Complementary Therapies and MS: Aromatherapy, Music Therapy, Art Therapy
Hopefully, disease-modifying drugs or alternative therapies result in improved physical health for the MSer. Complementary therapies are used along with these therapies to enhance quality of life.
According to the World Health Organization, Quality of Life is "The degree to which a person enjoys the important possibilities of his or her life." In simpler terms, quality of life is what makes life worth living.
There are many different complementary therapies available to improve quality of life for MSers, and today, I am going to talk mostly about three of them.
Aromatherapy is the use of fragrances that may have a positive effect on both mind and body. This form of complementary therapy can be administered using essential oils during a massage or bath, or, for particularly frail patients, simply by inhaling lit scented candles. Different fragrances affect different problems. Generally, juniper and rosemary are recommended for MS. Different scents also apply beginning with the initial diagnosis to specific symptoms such as problems with sleep, neuro-muscular pain, mood, and more.
Music therapy is the use of music to maintain, restore, or improve physical, emotional, psychosocial and neurological function. It is always nice to hear a song, but even music components such as tones or certain beat patterns and rhythm are useful therapy. For example, certain components help with stress, pain and spasticity. Rhythm can also aid balance and coordination. Some research indicates that music therapy may have a positive impact on many MS issues.
Art therapy uses the creative process of making art to improve a person's physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Creating art helps improve both the emotional and mental state, relieves stress and tension, and it serves as a creative outlet. There is no need to be talented artistically in order to take advantage of this creative form of complementary therapy. Sometimes when a problem is difficult to express in words, painting helps clarify the issue. In addition, the opportunity to exhibit the art works actually gives MSers a feeling of empowerment for doing something.
There are other complementary therapies. For example, writing a journal is helpful for reducing stress and developing coping skills. And, dancing provides exercise as well as self-expression and can be performed either on foot or in a wheelchair.
The value of complementary therapy is impressive when added to any traditional or alternative therapy. These therapies and more like them undoubtedly add fun to daily life, enhance personal quality of life, and make life worth living.
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