A recent study from the University Of Basel proved something we have known for years: exercise, specifically yoga and aquatic exercises, have a positive effect on certain symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

The study, conducted by the University of Basel and the Psychiatric University Clinics Basel in a joint study with colleagues in Iran, completed a random trial of female multiple sclerosis patients. Their findings showed a reduction in symptoms such as faintness, depression, paresthesia, itchiness, and numbness decreased over a period of 8 weeks.

The study analyzed 54 women with an average age of 34. The women were broken up into three exercise groups: yoga, aquatic exercise, or remaining sedentary. The study participants were asked about their symptoms in advance and all resumed existing treatments, as well as any medications to regulate the immune system.

The results showed that in the non-exercising group, the sedentary group of women, depression was 35 times more likely than in the group that exercised. In addition, participants who did exercise experienced a decrease in depression, faintness, and paresthesia.

We spoke with Mindy Eisenberg, author of Adaptive Yoga Moves Any Body and founder of the website YogaMovesMS.org, who confirmed the study does provide an accurate description of what occurs when an MSer practices yoga.

She said:

“We have witnessed a multitude of benefits from yoga for our students. Many Yoga Moves MS students speak of decreased fatigue and increased energy, improved flexibility and strength, balance, sleep, and ability to cope with stress when asked how adaptive yoga helps them. For those who practice two to three times per week, the benefits are magnified, which translates to more ease of movement and improved quality of life.

Mindy adds, “My book, Adaptive Yoga Moves Any Body, created for individuals with MS and neuromuscular conditions and accompanying videos can help facilitate a more frequent home practice when attending a class is not possible. The book can help readers design a practice to meet their individual needs and includes short practical sequences that can be practiced anywhere and anytime.”

Please consult your doctor before you start a yoga practice for multiple sclerosis. Below are more trusted resources via the National MS Society to get you started.

What is your favorite form of exercise? Has it helped your MS symptoms? Please share your story in the form below.