Acupuncture Aids Patients with Multiple Sclerosis





Acupuncture Aids Patients with Multiple Sclerosis
by Carrie Elizabeth Sklar

Though there is no known cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), studies show that when used in conjunction with other modalities, acupuncture can provide effective relief for many MS symptoms.

Because MS damages myelin in the central nervous system, the disease interferes with messages between the body and the brain. Acupuncture can mediate the effects of this disease because it releases endorphins and peptides in the brain, which modulate sensory information between the brain and body. Acupuncture has been cited by the World Health Organization to treat over 43 conditions, including symptoms commonly associated with MS, such as fatigue, pain, blurred vision, weak limbs, spasm, constipation and urinary difficulties.

In a survey conducted by the MS Clinic at the University of British Columbia, 566 patients with definite MS reported using alternative therapies, with acupuncture being the most common method used. The rest of the questionnaire focused on the reported effects of acupuncture,; those that used acupuncture cited reduced pain, decreased spasticity, improved bladder and bowel dysfunction, and alleviated tingling and numbness, among others.

Acupuncture interns from the New York campus of Pacific College of Oriental Medicine have the opportunity to work with MS patients at the Initiative for Women with Disabilities (IWD) Elly and Steve Hammerman Health and Wellness Center. According to licensed acupuncturist Frances Goodwin, who helped organize Pacific's internship program at IWD, "Oriental medicine looks at the disease a little differently than Western medicine," Goodwin said. "With Western medicine, they tend to treat [MS] by suppressing the immune system, so there's usually a lot of chemotherapy. But with Oriental medicine, it's about finding a balance rather than suppressing."

At IWD, Goodwin has seen firsthand the benefits of acupuncture for MS. "One of our women came to us with really bad spasticity, and after one treatment, she said she could sleep better," Goodwin said.

Join the PulseMed mailing list
About The PULSE
All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International, Brian Carter, MSci, LAc, Editor