Mindfulness: Putting Mind Over MS

Ed Tobias avatar

by Ed Tobias |

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Can you use your mind to attack your MS, just as you use things such as medications and physical therapy? Some people who believe in the benefits of mindfulness think you can, at least to some extent. Mindfulness is defined as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us,” according to mindful.org. It uses a combination of things like yoga, meditation, music, stretching, and group support to reduce stress. For a number of years, Maryanna Klatt, PhD, and others at The Ohio State University have been using mindfulness techniques to help people with MS. The idea is that by lowering a person’s stress, their quality of life will be raised. The Mindfulness in Motion program was first tried several years ago on a group of surgical intensive care nurses. (There’s plenty of stress in that line of work.) An article in NARCOMS Now magazine reported that following the eight-week program, “nurses who participated had lower levels of salivary amylase, an enzyme in the saliva associated with prolonged stress. Along with lower levels of these stress chemicals, the nurses had increased job satisfaction and less ’emotional exhaustion.’”

Mindfulness in Motion and MS

The NARCOMS story then detailed how last year, a group of 22 people with MS tried using the Mindfulness in Motion system. They met for an hour a week for eight weeks. As a group, they worked on things like breathing, eating, and sleep. They stretched and did chair yoga exercises with relaxing piano music in the background. They also practiced the techniques at home for 20 minutes a day. After two months, tests showed the participants had less anxiety, depression, and fatigue and better cognitive function. According to Dr. Klatt, this is because the program gave participants the ability to stop fighting their MS. “Mindfulness helped them begin to let go of the frustration that they can’t control [the disease],” Klatt said. They were able to accept their MS, reduce their stress, and hopefully, improve the quality of their lives. Mindfulness proponents say this isn’t as easy to do as it may sound and it might not be right for you. “It may not change the progression of MS,” Klatt said, “but adding to your stress certainly isn’t going to make the disease any easier to deal with.” You’re invited to visit my personal website at www.themswire.com.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Ricki Becker avatar

Ricki Becker

I am so sick of articles like this! Would you tell someone who had cancer to think their way out of it?
Yes, attitude can affect your day but not your condition! Please stop trying to tell me I am in control of my MS! I am not! Disease modifying drugs have done nothing for me over 30 years except deplete my bank account.
I have walked for MS. I have attended every occasion the MS Society has held. I simply get worse! (I have no feeling in my right side right now, making me really unsteady & uncoordinated)

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

I'm sorry you feel that way, Ricki.

As you must know after 30 years of dealing with it, MS is very different for each of us. No single medication or therapy will work for everyone. I suspect that Mindfulness probably helps some people, even though you don't think it can do anything to help you.

I wish you the best,


Reni avatar


I know that exact frustration and anger you feel Ricki

Katie Gillet avatar

Katie Gillet

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 1 month after I turned 45. My grandma is 96 and had it since she was in her 20s. I have been on Copaxone, the first year was daily and now I am on 40 mg, 3 times a week. It made a tremendous difference for me. Although the fatigue is what really gets to me. When I do too much, I do start to feel weak. My MS got significantly worse and unbearable Last year, a family friend told me about Organic Herbal clinic and their successful MS TREATMENT, I visited their website organicherbalclinic . c o m and ordered their MS Formula, i am happy to report the treatment effectively treated and reversed my Multiple Sclerosis(MS)), most of the symptoms stopped, I'm able to walk and eat well, sleep well and exercise regularly., I'm pretty active now and my attitude is extremely positive.

Johan avatar


I love this article. I’m a relative newbie when it comes to living with MS, dx’d in April 2012, but trust me when I say I know of MS’s dreaded condition. I walk with a cane; I’m like a zombie without it hanging on to just about anything that will help when I am without it. It truly is a 24/7 type of disease, constant monitoring. I’ve been studying life with MS since my diagnosis and have devised a plan for living with said condition which includes medication, meditation, diet, exercise, lots of other things and mindfulness. But trying to achieve a balance between being realistic about my condition and enjoying existence continues. Probably always will, even if I were normal, which I am not, thanks to MS. Thanks for writing Ed. p. s. Last we spoke I talked of a date with a certain female. It didn’t happen. But life goes on. I met one of the most intriguing women ever at the infusion center last week during my Ocrevus treatment. Thanks again Ed.


Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Good to hear from you, Johan.

MS is our normal and we make the adjustments we need to live with this companion.

Good luck with that intriguing woman, who you never would have met if it wasn't for your MS.


Marie avatar


I am not a doctor yet,I share: taking both docycycline and clarithromycin has made a big difference!!


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