MS patients turn to yoga for help

MS patients turn to yoga for help
Marhoon said she tries to maintain her yoga practices at least three times a week.

Abu Dhabi - Marhoon, who hosts talks and free yoga sessions for MS sufferers, said that yoga is not just a form of exercise for her and other MS patients.



By Jasmine Al Kuttab

Published: Fri 7 Jul 2017, 8:35 PM

Last updated: Fri 7 Jul 2017, 10:47 PM

Living a life with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has not been an easy battle for 32-year-old Maha Marhoon. The Bahraini expat, who moved to the UAE in 2002, said she turned to yoga in 2015, to help curb her struggles with MS. She hasn't looked back since.
Marhoon, who hosts talks and free yoga sessions for MS sufferers, told Khaleej Times that yoga is not just a form of exercise for her and other MS patients. "When someone battles with MS, they have to find ways to relief their stress, and yoga has played a huge part in my stress relief."
She said that a large part of the MS talk, which she holds every six weeks, is all about helping MS patients manage the symptoms. "Part of managing MS symptoms is through exercise, and when you have MS you have to think about strengthening your core muscles."
"Yoga helps strengthen our core muscles," added the specialist in marketing strategy.
Marhoon, who had her first MS attack at the age of 17, said it is vital to raise awareness among the community. "The series of our MS talks began in 2015 because I wanted to see who else in the UAE suffers from this lifelong disease. I want to bring together and help raise awareness among the MS community that already exists here."
She noted that doctors and personal trainers are also involved, where they provide insight to MS patients. "Yoga really helps with balance, coordination and posture, which is nothing MS patients suffer from. Just learning to calm yourself, especially when you are managing a lifelong disease, is crucial."
Marhoon stressed that besides yoga, nutrition also plays a vital role for MS patients. "We have to eat a MS-friendly diet because there are certain foods that are harmful, which cause inflammation." Natural anti-inflammatory food, such as salmon and avocado, which are rich in omega-3, are part of the friendly diet.
"It varies from patient to patient, but having a healthy diet and ensuring you have Vitamin D intake are important."
Marhoon said she tries to maintain her yoga practices at least three times a week. "What's great about yoga is that you can do it at home." 
"If it's difficult for MS patients to make time to go outside and exercise, they can simply find great yoga videos on YouTube and follow the steps at home."
She said MS patients are welcome to join the sessions, which will be regularly held after summer and can contact Marhoon through her Facebook page, 'MSTalks.'
"We have around 60 people in our classes and we are looking forward to holding more classes." 
jasmine@khaleejtimes.com

Yoga helps heal the mind, body and soul
Dr Lokesh Hegde, yoga specialist at Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi, said yoga plays a pivotal role in helping patients suffering from various diseases, including MS and cancer. "Yoga benefits us in three ways, there is the mental level, the physical level and the universal level."
He explained that on the mental level, yoga helps connect the body and mind, as the techniques bring positivity. "It brings positivity in our life and overcomes negative thoughts, anxiety and depression," said Dr Hedge, who holds PhD in yoga.
On a physical level, Dr Hedge said that 80 per cent of disorders are psychosomatic disorders, which can thus be managed by yoga. "The root cause of all these disorders, such as hypertension and sleep disorders, is a disturbed or stressful mind. If a mind is disturbed, then our internal organs also become disturbed, this includes our heart and kidneys. Yoga helps with cancer rehabilitation, it gives confidence and prevents anxiety and side effects of medicine," he added.
On a universal level, Dr Hedge explained that yoga brings peace and harmony in the environment. "When we practise yoga as a group, all our minds are united towards one hope, and that hope is peace."
 
 


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