Multiple Sclerosis Patients Can Benefit from Reflexology
Posted Dec 14 2009 2:42am
Medications can only do so much in containing the pain for multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers. Therefore, many doctors encourage alternative treatment options to aid in lessening the pain. If you have MS, one alternative treatment to try is reflexology. It is a type of massage therapy that taps into traditional Chinese medicine. Precise pressure is applied to the hands and feet and you don’t have to contend with slimy massage lotions or oils. Reflexology is quite safe and provides a relaxing way to unwind and hopefully take some of the pain away.
The ancient Chinese believed that your organs, glands and other body parts have corresponding points on your feet and hands. Through the practice of reflexology, stimulating these points can increase energy levels as well as blood circulation. These techniques could ultimately improve your health and overall body function.
What Goes on in a Reflexology Session?
Be early for your first reflexology session as you will have to fill out a health profile so the practitioner understands your health problems and will know where to start. Be honest about your MS and describe your normal day of pain and what you would like to achieve.
The reflexologist will have you soak your feet in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. Depending on the practitioner, the bowl may also contain essential oils and marbles. After soaking for a few minutes, the reflexologist will dry your feet and get your comfortable in a reclining chair or table, depending on your current physical state of health and pain level. The feet soaking not only will relax you but also provide a literal clean “slate” from which to work.
Based on your particular pain problems, the practitioner will manipulate one foot at a time using a variety of pressures and stroking on different parts of your foot. After completing one foot, it is covered with a towel while the reflexologist works on the next foot, repeating the stimulation process. Your type of pain will indicate whether your hands also will receive the pressure point stimulation.
Some places will bundle reflexology sessions in with a spa package while others offer it as a stand-alone. Unless you choose a spa package, your reflexology session will require that you stay fully clothed. Some sessions are short, around 30 minutes while others take an hour. Your MS pain will dictate how long your reflexology session will be. A number of people describe reflexology as a type of massage and therefore should be relaxing, or at least, not painful. While you may feel some discomfort when certain pressure points are manipulated, you should not be in pain. If at any time you do, call a halt to the session. Reflexology is typically a relaxing experience.
There have been no full scale studies on reflexology and its effect on pain sufferers, like MS patients. However, there have been a few blind studies and the main result is that this practice does help alleviate some pain for MS sufferers. Improvements in sensory issues and incontinence were noted in particular. While not mainstream, MS patients can count on reflexology as a legitimate alternative treatment as it can complement any pain treatment that Western medicine prescribes. At the very least, you will achieve a relaxing calm that can be helpful in dealing with pain, especially as an MS patient.