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Alternative Remedies for Multiple Sclerosis Patients

By Daryl H. Bryant (431 words)
Posted in Living with MS on January 31, 2014

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Alternative Remedies for Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Alternative remedies, known as complementary therapies when added to a conventional treatment plan, are any therapeutic practices that have not been extensively studied. Exercise plans, mind-body techniques, herbal supplements and massage are all considered alternative remedies. In recent years, many of these practices have garnered support from medical doctors as positives studies and anecdotal evidence mounts.

Before adopting any complementary therapy, it is important to consider the following points:

  • Does my doctor think this is safe?
  • Are there any contraindications involving this therapy and my condition or medications?
  • What evidence is there supporting its effectiveness?
  • What are the risks?
  • How much will it cost?

Alternative Therapies for MS

  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture is the application of thin needles to key points on the body. Sessions are painless, and it is becoming a widely accepted complementary therapy to reduce pain, inflammation and stress. Recent studies suggest that it works by increasing serotonin levels.
  • L-Theanine: Commonly derived from tea, l-theanine is an amino acid supplement capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. It performs multiple actions on the brain and is taken to support the neurological system. It is considered safe even in higher doses, and recent studies have shown it is a promising supplement for a wide variety of neurological conditions. It is also believed to lower stress.
  • Massage and Bodywork: Massage is a well-known complementary therapy that reduces stress, swelling, muscle spasms, pain and lowers blood pressure. It also helps the body flush toxins, including medication build-up in the muscles. A well-trained massage therapist will be aware of what concerns an MS patient will have, but it is important to discuss your condition with your massage therapist.
  • Stress Management: Stress management techniques, including conscious breathing, art therapy and other relaxation techniques, are designed to increase your awareness of how you consciously and subconsciously handle stress. It helps you learn healthy coping strategies and constructive ways to deal with negative emotions. Some stress management systems also discuss time management, a useful tool for those that struggle to complete daily tasks.
  • Yoga and Tai Chi: Yoga and tai chi are known for their ability to lower stress and improve flexibility. Many practitioners also appreciate the spiritual aspect of some techniques and find it increases their mind-body awareness. MS suffers should look into low-impact yoga and adaptive tai chi. These methods are designed to keep the body active without being demanding.

Never abandon your traditional treatment for an alternative therapy. Instead, talk with your doctor and make them an integrated part of your treatment plan. Approached mindfully and with a doctor's support, alternative techniques can be an important stepping stone to living symptom-free.

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