Alleviating Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms Possible with Yoga and Aquatic Exercises

Multiple sclerosis symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and paresthesia can be alleviated using yoga and aquatic exercises.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and paresthesia can be alleviated using yoga and aquatic exercises, according to findings published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Researchers from the University of Basel randomly assigned 54 women with MS to various exercise groups in order to explore the idea that standard immune regulatory medicine can ameliorate both fatigue and depression in MS patients. They also wanted to investigate whether these activities can influence paresthesia compared to patients not in an exercise program.

The women, whose average age was 34 years, could be assigned to a yoga class, aquatic exercise or a non-exercise control group. The women’s existing therapies were not changed or stopped. Patients also completed two questionnaires — one at baseline and one after eight weeks – which discussed their symptoms of fatigue, depression, and paresthesia.

The MS symptoms of fatigue, depression, and paresthesia significantly decreased in patients involved in the yoga and aquatic exercise groups compared to the control group, the researchers observed. The rate of reporting moderate to severe depression was 35-fold higher in the non exercise groups compared to the two exercise interventions.

“The pattern of results suggests that for females with MS and treated with standard immune regulatory medication, exercise training programs such as yoga and aquatic exercising positively impact on core symptoms of MS, namely, fatigue, depression, and paresthesia,” the study authors concluded. “Exercise training programs should be considered in the future as possible complements to standard treatments.”

The researchers noted that other MS symptoms can include both physical and mental fatigue, faintness, depression and paresthesia such as pins and needles sensation, itchiness and numbness. The researchers called their findings a “positive influence” over these symptoms of MS.