Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system where the myelin sheaths that surround neurons are attacked by the immune system forming scars which impairs signaling between the brain and spinal cord leading to a multitude of symptoms. The disease has 4 major courses that can be experienced but what course the disease is taking is not always clear. In addition as with many diseases multiple sclerosis appears to have many etiologies.
- Immune Dysregulation: It can be one of autoimmune where the body is attacking specific cells – although there is no consensus on the exact cells being attacked.
- Genetic Predisposition: MS is not a genetic disease but if a first degree relative has the disease it increases the risk of the disease. Likely this is related to epigenetics or how the environment (software) influences the individual genetics (hardware).
- Nutrient or Chemical Influence: It can be caused by environmental factors such as a lack of sunlight thereby causing a deficiency of Vitamin D. Or some clusters of MS may be related to environmental toxins or heavy metal exposure.
- Microbes: There are some theories that illnesses, especially viruses, early in life may contribute to the demyelination process.
I have seen good clinical outcome in patients reported symptom improvement by addressing both diet and nutrient imbalances. However there is no one nutritional approach that is right for everyone and sometimes it is trial and error of different approaches to find something that works. Or the something works for a while and then stops working. But with acupuncture I find that I can almost always get positive results as measured by an MS patient’s symptoms.
I do feel that acupuncture should be one of the modalities listed for MS support by the World Health Organization. Acupuncture is tailored to an individual’s presentation providing different treatments on different days. Some patients can come in 1x month for a tuneup and some a couple of times per week,especially in the beginning of treatment. Patients report improvement in balance, memory, strength, speech and coordination following an acupuncture session.
A clinical study just released with 20 MS patients who received acupuncture on average weekly for 6 weeks were evaluated using a questionnaire assessing changes in pain relief, sleep pattern, mood improvement, energy levels, and mobility issues. As a result of the acupuncture over half of the patients reduced their use of analgesics and 3 stopped analgesic use completely. Acupuncture treatments provided “some reduction in pain” in all 20 subjects, with 9 of the patients scoring pain relief as 8/10 or better, and 18 patients experiencing pain relief for four or more weeks. There were some improvements in sleep pattern, mood, energy levels and mobility The authors conclude, “This study indicates that we can more confidently suggest acupuncture as a treatment for pain, and other MS related symptoms…”
If you know of anyone with MS then suggesting acupuncture as a treatment for symptoms is excellent advice.