Andy Bailey has Multiple Sclerosis – Can Indian yoga help MS patients

I was very saddened to hear that Andy Bailey, the founder of CommentLuv was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). If you don’t know who Andy Bailey is then here’s a brief synopsis. He happens to be the brains behind CommentLuv, a premium WordPress plugin used by thousands of WordPress blogs in various niches including mine. The idea of CommentLuv is simple yet very powerful which is to reward your commentator with a back link. Comments as we all know increases engagement and hence increasing interaction between the readers.

The CommentLuv Plugin

Coming back to Multiple Sclerosis! Andy was diagnosed with MS in December 2012 and he decided to share his story by emailing everyone on his subscribers list and writing about it on his blog which I think is very brave of him to do so. It’s not easy to talk about certain things with the rest of the world.

I decided to look at what MS was all about. In fact, I know nothing about MS so I decided to phone a doctor friend and she explained what it was. In her own words she said, that it was an inflammatory autoimmune disorder. It causes myelin sheaths that surround the axons of the brain and spinal cord to get damaged which affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord from talking to each other.

Andy Bailey telling everyone about his condition in a video:

Being a great fan of yoga specially the famous Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev, I decided to take a look if Indian yoga could help patients with MS. Rather than doing a blind search on the net; I decided to look at actual publications with proper clinical investigation.

Some of my findings on articles related with Multpile Sclerosis and yoga

In a review article written by Mishra et al (2012), they literature reviewed the benefits of yoga as Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) compared to conventional medicine and use of yoga as a science as well as an art of healthy living. They go on to explain what exactly yoga is and the types of yoga. They have cited several studies that show various health-promoting and disease-preventing effects of yoga including improvements in cardiovascular reactivity using using a “Kriya” yoga program and Pranayama (yogic breathing exercises). They also cite some clinical studies of the therapeutic value of yoga in treating MS.

In an article by Velikonja et al (2010), the team from University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) carried out a trial in 20 patients to see if non-medicinal treatment approaches such as sports climbing and yoga can reduce MS symptoms particularly on spasticity, cognitive impairment, mood change and fatigue in MS patients. They found that there was 17% increase in selective attention performance after yoga and no changes in mood. They conclude that yoga could improve some MS symptoms and should be considered as possible complementary treatments.

According to an article published by the journal Neurology and mentioned by the Oregon Health and Science University, 6 months of yoga can significantly reduces fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis. The study was the first randomized, controlled trial of yoga in people with MS using 69 subjects. The study concluded that 6 month yoga-class showed significant improvement in measures of fatigue compared to a waiting-list control group.

Patil et al (2012) investigated that yoga can be beneficial to those suffering from neurogenic bladder dysfunction (NBD) a common distressful symptom in MS. They investigated the role of Nadishuddi pranayama (alternate nostril breathing), moola bandha (anal lock), kapalbhati (rapid nostril breathing) and deep relaxation technique in 11 patients who practised these yoga techniques for 2 hours per day for continuous 21 days. They showed that there was improvement in bladder symptoms in MS patients with neurogenic bladder dysfunction.

Yoga in India

Yoga has been a part of India for centuries; it forms the central ethos in the daily lives of millions of the Indian people. It is India that gave birth to yoga. Yoga has also become popular in the West; more and more travellers are coming to the land where it was born. Anyone can do yoga from a DVD including me. But if one is serious about something and if they want to be taught yoga by the grand masters of yoga then here are some of the best of the best Indian yoga centres.

Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis

India’s Top Five Yoga Centres

Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune
Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, Mysore
Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram, Trivandrum
Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh

Some Ayurvedic centres and yoga retreats in India

Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre in Dharamkot, Dharamsala and in Arambol, Goa: They run 5 day courses for beginners and intensive courses for advanced yoga practitioners.

Purple Valley Ashtanga Yoga Retreat in Goa: This centre is a residential retreat ranging from 1 to 2 weeks that includes accommodation, meals and use of the retreat facilities.

ANHC Ayurvedic Natural Health Centre in Goa: This Ayurvedic Natural Heath centre is run by doctors and is approved by the tourism department of the State of Goa.

Back to the original question; can Indian yoga help MS patients?

The answer from some the research publications indicate “yes” but more research with larger numbers of subjects taking part would be required. Subjects from the studies mentioned above showed some improvements but it could just be a placebo effect. I personally see yoga as a stress relieving activity centred on breathing, meditation and postures.

