How does Reflexology benefit Multiple Sclerosis?

First of all we must identify what multiple sclerosis is. MS is a progressive condition of the Central Nervous System in which scattered patches of myelin in the brain and spinal cord are destroyed. This causes symptoms ranging from numbness and tingling to paralysis and incontinence. No two people with MS have the same symptoms. The severity varies markedly too. It is characterised by a multiple patchy pattern of disabilities variable in site and time with dramatic unpredictable improvements or deterioration. The cause of the condition is unknown. The cure of the condition is unknown. It is thought to be an autoimmune disorder, but there is also evidence that it has genetic qualities. Environment may also play a part, while there are also concerns about viruses picked up in early stages of life being responsible. It is the most common acquired condition of the nervous system with the ratio of women to men at 3V2. Four types of the condition have been identified.

Some physical symptoms of MS

Flu like symptoms Low attention span Heavy legs or ambulatory problems
Stiff joints & muscle spasm or cramp Vertigo or dizziness Loss of balance or memory
Extreme fatigue Back, limb or head pain Co-ordination problems
Burning sensation in the feet/hands Incontinence or constipation Atrophy syndrome
Numbness and pins & needles Frequent urinary tract infections Facial palsy & nerve impairment
Poor circulation – cold hands/feet Optic nerve damage Dropped foot syndrome
Slowed thought process Blurred, double vision, or loss of sight Sexual difficulties or dysfunction

Some emotional symptoms of MS

Denial Jealousy, or guilt Remorse suffering or hurt
Fear anxiety, or worry Embarrassment Shame or torment
Depression Concern Distress or annoyance
Irritability Tearfulness Contempt
Anger or frustration Stress and tension Sadness
Grief Restlessness or overthinking Nervousness
Impatience Reminiscence or Paranoia Doubt


Usually clients present with four or five symptoms (not all of the above) from both the physical and or emotional areas as outlined above. This depends largely on the location and condition of the plaques throughout the body.

The Benefits of Reflexology

  • Reduces tension and helps with combating stress
  • Improves circulation of blood and lymph throughout the body
  • Promotes wellbeing and relaxation
  • Helps to reduce toxins and impurities from the body
  • Creates a space for the body to balance itself
  • Strengthens the immune system and energises the body

During a treatment, the primary system being focused on is the Central Nervous System, while the type of treatment should be nourishing, yet stimulating and relaxing, with particular attention to a variety of points which are specific to the nervous system and multiple sclerosis. On a physical level, by working the brain it helps to restore areas of degeneration and stimulate brain function while at the same time creating relaxation. Working the spine strengthens the lines of communication of the nervous system. Stimulating the eye reflex area reduces visual disturbances and enhances optimal functioning. The throat reflex area eases tension and improves communication. By working the liver it helps detoxify the body and mind, particularly beneficial if a client is on medication for their condition. The limbs help to improve sensitivity, mobility and co-ordination. The urinary system including the bladder helps to stimulate muscle sphincters and stimulate all nervous function of the body via the bladder channel. By working the kidneys they support the urinary system, but are also used as a helper area for the eyes and vision process. The adrenals as part of the endocrine system helpto reduce inflammation. The solar plexus and diaphragm are worked to ease tension and anxiety while the lungs deepen the breath of life. In addition to all of the above helper points, areas, and systems should include the endocrine system to support inner strength and understanding, the lymphatic system, to expel degenerated tissue, the circulatory system to improve circulation and oxygenate the blood, and by working all reflex points on both feet to rebuild the natural state of mind body and soul.

Emotional repression leads to an inability to move forward and that leads to muscular and mental confusion and then atrophy. This can involve anxiety and a sense of having to carry on without support or help, when really there is a desire to collapse or a resistance to taking responsibility. According to Debbie Shapiro, author of‘The Body-Mind Workbook’, ‘fixed attitudes and mental patterns lead to an inability to cope or flow with change’. The emotional spine is the very back bone of our being, the central channel of our nervous system, blood supply, core and spiritual energy. The spine is in many ways the most important part of the body, for it holds everything in place. Spinal problems are related to issues in the deepest core of our nervous system. Chris Stormeranother renowned reflexology author, believes that it provides support and the sensitivity to adapt to life’s ups and downs.

Stress: Stress is part and parcel of life. Different people can cope with varying degrees of stress. Dealing with an initial diagnosis of MS can be a very stressful situation, and possibly the most stressful situation of ones life. Extensive research has shown how stress can have negative effects on the immune system. It can be broadly defined as anything that makes an individual feel threatened or anxious.
The acceptance of an MS diagnosis is broken down into five stages, they may not appear in this specific order;
1. Adjustment, Denial and Shock
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

This process can take years, depending on the individual and their ability to cope and manage their diagnosis. According to statistics, MS is most likely to present itself while in the early 20’s, a time when people are making plans for their future, finishing education, and starting employment, or starting a family. There is no convenient time for such a diagnosis. With this in mind the stages are very understandable. Stress is never far away with the many challenges that MS poses on life. Stress is the corner stone of any major illness today. Untreated stress can lead to insomnia, exhaustion, tightness of the chest, loss of concentration, incapacity to solve problems, disinterest and many others too numerous to mention. Adopting coping skills and strategies for stress become very necessary and a part of everyday life.Managing stress is the only thing you have control over.Just like MS itself acceptance is not linear and doesn’t take on a form as it too is multiple. Reflexology is the most effective antidote to alleviating stress.


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