Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the immune system. It attacks the central nervous system via the brain and spinal cord. This results in damage to the nerve sheath (the cover of the nerve fiber) and causes communication issues between the brain and the rest of the body. A wide range of symptoms will appear depending on the amount of nerve damage and the location of affected nerves.
Signs and symptoms of MS may vary but are not limited to:
- Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs and trunk.
- Electric-shock sensations that occur with neck movement, especially moving forward to reach the chest.
- Muscle tremor, lack of coordination.
- Tingling or pain in part of the body, muscle spasm.
- Fatigue, dizziness/vertigo.
- Blurry vision, double vision.
- Problem with bowel and bladder function.
There is no cure for MS from western medicine’s point of view. Doctors in the west utilize treatments including anti-inflammatory medications for pain relief and tingling, and spasms. Doctors also use immunosuppressants, in the form of steroids, which suppress the immune system to help slow down the progress of MS thereby reducing the symptoms. Doctors may also use beta interferons to ease the severity and frequency of MS flare-ups.
In recent years, complementary therapies are recommended and used in treating MS. These include acupuncture, herbs, physical therapy, massage, and yoga. Those therapies balance the immune system, release symptoms, and may slow the progress of MS.
In Chinese medicine, MS is a disease of atrophy syndrome. The causes of atrophy are:
- dampness/phlegm toxin triggers inflammation in the body, resulting in tingling or pain, or muscle spasms occurred.
- poor blood circulation which makes the blood supply slow and cannot bring sufficient nutrients to the body, numbness or weakness in the body and fatigue will show up.
- spleen qi and stomach qi deficiency lead to blood deficiency, therefore the atrophy syndrome started to build up a weakness in the muscles, or muscle atrophy happens.
- liver and kidney deficiency causes vision trouble and congenital deficiency, it is indicated with vertigo/dizziness, poor memory/foggy mind, fatigue, tremor, and depression.
MS Treatment Using Chinese Medicine
First Step: Balancing the immune response to stop damage to nerve sheath is the most important step in treating MS. Certain acupuncture points and some Chinese herbs can help the body’s immune system fight outside intruders like viruses, bacteria, and harmful microorganisms while not attacking the body’s cells, tissues, and organs. Eliminating the toxins from the body will help the immune system to achieve this goal.
Second Step: Restoring nerve function, maybe repairing the nerve sheath by improving symptoms like muscle weakness and atrophy, releasing tingling sensations, tremors, and muscle spasms, improving eyesight, easing dizziness, and vertigo. There are acupuncture points along the spine that can be used to regulate the Qi and blood flow, deliver good energy and open the meridians on the spine, those acupoints are used for stroke recovery and they could be very helpful for MS.
Chinese Herbs Play an Important Role in Treating MS
According to TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) theory, MS is caused by internal organs (liver, stomach, spleen, kidney) malfunctioning. In modern TCM, some investigators support the belief that congenital deficiency is a key factor in MS. Most MS patients have a weak Du channel, located on the spine, and damage to the kidney essence and brain marrow. These theories have guided Chinese herbalists to choose herbal remedies to help patients.
I will list some of the remedies here. However, patients need to visit TCM practitioners to receive differential diagnoses and use the right remedies to help their conditions.
Bu Shen Yi Sui Tang, Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, You Gui Wan, Zou Gui Wan, Bu Yang Huan Wu tang, Huang Qi Gui Zhi Wu WuTang, etc. Those remedies may have a positive effect on neuroprotection and immune regulation for MS patients.
MS is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. The earlier that someone seeks Chinese medicine treatment, the better the outcome. This is especially true in the early stages. Please do not hesitate to visit a well-trained TCM practitioner if you suffer from MS.
I am looking forward to working with you.
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