sessions can also help improve circulation and lymphatic flow, which may aid in reducing inflammation and promoting overall wellness for individuals with MS. By incorporating massage therapy into their healthcare routine, individuals can experience not only physical benefits but also emotional and mental well-being. It is important for individuals with MS to consult with their healthcare providers and RMTs to determine the most appropriate treatment plan tailed to their specific needs and goals. 



Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, December 24). Multiple sclerosis. Mayo Clinic.

 Negahban, H., Rezaie, S., Goharpey, S., & Mehravar, M. (2015). Massage therapy and exercise therapy in patients with multiple sclerosis: a randomized controlled pilot study. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, 8(3), 10-15.

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