My conclusion of Multiple Sclerosis and yoga, if yoga has any benefits for MS patients or not is “yes” just in the same way regular exercise or any other physical activity would help but whether it has any neurological benefits, I don’t know. Obviously doctors and yoga practitioners would be appropriate to ask. However, most doctors are reluctant to offer any advice on alternative medicine.

Do you know anyone with MS and if they practice yoga, I would like hear from you.

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61 Responses to “Andy Bailey has Multiple Sclerosis – Can Indian yoga help MS patients”

  1. Lovely post Shalu!

    I too was shocked when I got Andy’s email about him having MS. I guess when we know someone who gets it, we tend of feel and think more of them, even though we know we really can’t do much sitting at our end…but our thoughts are with them.

    This is surely a well researched post on the relation between MS and yoga, and you are right – there is bound to be a cure for MS from Yoga, and other Complementary Alternative Medicine’s too like TaiChi, or even Baba Ramdev’s Prayanam, and even the Chkra healing. All of these and others too are well known for their healing powers, though few know of them.

    I’m glad you brought up this post, and am sure if anyone with MS starts with any of these, there are bound to be results. Yes, nothing can be said for definite as yet – but it’s got all the benefits with noting to lose when you try them – isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing this with us. :)
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    • Shalu Sharma says:

      Hi Harleena
      Its sad that a person has to face these things. In fact, I do not know much about this condition and hence I wanted to find out if yoga can help for not. The publications mentioned does indicate that those practising yoga can have beneficial effect.
      Thank you for your comment.
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  2. Delia says:

    What a nicely written article and thanks for bringing awareness about this disease. I would not be surprised if yoga was beneficial, as it is a wonderful way of gentle exercise for the entire well being and peace of mind.

    I particularly like hot yoga, and recommend it highly, if you don’t mind “exercising in a sauna” :)
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  3. Adrienne says:

    Hi Shalu,

    I too was so sad to hear that Andy was stricken by this horrible disease. He’s one of the good guys and I hate to hear anyone who has to battle with something for the rest of their lives.

    I don’t know anyone outside of Andy now that has MS. My Mom had a cousin who had it for 35 years of her life but she passed away last year.

    I know that as Andy has explained that it can be just very painful some days so I’m sure that if there is any form of exercise that can possibly help for any length of time then perhaps he would want to check it out.

    I’m not one of course to say since I know that so many people have recommended things for him to try but no one actually has it and can’t really relate to what he’s feeling about this. I’m not even sure I explained that right but I did watch one of his videos and he wasn’t too happy with everyone’s recommendations.

    This does sound like something to definitely check out though so I do hope that others will take your suggestions and look into this more. Hey, it can’t hurt right!

    Thanks for sharing this and I’m sure that Andy would appreciate your help.

    ~Adrienne
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    • Shalu Sharma says:

      Hi Adrienna

      Sometimes I wonder why people have to go through this…

      Lots of people do suggest a lot of things but most of the time, its from the goodness of their heart. There seems to be some research on the benefits of yoga on Multiple Sclerosis and its definitely worth checking it out.

      Thank you for time to comment here. Best wishes to you.
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  4. Jupiter Jim says:

    Shalu,

    Well researched article! Thank you. I, too, am on Andy Bailey’s email list and heard the sad news. I so greatly admire his spirit and fortitude in dealing with this physical setback. I have always admired him for his programming and WordPress plugin and business prowess.

    And I absolutely love the research and explanation and short history that you did concerning yoga. You have motivated me to start doing my own yoga again regularly!

    Thanks for sharing.

    ~ Jupiter Jim
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  5. Ileane says:

    Andy is such a brave and amazing soul! He has taken the bull by the horns and uses this new YouTube channel as encouragement for others faced with MS. I love watching these videos because first of all one that that hasn’t changed is his sense of humor! He’s hilarious and I’ll glad the videos are a type of therapy for him.

    He’s a strong willed person and I’m glad he considered me to be the CommentLuv Ambassador. I’m very proud to be on his team.

    Thanks for taking the time to do all of this research and sharing the news. I’m sure Andy will be encouraged by seeing his video here too.
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  6. Sapna says:

    Hi Shalu jee

    Andy Bailey’s news was indeed a shocker, he appears to be a strong man as Ieane also pointed out in her message.

    I think Yoga/Ramdev might have a cure for this disease. I’ve been doing Yoga for more than a year now and could see its benefits.

    Thanks for this great share.

