Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Formulas are very effective to treat Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease. A person’s immune system attacks the myelin sheath that covers and protects the nerves of the brain and spinal cord. A simpler way of understanding the disease is this: imagine the outer casing that holds and protects many electrical wires wears away, leaving tears and holes that expose the internal wiring. The wires inside the casing short-circuit, burn, smoke, and malfunction due to exposure to environmental elements (your bodily fluids, etc.). The wearing down of the myelin sheath leads to injury and inflammation; consequently, electrical or nerve signals to and from the brain to different organs, muscles, nerves and other connective tissue are blocked. The end result is debilitating – the patient can experience difficult vision, burning pain in the extremities, loss of muscle coordination and strength, loss of organ and other bodily functions, and a downward spiral of degenerating health. Multiple Sclerosis can affect any sex or age group but is common in ages 20 to 40 years of age. Women are twice susceptible to MS as men.
Traditional Chinese Medicine looks at the patient as a whole in determining treatment for MS or any other condition. All lifestyle and physical aspects of the patient are evaluated. Tongue and pulse diagnoses offer much information about the patient’s condition. There are 18 pulse positions that are felt and evaluated; the condition of the tongue can determine heat, cold, organ dysfunction, build-up of toxins and a plethora of other indicators pertinent to the individual case. In evaluating the MS patient, the demyelization of the neural sheath is considered to be a hot condition; heat dries bodily fluids and builds toxins; this in turn, leads to organ and connective tissue malfunction. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas address these symptoms effectively and can help reduce or eliminate various symptoms of the autoimmune disease.
Case Study: A 62 year old post menopausal female presented with burning pain in both legs, travelling to lower legs and the soles of her feet. The patient was unable to walk 2 city blocks without pain. The patient experienced nocturnal body heat and woke up every other hour in the evening in ‘pools of sweat’. The patient had been diagnosed with MS 4 years prior to her visit to my office and had recently gone on disability because of her inability to walk and work. Her quality of life had suffered and she was experiencing mild depression. The patient’s tongue was overall red with a very dry, thin coat (this denotes a hot condition and drying of internal bodily fluids). Her pulses overall were thin, rapid, wiry and small. I determined a diagnosis of Yin Deficiency as the root cause and a secondary condition of Qi Stagnation. In plain English, this means that the MS was caused by a hot condition (Yin Deficiency); the night sweats and neuropathies were being caused by the secondary condition (Qi Stagnation). Because of the heat, the internal bodily fluids were drying up, disrupting the normal flow of blood, lymph, fluids, red and white blood cells to reach the extremities and provide the necessary cellular nutrition for proper physical function.
The treatment strategy: clear the heat, tonify the immune system, clear the stagnation and calm the mind (to address the depression). Acupuncture treatment twice weekly for 4 weeks, with nutritional modifications (no spicy foods, acidic foods, alcohol, sugar or dairy) and hydrotherapy (swimming daily) were added to the treatment protocol. An herbal pill formula to address the nocturnal sweat and fluid depletion was prescribed to be taken on a daily basis.
After 4 weeks of this treatment plan, the patient reported she could walk more than half a mile, could swim for 20 minutes in the pool, and the burning pain had dissipated from a 9 of 10 on the pain scale to a 3 of 10. The nocturnal sweats had disappeared and she was beginning to feel more like herself. The treatment plan was modified to one session of acupuncture weekly for 8 weeks; yoga was recommended in addition to hydrotherapy and continuation of diet modifications strongly suggested. After 8 weeks, the patient reported that she was pain free and had spoken with her employer – she was going back to work and felt wonderful. This patient continues with treatment once monthly and continues to do yoga and swim; she can now dance and is living a productive and happy life once again.
Traditional Chinese Medicine cannot offer a cure for MS, but a good practitioner can help reduce or eliminate various symptoms of the disease. While results vary from case to case, this is one of the many pathologies that I treat on a daily basis. Traditional Chinese Medicine has been practiced for over 2500 years for a reason!
If you or someone you love suffers from MS, please refer them to my office for care.