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  • Massage Therapy & Acupuncture: Have They Helped Your ALS?

    Posted by Dagmar on August 31, 2020 at 8:21 pm


    There are no clinical trials currently testing the effects of acupuncture therapy for ALS specifically. Most of the information available about its potential benefits for ALS symptoms is from clinical case studies and Chinese literature. However, many ALS patients worldwide have tried or use acupuncture and feel it has helped them. Read more about acupuncture for ALS here.

    Massage therapy helps manage pain, strengthen muscles, ease joint stiffness and improve circulation, which all help to keep ALS patients as mobile as possible. Watch How to Perform Hand, Foot and Leg Massages for ALS

    Have you tried either of these bodywork therapies? How did they help? Would you recommend them to other pALS?

    Kim replied 3 years, 10 months ago 6 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Lee

    September 3, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Before the pandemic I got regular therapeutic massages once or twice a week, which helped a lot especially with muscle discomfort in my calves and thighs. I was diagnosed 3 years ago, but can still use my arms and legs pretty well. I try to walk twice a day. I used to be able to walk 2-3 miles each time, but am down to about 1 mile, and my leg muscles get tired and achy. The massages helped a lot with that. I will be glad when I can safely start getting them again. My therapist is open, but since I am 74 and at higher risk and I live with high risk people, I am going to wait a while longer before going back.

  • Lee

    September 3, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    I forgot to add in my previous post that the massages seemed to help with muscle twitching and cramps, at least for a while.

  • Hashemih

    September 15, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    My husband used acupuncture and massage, one day of needles and two days of massage per week, for three months without interest.

  • Fran Finney

    September 15, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    My husband had a fast progression – no speech, walking, or eating after one year, and a tracheostomy after two.  After he was first diagnosed, we started with daily massage at home (I am a Physical Therapist, have a massage table, and could do that for him.) We also invested in bi-weekly acupuncture. However, after about a year though, he asked to stop the acupuncture – it was fatiguing to be moved onto a treatment table, and did not help slow his progression. As he continued to progress he also asked me to stop most of the home massage, to only do his feet and legs while he was seated in his power wheelchair.

  • Cate

    September 15, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    I would like to have treatments like these, but the massage table is too high for me to get onto it. (I can walk but one arm has no strength and I am too weak to lift myself up.) Do you get sitting massages? Anyone have the massage therapist come to you? Same about acupuncture.


  • Dagmar

    September 15, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    Pre-ALS, I used to get a massage once a month to support my wellness – – I was extremely active and the massages were beneficial both physically and mentally. Post-ALS, I continued these for about a year… hoping the massage would help relieve my increasing muscle stiffness – – but sadly, I quit going. Like Cate, I could no longer climb onto the massage table and getting off of it became unsafe. Plus, the undressing and dressing were fatiguing and during the massage my body would get the chills.

    I would have enjoyed a back-neck-shoulder massage on a massage chair, but local massage therapists didn’t use them. Massage chairs for ALS massage (brought to the home or at the ALS clinic) are an untapped market for an enterprising massage therapist!

  • Kim

    September 16, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    Before my official diagnosis I tried acupuncture once a week for several months as I was advised that it might help with the nerve damage issue (they didn’t know I had ALS yet).  Although I liked it and found it very relaxing it did not help with any of my symptoms.  After my diagnosis and going to my local ALS Clinic, they signed me up for a Massage Grant (6 in home massages).  I was able to receive 3 of the massages just before COVID hit, then the massage therapist was no longer able to come in to the clients homes.  The massages were the Best!! They helped so much with the muscle cramping and joint stiffness.  Wish I could of continued them.  I too would not be able to climb up onto a massage table if I had to go to a massage place.  This therapist came to my home and was able to do them either from my couch/bed or even just doing a neck one while I was sitting in my wheelchair.  I wish our insurance company covered them.  I know some insurance companies do cover them but unfortunately ours does not.

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