Because there seems to be success with MS diets and supplements, MS sufferers often pursue other complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) approaches rather than rely strictly on conventional medicine alone. As a matter of fact, it seems people with MS tend to use the CAM approach much more frequently than the population in general. This has resulted in multiple MS therapies and a number of excellent books, alternative diets, exercise, therapies, and websites dedicated to MS. These include:
I think anyone wanting to pursue a CAM approach to MS, should probably buy Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Multiple Sclerosis, which is a book written by Allen C. Bowling, MD, PhD, who earned his medical degree, as well as his PhD in pharmacology, at Yale University. In the book, Bowling provides information about the pros of CAM, as well as precautions. He also provides information on forty-four different therapies, including aromatherapy, chelation therapy, diets, herbs, massage, meditation, vitamin supplementation, therapeutic, touch, and yoga. Bowling concludes the book with information on how to integrate conventional and unconventional medicine with CAM and summarizes the effects of supplements used in MS. I think this book can help anyone who wants to pursue CAM therapies but is unsure about how to assess them and whether or not they are effective and worthwhile.
If you’re just interested in supplements alone, another great book that also happens to be written by Dr. Bowling (trust me, I don’t know him, he just happens to have great books on MS), but in relation to supplements and MS is Dietary Supplements and Multiple Sclerosis: A Health Professional’s Guide. I was able to casually look through it, and it seems as if it contains valuable information, particularly if you are trying to figure out the best supplements for MS.
Drug Interaction Checker
If you are interested in taking supplements on your own, then one thing you will need is a really good drug interaction checker. I’ve looked around on the internet and the best one I’ve found is Medscape’s Drug Interaction Checker. Click here to access it. You may have to register at the site the first time, but if you are interested in knowing about drug interactions, it is well worth it. You can enter up to twenty medications, and from my cursory look you can enter supplements, prescription medications, vitamins, over-the-counter medications, and herbs. However, keep in mind, this tool is not meant to be a substitute for your health care professional or pharmacist’s advice.
Because MS often results in loss of dexterity, stiffness, tremors, and weakness, exercise helps ease symptoms, maintains flexibility, and prevents complications. There are a various exercise routines that can benefit MS sufferers. These include tai chi, strengthening exercises, and swimming. Tai chi is a system of callisthenics with coordinated and rhythmic movements, and it supposedly benefits people with MS because it improves balance, posture, and general well-being. Strengthening exericses, such as weight lifting or resistance training, supposedly help because they build muscle and bones and help with walking and movement. If you are interested in learning more about strength training, read Resistance Exercises or Weight Lifting Basics. Swimming or water aerobics are also good for MS sufferers who are sensitive to heat because they can keep cool as they exercise. However, before undertaking any exercise program not specifically designed for MS, talk with your health care professional because it will not benefit a MS sufferer to overstretch, overexercise, or be in pain.
Probably one of the most amazing stories in relation to MS and yoga involves Eric Small. Small was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS more than a half century ago when he was at twenty-two years old. He regained his health after studying with legendary BKS Iyengar, who is one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world and founder of Iyengar yoga. Small then became a driving force in creating a yoga teacher-training program for teachers to work with MS afflicted students through the National MS Society. Yoga helps because it is considered restorative. Yoga also allows a person to stretch, and, if necessary, it also allows participants to easily adapt to poses and to use props, such as pillows, chairs, straps, bolsters, or blocks, to complete poses.
If you’re interested in learning more about Small’s technique he wrote a book with Dr. Loren Fishman. The book, Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis: A Journey to Health and Healing, is considered definitive for MS adapted poses. It also offers a user-friendly and comprehensive guide for people wishing to apply yoga principles to managing MS symptoms. There is also a “Yoga for MS and Related Conditions” video. The website seems to be out of date and you can’t order it online, but you can call Shoosh Lettick Crotzer at 1-800-366-6038 for further information.
Clinical studies have shown reflexology benefits MS sufferers. Reflexology is a therapeutic technique where pressure is applied to energy channels throughout the body. MS sufferers often have a number of symptoms, such as facial pain, memory problems, shaking, numbness, bladder problems, and blurred vision. These motor, sensory, coordination, cognitive, vision, and bladder problems are aided by reflexology. Reflexology also helps MS sufferers because it reduces stress, creates relaxation, and restores balance to the body. You can find a reliable reflexologist by visiting one of these sites:
Relaxation can easily be achieved through guided imagery or meditation, and relaxation is important because it help ease MS symptoms. Meditation and guided imagery can also affect the physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional aspects and enables practitioners to achieve peace of mind and well being. One form, known as Yoga Nidra or yogic sleep, helps with MS healing through guided meditation, guided imagery, and breath and body awareness. Inez Stein, who is the author of The Magic of Zen: Pathway to Self Transformation and a registered and certified yoga therapist and Kripalu teacher, uses Yoga Nidra to help MS sufferers. Stein has practitioners repeat a positive affirmation, and they use visualization techniques to heal their immune and nervous systems. Here is her CD, Yoga Nidra for Multiple Sclerosis.
Swank Multiple Sclerosis Diet
The Swank Multiple Sclerosis Diet is a low-saturated fat diet developed in 1948 by Dr. Roy L. Swank, PhD. Swank demonstrated there was signficiant lesss deterioration in MS sufferers who followed his diet over a 34 year period, and those who showed the most benefits were those people who had minimal disablity at the start of the diet. If you’re interested in learning more about Swank’s diet, you can visit the Swank MS Foundation. They also have a message board, information about research, and other support. If you’re interested in Swank’s book The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book, it provides updated recipes that allow people to stick to the Swank diet.
The Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre
The Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre is a site that has tons of information, including testimonials, recipes and information on supplements specific to MS. In addition, it has information about the Best-Bet diet, a diet based on Swank’s work that supposedly stops the progression of MS and addresses problems related to the BBB and leaky gut syndrome. It was created by Ashton F. Embry, PhD. For more information, click here, and, if you’re interested in how Embry got involved with MS, here’s the link.
This is MS
This Is MS is an site where people share information about their struggles with MS and with the hope MS will be eradicated in their lifetime. They talk about all sorts of alternative therapies “ranging from the FDA-approved disease-modifying drugs such as Copaxone to alternative treatments such as Low Dose Naltrexone.” The site also has a number of forums from general discussions to multiple MS therapies to daily life. It can be good to interact with other people affected by MS because people who have similiar trials and tribulations can provide valuable support and understanding. In addition, it may help you cope with the disease better because when you have multiple sclerosis, your mental health definitely affects your physical well being.
The CAM model offers a number of multiple MS healing therapies. The books and sites I have mentioned above can provide more complete information on alternative therapies. If you decide to pursue the CAM model completely or added it to your conventional therapy, it is important to become versed in what it will take to maintain good health. So, If you are interested in learning about specific foods in relation to diet and supplements, read MS Treatment.