Multiple Sclerosis is characterized by the inflammation and gradual degradation of myelin sheaths in the spinal cord and brain. The myelin sheaths are replaced with hardened scar tissue. Eventually the electrical impulses in the body begin to short circuit resulting in a progressive loss of sensation and motor control as well as fatigue, spasticity, eye pain and gradual loss of vision. Although the specific cause is unknown it is thought to be caused by an autoimmune response against the myelin sheaths.
Massage must not be given in acute stages of multiple sclerosis. In sub-acute stages massage may help with reducing stress. Care must be taken not to over-stimulate the client which may lead to painful and uncontrolled spasms. Symptoms may also be exacerbated by heat. Light work and energy modalities may be the most easily tolerated.