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Multiple Sclerosis Specialist

Cheryl Hurst, PsyD

Health Psychologist located in The Loop, Chicago, IL

Dr. Cheryl Hurst is a Health Psychologist and yoga instructor with extensive experience using yoga therapy to relieve symptoms related to Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s Disease. At her practice in Chicago, she uses yoga therapy to help clients with neurological conditions strengthen muscles and increase coordination, flexibility and balance.

Multiple Sclerosis Q & A

How do multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease affect muscles?

Multiple Sclerosis develops when the immune system malfunctions and attacks nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Each nerve has a protective covering that’s essential for proper functioning. As the immune system damages that covering, nerve signals get interrupted, leading to a range of symptoms.

Fatigue is the most common symptom in people with Multiple Sclerosis, although numbness and tingling in the extremities are also very common. People with Multiple Sclerosis may have difficulty walking, stiffness and muscle spasms, or problems with the eyes, bladder, or bowels.

Parkinson’s Disease affects nerves in a specific area of the brain, where it causes progressive deterioration of nerve cells. The first symptom is usually a tremor in the hands and fingers, then over time, muscles get rigid, movement becomes difficult, and posture and balance are affected.

How can yoga help people with MS or Parkinson’s?

Stretching exercises and activities that increase muscle strength, improve flexibility, and promote balance are all important for treating the chronic pain and muscle stiffness experienced by patients with either medical condition. Yoga can help you with all of these challenges. Whether you have Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease, yoga therapy can help with muscle spasms, rigidity, and tremors. Following a yoga program makes it easier to increase strength and coordination for walking and even improves breathing. Additionally, yoga offers the added value of relieving stress and anxiety, and helping you relax.

What benefits will you gain from yoga therapy with Dr. Hurst?

Dr. Cheryl Hurst is recognized for her expertise as a yoga instructor, but she also knows from experience how yoga can facilitate healing, because she has lived with Multiple Sclerosis herself for more than 15 years. That means she can genuinely relate to your experience of living with a neurological condition! When you have a health situation that affects your ability to move freely, it’s vital to participate in activities that keep you going, maintain muscle tone, and improve posture and balance. Yoga therapy designed and supervised by Dr. Hurst offers a great option because it’s gentle yet very effective and the process proceeds at your preferred pace.

Dr. Hurst ensures your yoga therapy session is tailored to your needs by adapting the classic postures to accommodate your abilities. A wide variety of yoga props and equipment is used to help you access yoga postures without stress or strain, which allows you to complete the therapy in sessions when weakness or limited range of motion might otherwise interfere. You can feel comfortable knowing that Dr. Hurst is well trained in how to help you move and how to support your body during this yoga training and practice.