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Posted by: Sue Moore, 20 Jan 2007 12:52PM
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Massage/aromatherapy and motor neurone disease

Has anybody had experience of massaging and/or using essential oils with someone suffering from motor neurone disease? I am about to contact the prospective client's physio neurologist for info on his condition, but any practical information from therapists who have already had experience with this would be gratefully received. many thanks Sue Moore


Angela Pilborough
5 Feb 2007 11:10PM

Hi Sue I have some experience of pts with motor neurone disease in a hospice.i have worked with a physio to do massage of hands and feet to help with flexibility when there has been no oeadema.as verbal communicatio can be limited watching facial experession to gauge pressure is important.we are limited to massageing other areas because dressing and undressing is so difficult. using essential oils is difficult because you do not want to decrese the muscle tone in any remaining functioning muscles.i tend to use oils to help stimulate the circulation as hands and feet are usually very cold.Gentle citrus oils to help with the frustation have also been very effective. I could go on but dont know how much more info you would like.I hope this has been helpful.I have not tried replying before.
Sue Moore
6 Feb 2007 8:58AM

Hi, Angela - thanks for the reply. I have been in contact with the patients physio neurologist who has agreed massage. He, too, has stressed the difficulty of communication, but I have massaged someone with Parkinsons before and had similar problems with communication so am not too worried about that. Conversations with the physio and the prime carer had already decided me on gentle hand/feet massage. I suppose my main concern is, as you say, not impairing remaining muscle tone. I am due to meet client for the first time this week so if you have any other info and tips I would be delighted to hear from you! Sue
Angela Pilborough
8 Feb 2007 8:06PM

Good luck I am pleased that you are going to see this person.have you considered providing blends that could be used in the bath and given to the family to use to try and maintain muscle tone and skin condition? Muscle pain is a particular problem with people with MND.Maintaining joint flexibility can help prolong time when they can be independant feeding, walking etc.Try to establish favourite aromas and if wants to continue treatments even if not able to verbally request them in the future.I do not know how much you know about the condition generally.One troubling symptom that sometimes occurs is exagerated emotional responces, this can be laughing or crying.This can occur even when the person does not actually want to respond with this emotion.If you can introduce relaxation cues such as aromas, colours, music etc that is great. Best wishes Angela.
Sue Moore
9 Feb 2007 11:12AM

Hi Angela, thanks for all your help. You have confirmed a lot of what I was thinking although I didn't know about the emotional responses. I have now made a first visit to get to know the client and his situation and carried out an initial foot and hand massage. Some of what you have suggested will not be possible due to unusual home circumstances, but at least you have boosted my confidence a bit! thanks sue
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