Exploring Wellness Interventions in Progressive Multiple Sclerosis: an Evidence-Based Review

  • Myriam Venasse
  • Thomas Edwards
  • Lara A. Pilutti
Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders (J Graves, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders


Purpose of review

There has been recent interest in the role of lifestyle and wellness-based approaches in the treatment and management of multiple sclerosis (MS). These approaches may be particularly relevant for patients with progressive MS, considering limited therapeutic options currently available. The purpose of this review is to examine the role of wellness-based interventions including exercise training, emotional well-being therapies, and dietary modification in patients with progressive MS.

Recent findings

We conducted a literature search on the efficacy of wellness-based interventions in patients with progressive MS published between 1985 and July 2017. The level of evidence for each trial was evaluated using the American Academy of Neurology criteria. Overall, 21 articles reporting on 16 wellness-based interventions were identified: ten trials involved exercise training, three involved emotional wellness therapies, two involved dietary modification, and one was a combined wellness intervention.


There is level C evidence (possibly effective; one class II study) for the efficacy of aerobic exercise training on cardiorespiratory fitness in patients with progressive MS. There is level B evidence (probably effective; one class I study) for the efficacy of mindfulness training on psychological distress, depression, anxiety, pain, and quality of life in patients with progressive MS. There is inadequate evidence (level U) for efficacy of dietary modification (one class III study and one class IV study) and combined wellness interventions involving exercise training, meditation, and dietary modification (one class IV study). High-quality research is needed to provide evidence-based recommendations for wellness behaviors and lifestyle change in patients with progressive MS.


Multiple sclerosis Progressive Wellness Exercise Mindfulness Diet 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Myriam Venasse and Thomas Edwards declare no conflict of interest. Lara A. Pilutti reports receiving research grants from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers outside of this work.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

References and Recommended Reading

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myriam Venasse
    • 1
  • Thomas Edwards
    • 2
  • Lara A. Pilutti
    • 3
  1. 1.Interdisciplinary School of Health SciencesUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.School of Human KineticsUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, Brain and Mind Research InstituteUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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