    Sapna
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  7. Interesting article, I didn’t have any idea about what is happening with Andy Bailey, and I think that he is very brave in sharing his experience that can benefit others. Informative your research, I’m sure that even if it is just as a stress relief yoga can help a lot who has MS.
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  8. Enstine Muki says:

    Shalu,
    I got frozen when I read this mail from Andy. In fact I contacted him on skype about it. he’s really a nice guy. Most often, when it’s above us, we just sit and wish.

    However, I’m glad you did this research and came out with some facts.

    I’m sure he will come out of this situation

    Happy sunday
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    • Shalu Sharma says:

      Hi Enstine
      Its hard to take in when you receive messages about illnesses and conditions. I am just wondering how it would have felt for him when he was told about it.
      Thank you for comment and hope to see you again. Thanks for the details on your blog.
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  9. I love doing Indian yoga. One of the best I’ve tried.
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  10. Disha Sharma says:

    Hello Shalu, I really don’t know about yoga but I have heard that yoga is really powerful & strong way to keep healthy in life & yoga has become more popular by Baba Ramdev (yoga baba) & in fact our some Bollywood actress also do yoga & launched their yoga CD & DVDS like shilpa shetty & bipasha basu so it jsut very clear that yoga is strong way to keep health & may be it can save to MS patients.
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  11. Kika says:

    Interesting post! I have heard a lot of great things about yoga exercises. I was really shocked when I saw your title. This is very informative. Thank you for this information. It will definitely help a lot of people who are suffering from such condition. I’m looking forward for more interesting post from you.
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  12. Indian yoga help multiple sclerosis patients. indian yoga help to destroyed many disease
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  13. Marc says:

    Great video, always wanted to do yoga …. think I’ll go for it in India, because I think that this yoga is just there.

  14. Marc says:

    Great video, always wanted to do yoga …. think I’ll go for it in India, because I think that this yoga is just there.

  15. Hiten says:

    Hi Shalu,

    I really enjoyed your post.

    It is sad to hear about Andy Bailey being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). He really is a great guy and has created a wonderful plugin in the form of CommentLuv, which has completely transformed blogging using WordPress.

    I really appreciate the research you did to find out more about whether yoga can help MS. Ancient practices like yoga and meditation can have extremely beneficial effects on all kinds of conditions. It would be wonderful if more research could be done, so that those who are sceptical about complimentary approaches would have more evidence, to help them become more accepted by ‘scientific’ communities.

    Thank you.
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  16. Andy is courageous for coming out and sharing. I have a friend in the same situation who I will share this information with. Thanks for putting it together.
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  17. Lauren says:

    I like this site for Yoga. Before it I wasn’t much more aware about yoga.

  18. Good idea to create a post on this, Shalu. It was disturbing to know about Andy and I hope that his health improves soon. Modern medicine has very few solutions to health problems; it is the ‘billion dollar pharma business’ that makes it popular.

    Alternative medicine has always been the practical and effective answer to health problems since ancient times.
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  19. Hello Shalu,

    Being a biologist, I am aware of the many benefits of yoga in health and vitality. It’s sad Andy has MS. I have two friends that have been diagnosed with MS and I know what that means. I hope Andy’s condition stabilizes and does not progress at all.
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  20. sally brown says:

    Hi Shalu,

    I have been so impressed with Andy Bailey, and his grasp on technology relating to WordPress, as well as his great personality.

    Thank you for sharing his story and the info you provided here regarding yoga. I used yoga when I went throughout my chemo in 2004. It helped in many ways. I would recommend that Andy try this. It is a nice way to connect mind and body. Sally
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  21. Yoga exercises is the best kept key. Yoga exercises can help often but unfortunately its not used in therapies since its free and does not fit the drug market. Thank you for opinion and have a awesome day.

  22. Yoga is important because it stretches your body, regulates your breath, and calms your mind. After a few weeks or months of practice you will find out that your body is more elastic, feeling lighter and sleeping deeper.

  23. Jacob says:

    I do so love it when “experts” say exercise is the answer to everything.
    I have MS, recently diagnosed as Primary Progressive, and am having continuous flares that leave me more and more debilitated each time.Yoga is a “mind-body practice in complementary and alternative medicine with origins in ancient Indian philosophy,

  24. Jessica says:

    I so greatly admire his spirit and fortitude in dealing with this physical setback. I have always admired him for his programming and WordPress plugin and business prowess.

