Meet Margaret

Margaret, wheelchair bound for years with Multiple Sclerosis, has been able to gain more mobility and independence.

Margaret, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1994, was able to become much more mobile and independent after starting massage therapy treatment. 

In 2016, after a year of being particularly sick and just laying around, she felt like all of her muscles were stiffening up. She decided to try massage therapy in hopes that her muscles would feel more relaxed.

As Margaret only has a limited income through the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), she choose to access massage therapy through the Algonquin College student clinic which was more affordable and accessible. She began to feel improvement right after her first treatment.

“I could already feel some relief and I was able to do more independently,” Margaret explained.

Ever since Margaret was diagnosed with MS, her goal was to keep her independence as long as possible. She credits her massage therapy treatments with helping her become more mobile and independent again.

After receiving massage therapy treatment she would find it easier to get dressed, bend her knees to get on and off the toilet, and get in and out of bed independently. Being able to perform these simple activities that she struggled with made a big difference for Margaret.

“With that improvement in my ability to be independent, my mental health improved as well,” Margaret said.

"With that improvement in my ability to be independent, my mental health improved as well."
Margaret would continue to see improvement from week to week, and massage therapy helped her start horseback riding which is an activity that she loves. Massage therapy was able to get her muscles loose enough to ride a horse . It also helped address the tension in those same muscles after a ride.

Not only was massage therapy able to address Margaret’s pain, but it also was able to help bring back feeling and function to areas she couldn’t feel before.

“I could feel muscles firing, muscles that I didn’t know I had or forgot I had,” she said.

Margaret had been dealing with immobility for so long that she began to develop lymphedema. Her feet and legs were swelling immensely, and it was making it difficult for her to go horseback riding. Manual lymph drainage along with the techniques she was given for use at home helped her to reduce the swelling, which improved her mobility and got her back on her horse.

Margaret doesn’t hesitate to let people know how she’s been able to regain her mobility.

“People ask me what kind of meds I take, I tell them I do it through massage, exercise and different therapies,” she said. “I think massage therapy is one of the best therapies there is.”

"The only side effect is feeling better."
Seeing a continuous improvement in her mobility and independence has helped Margaret remain positive and optimistic, and has had a significant impact on her overall well-being.

“After each treatment I was more uplifted and I was able to be more positive about what I would be able to do,” she said.

Her therapist will explain how all the muscles work, how everything is connected, what exactly they’re working on and why. This regular communication with the therapist also helped Margaret to maintain a positive attitude.

Margaret sees regular improvements after every massage therapy treatment in her ability to move, to function, and to stay positive. She finds these improvements extremely encouraging and would recommend massage therapy to anyone in her situation.

“The only side effect is feeling better,” she explained.

If Margaret stops massage therapy treatment for a while she notices she begins to revert to the discomfort she had before, so she plans to continue with her treatment as long as possible.

“I don’t think I would be as physically able as I am today, especially now that I’m back into horse riding, without massage therapy,” she said.

Massage therapy has helped Margaret maintain an improved balance, and she continues to see significant improvements in function. For example, she was recently able to stand at her counter to prepare food independently with her feet flat on the floor. She is confident that massage therapy will help her see continued improvement.

“As long as I can keep up massage therapy, I will do it,” Margaret said. “It’s done so much for me.”