Words that come to mind when describing multiple sclerosis? Puzzling and exhausting. But could complementary therapies help combat MS symptoms? I’m here to share my experience.
I’ve long been interested in alternative, holistic ways to fight the disabling fatigue and neuropathic pains that came with my MS. Before I joined what I call the “MS academy”, I used expensive, foul-tasting EPA fish oil amongst a plethora of other vitamins to target these symptoms. A homeopath told me that a few days after my first spoonful of fish oil, I would feel a difference in fatigue levels, and that two weeks later, I would be storming around the Irish countryside again trying to tame rocks and mountains.
Sadly, that effect was only temporary. Three weeks in, my tiredness had returned. Fatigue was out to get me, and it accomplished its goal with a vengeance.
The hunt to find new, external ways to tackle unrelenting tiredness and pains was back on, and I ended up being a test subject for a friend doing massage therapy studies (she didn’t have to ask me twice!). Other forms of holistic therapy came and went, all with varying levels of success. Reflexology was one of the most hilarious—being a ticklish person, my feet were always the butt of the joke. Reiki also joined the list of holistic things to do, as well as aromatherapy, yoga and mindfulness pain management therapy.
Recently, however, I had an appointment with a group of needles – yes, acupuncture. Acupuncture focuses on restoring the natural energy flow through the pathways in my body. When these pathways are blocked, it is believed that illnesses can occur. As somebody living with MS, it’s safe to say so that mine are clearly blocked somewhere, and somehow.
It is difficult to prove scientifically that acupuncture leads to reduced MS-related symptoms , however, small-scale research has shown that acupuncture can have an impact on fatigue, pain, mood and quality of life (not all studies included test subjects with MS). Since the effect of acupuncture on the immune system is still being explored, I am realistic in what can be achieved, but am hopeful and giving it a go regardless.
Are you interested in trying out complimentary therapies like acupuncture? Check out my tips below!
• Go in with an open mind and don’t expect miracles from one session.
• Eat something before going in and be sure to be well hydrated, as your body will need all its energy for healing.
• Taking painkillers before the therapy might reduce the effectiveness of the qi moving through your natural pathways.
• Be sure that your acupuncturist uses disposable, sterile metal needles.
• Check with your doctor before exploring alternative therapies, and discuss what might work for you.