A Powerful Natural Treatment Option in Chinese Medicine for Multiple Sclerosis
Apr 25, 2015 10:30PM
By Rene Ng
What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis, better known as MS, is an illness of the autoimmune system. According to the National MS Society, this involves an abnormal process that is directed against the body’s Central Nervous System (the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves) by the immune system. During this process, the immune system attacks the myelin, which are fatty substances that surround and insulate the nerve fibers along with the nerve fibers themselves. Scar tissues are formed as a result. Individuals suffering from MS report symptoms including walking difficulties, muscle fatigue, vision impairment, bowel issues, cognitive issues and neuropathic pain, to name a few.
MS Is More Common In Women than In Men
According to the National MS Society, women are at least two to three times (with a ratio as high as three or four to one) more likely to be diagnosed with MS than men. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, although MS can occur in young children and significantly older adults. From a Western medicine perspective, there is no known cure for MS, and treatments focus on minimizing relapses which could lead to an exasperation of the disease. Typical treatments include regular injections of medication such as Avonex, Betaseron and Copaxon to prevent the immune system from becoming active. Unfortunately, these drugs come with a wide range of side effects that can cause serious damage to a person’s health.
MS - Over 2,000 Years Old
MS is a relatively young disease (less than 200 years old, according to the National MS Society) in Western medicine; however, the earliest records of the disease go back several thousand years in Chinese medicine history. There, it is categorized as a Wei Syndrome and refers to a syndrome marked by muscular flaccidity or atrophy of the limbs accompanied with motor impairment. Over the years, Acupuncture, Chinese herbs and Qi Gong exercises have been shown to be very effective in addressing Wei Syndrome.
MS - A Tale of Three Organ Systems
In Chinese Medicine, Wei Syndrome is a disorder resulting from imbalances found in the body’s spleen, kidney and liver organ systems. Also, in Chinese Medicine, each organ system, in addition to its functions detailed in various western anatomy texts, also possess unique functions and energetic properties that contribute to the total integrated, interactive functioning of the entire body system. The Liver manages the connective tissues and the sinews, as well as the eyes, and can be dramatically affected by stress and emotions. The spleen manages the muscles, the transformation of food and drinks as part of the digestive process, and is easily affected by raw foods (especially raw vegetables) and cold drinks. The kidney manages the bones and the ears, along with cognitive function of the brain. Therefore, depending on which of the three organ systems is affected, the MS individual will present with symptoms associated with the affected organ system. If the liver system is out of balance, the individual can experience eye problems, emotional instability and motor impairment due to issues with the tendons, ligaments and connective tissues. If the spleen system is out of balance, the MS individual will present with symptoms associated with muscle weakness, spasms or tightness, bowel issues, food sensitivity issues, bloating and water retention. If the kidney system is out of balance, the MS individual will present with reduced cognitive functions, weak bones, back, knee or neck pain, poor memory, foggy brain and urinary system issues. If more than one of the three organ systems is out of balance, the MS individual can exhibit combined symptoms from the organ systems affected.
MS – A Circulatory Impairment Disorder
All symptoms associated with MS – fatigue, weak muscles, poor bowels, poor memory, etc. – can, in one way or another, be tied back to reduced functionality of the body’s circulation system. All three aforementioned organ systems associated with MS plays a prominent role in the production and circulation of blood, from a Chinese Medicine perspective. The liver stores blood and manages its circulation throughout the whole body. The spleen assists the heart in the production of blood. The kidney produces and houses the energy (called “Qi”) that is needed to move the blood from point A to point B. Hence, the underperformance of any or all of these organ systems will negatively affect the production and circulation of blood, causing related blood-deficiency symptoms. In addition, the entire body works as a whole network in which all the organ systems interact and depend on one another. Therefore, the imbalance of any organ systems, along with an underperforming circulatory system, will ultimately affect each and every organ system in the body, leading to a continual decline of the individual’s health, MS-related or not.
Addressing MS with Chinese Medicine
Chinese Medicine goes well beyond Western medicine’s scope of “addressing MS by preventing the immune system from becoming active.” Instead, it identifies the source of why the immune system is attacking itself, addresses that source, and simultaneously works on the MS symptoms the patient is experiencing. In the treatment plan, all three organ systems are addressed and strengthened with any combination of Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Moxibustion, Cupping and Chinese Massage Therapy, as needed. These are also used to invigorate the blood and jump-start the circulatory system. Over time, these will have a positive effect on the MS symptoms which will slowly subside. The MS individual will end up experiencing longer sustained periods without relapses as the body gets stronger and healthier. Overall, the quality of life for the individual with MS improves dramatically.
Additional Tips for Addressing MS
Breathe plenty of fresh air. Oxygen-rich blood circulating the body goes a long way toward improving the performance of the body’s various organ systems.
Join a Qi Gong or Tai Chi class. These exercises, when practiced regularly (especially daily), help keep the joints and muscles limber, flexible and healthy. Oxygen intake is maximized with the slow, smooth, rhythmic moves which also help to reduce stress.
Avoid ice cold drinks – drink warm or room-temperature.
Eat more cooked vegetables, especially leafy greens.
Reduce or eliminate the amount of alcohol and coffee consumed.
Drink chrysanthemum and green teas.
Avoid being sun exposure for extended periods of time to prevent the body from overheating.
Manage and reduce stress in your life. Find outlets to redirect stagnated stressful energies and to generate laughter.
Schedule regular physical exercises.
Regularly scheduled full-body massages will help keep the muscles relaxed, blood-rich and healthy.
Adopt a low-fat diet and make sure to have an adequate intake of Omega-3 oils.
Ensure optimum Vitamin D levels and regular intake.
Reduce or eliminate dairy from your diet.
Go to bed at a decent hour and get a good night’s sleep.
Take turmeric extracts and fresh ginger root regularly.
Seeing a natural health care provider such as a licensed Acupuncture Physician regularly goes a long way toward helping you manage MS effectively over the long haul, minimizing its relapses and symptoms, while improving your quality of life.
Rene Ng, DOM, AP, L.Ac, is a board-certified, licensed Acupuncture Physician and Chinese Herbalist located in Sarasota, Florida. In addition to cancer care, pain management, hypertensive disorders and women’s health issues, MS is one of his many specialties, and he has extensive experience in addressing MS with Chinese Medicine. He was unexpectedly thrown into the MS world when his wife was diagnosed with the disease in 2004. Since then, she has been under his care with Chinese Medicine, relying primarily on Acupuncture and Chinese herbs, and has been healthy with minimal relapses over these years. In 2014, he was voted Sarasota’s “Favorite Acupuncture Physician” for a second year in a row and was also the area’s “Favorite Anti-Aging Practitioner.” Ng can be reached at 941-773-5156 or via email: [email protected].