According to the National MS Society, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. It's thought to be an autoimmune disease; the body's own defense system attacks myelin, the fatty substance that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers in the central nervous system. When any part of the myelin sheath or nerve fiber is damaged or destroyed, nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord are distorted or interrupted, producing the variety of symptoms that can occur.
I was diagnosed with MS in 2000. My energy level hit zero and no matter how much I rested, it didn't help; lifting my arms was becoming a project. This kind of fatigue is difficult for most people to understand. To put it another way, if I were a car, my gas tank was empty and there was a huge hole in the tank that prevented it from being filled. My doctor advised me to go on Copaxone, an MS medication that can help slow the progression of the disease, but due to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), I resisted. While the MS medications, such as Copaxone, Avenox, and Betaseron can be helpful, they do have many side effects.
Looking for an alternative path to improvement, I decided to investigate acupuncture and herbs. I became a patient of Dr. Henry Zhon-Hong Lee who is a NYS Licensed acupuncturist and also an NCCA DPL Herbalist. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice and Dr. Lee seems to have an innate ability practice it to its fullest potential. The insertion of micro-thin needles at specific points on the body rebalances the body's energy fields and stimulates its "Chi" energy. Restoring the energy pathways allows the body to relearn its own shortcuts to self-healing.
I have been seeing Dr. Lee for over three years. The results of the acupuncture treatments have been amazing; my traditional Western doctors no longer encourage me to use Copaxone. I am not saying I'm cured, but my overall health has improved. MS can be sneaky - it's important to know your limitations and live within those limits to try to prevent exacerbations (bouts), or at least keep them to a minimum.
As a patient, each of us is responsible for being aware of what our choices are. While Western medicine still looks down upon Eastern practices, acupuncture is slowly becoming recognized as a medical choice that is covered by many insurance companies. If you decide to try acupuncture make sure you find a licensed and qualified practitioner. And, be sure to discuss it with your family doctor or neurologist.
If you or someone you know has Multiple Sclerosis you can visit the following organizations for information and help:
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS)
Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA)
Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (MSF)
Karen Cioffi is an author and freelance writer. She is on the team of DKV Writing 4 U (http://www.dkvwriting4u.com) - a site that offers professional and affordable writing services along with blog and website creation. She is also the creator and manager of VBT - Writers on the Move - a group of authors who use cross-promotion to help each other create visibility through virtual tours and other marketing strategies. In addition to this, Karen is the co-moderator of a children's writing critique group, and a reviewer for BookPleasures.com.