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    The Effects of yoga for people with multiple sclerosis

    Aug 23, 2015 · by Peter O · no comments

    Multiple Sclerosis is a brain and spinal cord disease which may get worse as time passes. The myelin sheath that covers the brain and spinal cord is damaged causing autonomic, visual, motor and sensory weakness and disorder. Due to a damaged myelin sheath, the usual flow of information from the brain to the other parts of the body is disrupted. It is a common autoimmune disorder affecting the central nervous system. Currently, it does not have a concrete cause and factors. However, it is believed to be triggered by viral or bacterial infection.

    Though a person with multiple sclerosis can show most neurological sign and symptom, the most noticeable sign of multiple sclerosis is a progressive weakness of the extremities causing dysfunction of these parts of the body. It affects the movement of the patient as well as balance and flexibility. Although there are no developed cures for multiple sclerosis, several therapies have been proven helpful in maintaining body function and preventing disability.
    One of the most interesting management of multiple sclerosis is through any forms of Yoga. Yes, as stated above, there will be noticeable weakness in the extremities that prohibits the patient to perform any yoga positions. However, modern studies proved that yoga can be a part of the management for patients with multiple sclerosis.
    How does yoga help patients with multiple sclerosis?
    Lyengar yoga which is a type of Hatha yoga focuses on breathing, body alignment and postures to improve strength, flexibility. Most yoga instructors create asanas (specialized series of yoga poses) to individualize management of multiple sclerosis.
    The most common asanas recommended for patients with multiple sclerosis are the following:

    Mountain Pose with Overhead Stretch
    This allows patients to stretch the upper extremity without overextending the body. These increases arm and hand flexibility and mobility without possibly hurting the person executing the pose.

    Forward bend to waist height

    For this type of pose, it is recommended that the patient try out the position is an overhead barrier. This is to ensure safety and balance. This promotes proper posture in individuals with the multiple sclerosis. Patients in Multiple sclerosis, the person tends to slouch overtime due to decreased muscle strength. This position, when performed consistently, will increase upper and lower back muscle strength necessary for balance and posture.

    Warrior Pose II

    This is a complete exercise position as it focuses not only on the extremities but all parts of the body. More so, it encourages deep breathing exercise to allow proper oxygen supply in the body. It also allows the body to stretch out that facilitates muscle strengthening

    Cobra Pose
    Though this position is more challenging for patients with multiple sclerosis, this helps in regaining muscle and bone control in the arms and legs as the person starts thrusting upward. As the arms and hands starts to weaken, as in patients with multiple sclerosis, increased focus on the arm and hand muscle control and strength is necessary to maintain and improve functionality.

    These are the most common yoga positions recommended for patients with multiple sclerosis. Though some may not be able to do these especially in advanced stages of multiple sclerosis, gradual practice will improve body strength and posture.  Although multiple sclerosis may not be a curable disease, somehow yoga can help patients regain body functionality.


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