Yoga has self-healing element that helps alleviate pain and other symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Abbreviated as MS, multiple sclerosis is a central nervous system (CNS) disorder that affects the brain and spinal cord characterized by numbness, loss of muscle control, poor vision and balance. It is a form of autoimmune disease that damages the nerves of the brain and the spinal cord. It is more common in women than in men with highest incident rate found among teens. In multiple sclerosis, there is demyelization in which electrical signals from body organs cannot reach the brain due to breakdown of myelin sheath.
The signs and symptoms of a person with multiple sclerosis depend on the severity of the condition and the location of scar tissues. Diagnosing multiple sclerosis can be a challenging task since symptoms are usually vague and can mimic other diseases. MRI test may help detect the destruction of myelin sheath. However, there is no clear cure for MS. The drugs available for the disorder are only designed to reduce the severity of symptoms but do not actually correct multiple sclerosis.
What is Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini yoga is a combination of exercise and meditation techniques that promotes physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. It is the yoga of choice for those who have multiple sclerosis. It is an excellent body workout perfect for individuals with muscle weakness and poor sense of balance. Kundalini yoga increases vitality of the nervous system particularly the brain and the spinal cord. The Kundalini energy represents a snake that is coiled on the spine.
Advocates of the Kundalini believed that the base of the spine has untapped form of energy and once it is drawn up, it can awaken the seven chakras, the seats of body energies. A unique characteristic of Kundalini yoga is the specific breathing technique that is associated with every Kundalini yoga pose. A Kundalini yoga session commences with a short chant followed by warm-up exercises and stretching techniques.
Kundalini Yoga Improves Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Kundalini yoga involves meditation, chanting, breathing exercises and mudras. In a randomized controlled study of yoga on multiple sclerosis, it is found out that after 6 months of attending yoga classes, subjects of the study were able to improve their fatigue and other symptoms (1).
The benefits of yoga are well-established. It has a self-healing mechanism that slows down the disease process such as in the case of multiple sclerosis. It also releases the untapped energy (e.g Kundalini yoga) and helps thwart fatigue. Most yoga exercises are mild making them a good choice for individuals who are weak and debilitated like that of multiple sclerosis. It is not demanding and the poses of yoga help conserve one’s energy. A physical activity that promotes both mental and spiritual wellness, performing yoga sessions lift negative feelings such as depression. More than that, yoga stretches muscles. This benefits the individuals with multiple sclerosis as it increase blood flow to their weak muscles. Last but not the least, meditation in yoga also relaxes brain.
Smeltzer, Suzanne C. EdD, RN, FAAN, (2008). Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing 11th Edition. Pennsylvania: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.