Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a complex condition that currently affects approximately 400,000 people in the United States—with 200 more people diagnosed every week. This chronic disease causes uncomfortable, sometimes debilitating symptoms that can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks.
An unpredictable condition
The exact causes of MS are not entirely understood, and there is currently no cure, though there have been many advances in treatment in recent years. Western medicine considers MS an autoimmune condition–a condition that occurs when the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues. In the case of MS, the immune system starts attacking and breaking down a substance called myelin, the sheath that surrounds the nerve fibers of the central nervous system. Myelin increases the speed of the transmission of nerve signals.
When myelin becomes “broken” or destroyed, nerve impulses are slowed down, leading to a progression of nerve-related problems. When these nerve fibers become damaged, symptoms can result, including:
- Blurred vision
- Loss of balance
- Poor coordination
- Slurred speech
- Memory problems
- Numbness or weakness of
The symptoms of MS vary from person to person, can range from minor to severe and can even disappear for a period of time only to flare up unexpectedly.
Acupuncture for Multiple Sclerosis
A clinical study about the effectiveness of acupuncture on the quality of life of the patients who had recurring multiple sclerosis while having been treated with “immunomodulators” was published in 2012. Immunomodulators are the active agents of immunotherapy, a treatment to enhance or suppress an immune response. The study was carried out in the MS outpatient clinic of the University of Campinas Hospital in Campinas in the State of São Paulo in Brazil between 2008 and 2010.
According to this study, thirty one of the participants were divided into two groups. The first group received “sham” acupuncture, which simulates true acupuncture. The second group received true acupuncture. The true acupuncture was shown to improve the quality of life of patients with multiple sclerosis. It helped reduce pain, depression, leg spasms, incontinence and constipation. In addition, the true acupuncture group saw improvements in sleep, appetite, and mobility in the eyes in the patient subjects.
Juan G Quispe-Cabanillas et el. Impact of electro-acupuncture on quality of patients with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis under treatment with immunomodulators: A randomized study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Nov 5;12:209. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-12-209.