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Lessen MS Stress with Online Community: Web Site Offers Personal Insight, Tips for Relaxation, Place to Share

Yoga participants are urged to heal the inner psyche through core exercises and deep breathing. In addition to improving overall health, these restorative exercises reduce stress — a concern for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). Stress can actually worsen symptoms, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. For that reason, the organization urges exercise and relaxation techniques, such as yoga, to keep symptoms at bay.


"More and more MS experts note that yoga, with its emphasis on relaxation, breathing and deliberate movements, is a good exercise choice for people with MS. Yoga really can reduce stress, which makes a major contribution to coping with MS." —From MSStressLess.com

Much like yoga, MSLessStress.com, a site developed and updated by Darcy Rapp, Thousand Oaks, Calif., offers relaxation methods for people with MS. Through the site, Rapp discusses how to cope with MS using humor and stories from her life. Visitors are urged to share some of their own experiences as well.

Rapp, diagnosed with MS around 30 years ago, sought medical treatment and participated in various therapy situations in an effort to be clear with her feelings and keep abreast of treatments. "An unfortunate side effect of taking a serious look at a medical condition," she says, "is that it can be seriously depressing." With this in mind she launched MSLessStress.com, a resource that offers a positive take on a negative situation.

Articles on topics such as Pets, Gardening, Yoga, Food, Music and Books offer insight on activities that can help people with MS stay active, healthy and relaxed. Each section also includes a weekly tip. The site features a chat room for staying connected, cartoons for a little humor and notable quotes to lift the spirit. Visitors also can sign up for a monthly newsletter, order MSLessStress products and link to other MS sites for more information on their condition.

"Over the years when I've been depressed about MS, I've been lucky enough to have friends who could give me perspective, some good information and a smile," says Rapp. "In my heart I want MSLessStress to be that friend for someone else. It's about being part of a community."

The site proves that reducing stress can be achieved by developing a connection with an online community — a core exercise sure to provide endless hours of relaxation. Visit the site at mslessstress.com.

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This article originally appeared in the October 2006 issue of Mobility Management.

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