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Thread: Yoga for MS

  1. #1

    Yoga for MS

    eported May 26, 2003

    Yoga for MS

    LOS ANGELES (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Medical science still has no cure for multiple sclerosis and drug treatments have met with limited success. But one MS patient insists yoga has changed his life. Now he's trying to spread the word, and the technique, to others.

    Eric Small knows his body pretty well. At 73, he's been doing yoga for nearly 40 years ... as a student -- and as a respected instructor. "It's a complete rejuvenation system. And it's non-stressful. And it's self-motivating," Small tells Ivanhoe.

    It wasn't just fitness that attracted Small to yoga back in his 20s, it was a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. He says, "The yoga is the medicine. My drug of choice is the Hatha yoga practice."

    But Small wasn't content simply treating his own ailment. His enthusiasm prompted him to start yoga classes at UCLA, and all over the country, for other MS patients.

    Small's form of the disease, and possibly his years of yoga, have allowed him to remain relatively healthy. But many of his students aren't so lucky. Some need help just to move in their wheelchairs. Still, they see the value of the exercises.

    "How we need to sit, how we need to eat, how we need to work things out, how we need to stretch. He always encourages you, but he never pushes you," says Carmen Bell.

    UCLA doctors agree, but warn that yoga is not a cure. "We don't have any information that yoga arrests disease progression. What yoga does is it helps people feel and function better," says Barbara Giesser, M.D., a neurologist at the UCLA MS Achievement Center.

    Small believes his outcome would have been different without yoga. "I wouldn't be here," he says.

    To date, Small has started yoga classes for multiple sclerosis patients in 16 locations in southern California. He has also trained instructors to run similar classes in Portland, Oregon, San Francisco, Boca Raton, Florida, Ashland, North Carolina, and Philadelphia.

    If you would like more information, please contact:

    Stephanie Fisher
    Director, Multiple Sclerosis Achievement Center at UCLA
    1000 Veteran Avenue
    Suite 1162, Box 714722
    Los Angeles, CA 90095-7147
    (310) 267-4071

  2. #2
    Here's a previous discussion about Yoga and paralysis:

  3. #3
    Many local MS chapters sponsor yoga classes for their members, often free or at a small fee. Tai Chi is often offered as well. For people with MS, mild aerobic exercise that combines relaxation components (for stress management) and limits heavy, prolonged exertion is recommended.


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