Therapeutic Yoga: Symptom Management for Multiple Sclerosis

Rogers, Kim A.; MacDonald, Megan
November 2015
Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine;Nov2015, Vol. 21 Issue 11, p655
Academic Journal
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common autoimmune inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, affecting over 2.3 million people worldwide. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the age of disease onset is typically between 20 and 40 years, with a higher incidence in women. Individuals with MS experience a wide range of symptoms, including declining physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms (e.g., fatigue, imbalance, spasticity, chronic pain, cognitive impairment, bladder and bowel dysfunction, visual and speech impairments, depression, sensory disturbance, and mobility impairment). To date, both the cause of and cure for MS remain unknown. In recent years, more individuals with MS have been pursuing alternative methods of treatment to manage symptoms of the disease, including mind-body therapies such as yoga, meditation, breathing, and relaxation techniques. It has been suggested that the practice of yoga may be a safe and effective way of managing symptoms of MS. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to summarize the most relevant literature on exercise and mind-body modalities to treat MS symptoms and, more specifically, the benefits and potential role of yoga as an alternative treatment of symptom management for individuals with MS. The article also discusses future directions for research.


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