Supplemental medical treatments have begun to come into the mainstream as the quality of life concerns overshadow otherwise successful treatment regimens for chronic illnesses. One such situation where a supplemental medical treatment seems to be making a lot of headway in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis through foot massage and reflexology. This article should help you to understand the ins and outs of the concepts being floated in the medical community right now.
It’s never been a frontline technique in modern medicine, but the inherent staying power, at least anecdotally should prove the efficacy of reflexology and foot centered massage touch therapy. But in light of dozens of recent clinical studies, hard science seems to be emerging over said efficacy - and it looks great for sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis.
What is Multiple Sclerosis and what symptoms are difficult to treat?
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease where the immune system degrades the protective outer covering of nerves.
The result is generally a diminishing ability for the brain to maintain proper communication with the nerves and this can lead to a variety of symptoms that can lead to life-altering conditions. A loss of vision, pain, and coordination degradation are among the more prevalent symptoms over a prolonged period, but many other symptoms can manifest throughout the cycle of MS. While there is no current cure for MS, immune suppressors can aid in symptom relief and slowing of the progress of the disease.
The quality of life enhancements are crucial in a treatment plan for MS, and foot massage and Reflexology can help.
Hard to treat MS symptoms include:
- Urinary symptoms
- Sensory pain
- Motor difficulties
- Pain management
Why hasn’t foot massage and Reflexology been used more extensively before now?
It’s pretty simple. MS, while it has been around since way before it was standardized by name as a condition, is relatively new to the world of medicine. French Neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot made it his life work to treat it and named it in 1868. There is documentation as early as the late 14th century which is likely referring to MS sufferers - countless others, no doubt have dealt with the debilitating disease.
While Reflexology was discovered long before the late 14th century, it simply wasn’t well known and the ability to grab information, or to classify diseases was limited until much more recently. It’s important to note, that until now, Reflexology and foot centric touch therapy have been limited by the scientific channels that generally garner support for medical treatments.
There have been dozens of studies of late, however, that aim to change this, especially when it comes to treating MS with foot massage and using Reflexology as a base for touch therapy.
The following clinical studies are great examples:
The weakest of the findings, in a double-blind sham-controlled clinical study still found benefits of foot massage for MS Patients, even if they didn’t conclude that sizable gains were made specifically with regards to Reflexology. This is important because it shows the efficacy of quality of life improvements and leaves room for further development of the science behind techniques. Overall it too is a win for MS sufferers. Note: the incredibly difficult standard built into this test is among the industries tightest control sets for clinical studies. For reference: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19825891/
What can you do right now to take advantage of the science behind the clinical studies and improve your quality of life, while living with MS?
- Get an automatic massager for your feet. The stimulation of one of the more densely packed sets of nerve endings in the body will help in multiple ways.
- Understand how to treat your specific symptoms with touch therapy and targeted Reflexology. If nothing else, there have been indications that the placebo effect can even improve your quality of life thanks to the manual implementation of Reflexology. That said, Reflexology seems to be a solid solution for a majority of MS sufferers, with real benefits.
- Read the studies and talk with your medical professionals. It’s possible they have not seen some of these studies and may be more receptive to helping you find the quality of life improvements through creative techniques and helping to get your treatments through insurance programs and other means.
- Spend some time with self-care. Don’t be afraid to take time to yourself to evaluate and take advantage of treatments that seem to work well for your unique symptoms. No one case of MS is the same as any other. What works for you will need to be more heavily relied upon during flare-ups or particularly hard days.