  25. Kathryn says:

    Hi Shalu, It was indeed very sad news. For a while my doctors thought I had MS and it was a very scary time. Although they have never actually come up with a diagnoses I was so relieved when MS was ruled out. My thoughts are with Andy too.
    Kathryn
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    • Shalu Sharma says:

      Hi Karthryn
      It is certainly sad news. I saw your message to Andy on Facebook on CommentLuv’s page. I can understand your feeling about having MS.
      Thanks for your comment and hope to see you again.
      Best wishes
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  26. harish says:

    It is very shocking and sad to hear about Andy Bailey being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).i will pray for them,,and i am sure yoga will definitely helpful for them…
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  27. nabil from assurance auto says:

    We all know that yoga vanish stress and sickness.It is necessary to do useful actvities with the purpose of having good time at work.Sport in general is important to our health.This article is really interesting and useful.Thank you for sharing.

  28. Joanne Davis says:

    Yoga exercise is really good for the heath. I did enjoy reading your post and I appreciate your effort for the research you have made. It’s really informative

  29. Keral Patel says:

    I do follow his blog but I never came across this information. When I read the title I thought this might be someone else but then I saw commentluv word and I knew whom you were referring to.

    Very sad news. I know he is a great guy.
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  30. howtobeyogainstructor NYC says:

    It is really very important to give your body time to relax after a yoga practice. The nervous system needs time to assimilate the soothing benefits it has gained during the practice. You can otherwise feel unnecessarily wired after a yoga practice, especially after an intense yoga practice.

  31. Everyone always talks about how great yoga is for MS but I have no idea how to find a yoga class for people with MS. When I call yoga studios they tell me there are classes specifically designed for people with MS but no one can tell me where to go for one in the Tampa area.
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  32. Yoga acts in a wholesome manner on the various body parts. This stimulation and massage of the organs in turn benefits us by keeping away disease and providing a forewarning at the first possible instance of a likely onset of disease or disorder.

  33. The study of yoga is a lifelong commitment and source of inspiration. There is always something new to discover, to learn and to experience.

  34. Hi, I am a nurse and have looked after many MS patients at various stages of the disease. I believe that complementary therapies have amazing benefits in helping with the symptoms of this dreadful disease but have never considered yoga before I read your article. Very well researched – thanks.

  35. Nurul Amin says:

    At first, I would like to thanks to Shalu Sharma to share a nice blog about brain disease for awerness.

    We, most of the people are not aware this such kind of brain disease MS. It is hardly seen.

    For this such kind of brain disease MS. We must have to practise Yoga poses- “Prayanyma”, “kopalvati”, “sorbangason”. Yoga is the best way to keep good balanced health body and mind. it is the most ancient way and also part of life to revive the life with power and deases free.
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  36. pither says:

    Yoga better for all human and i think yoga is a one way to keep body in helath. Thank You

    By Pither Todi-Indonesia
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  37. Nikky says:

    Sad to hear that news about Andy Bailey. Hope he recovers soon from that disease

    I’ve been ardent follower of Ramdevbaba yoga too in the recent past. YOGA is best to heal yourself to purity :)
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  38. Finn says:

    Sad news :(
    Interesting article, i have read all but still confused whether it could be effective or not!

  39. Jiya Mishra says:

    Its such a nice information for those people who suffering some problems like Multiple Sclerosis. Its a really a attractive sites and pictures creates advantages of hole article. Thank you for sharing this.

  40. Amber says:

    Exceptionally an handy issue has been discussed in here and after reading this blog I can’t say anything except well because whatever has been written up in here on yoga that’s all are very much true and I suggest to use yoga regularly. Keep well:)
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  41. Thaddius says:

    With MS. Having full control of your movements is important. I’m thinking of including Yoga into my workout regiment. My prayers are with Andy Bailey. Stay strong and positive.

    • A few minutes of yoga during the day can be a great way to get rid of stress that accumulates daily in both the body and mind. Yoga postures, pranayama and meditation are effective techniques to release stress.

  42. Apu mridha says:

    Thanks for sharing this amazing and informative article … enjoyed every bit of it .. :)

    Apu

  43. Ysmay says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I know someone with MS, and I can only hope yoga will be a source of comfort. It saddens me to read about Andy, but I love that he shared it in a video. This is quite powerful stuff! I hope yoga can bring peace.
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  44. hillswake says:

    ALOE offers Private Yoga and Pilates classes in Dubai, UAE. Whether you are new to yoga, looking for one-to-one instruction or corporate classes, private classes can really help you develop your practice.

  45. Thanks for letting me into your blog , I love your blog and I love yoga. But i have a better solution i have got a trick where you can read mind of different people, as you know how important it is now days in daily life and in yoga prospect. kindly check it out below.

    howtogetbestblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/the-revelation-effect-mentalism-and-mind-reading-learn-mind-reading/
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