If you, or someone you love, have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis then you have entered on a very frightening and challenging path – but one that is not without hope.
Considering Ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis can help you to alleviate symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
When Ayurvedic treatment is combined with Western treatments and other complementary practices, you can regain control of your life, feel better and find hope. While there is no known cure of MS, more and more is understood about its progression which points to a combined modality as the best form of treatment.
What is MS?
Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord. It is thought that the “wrong signal” is sent out that causes the body to activate the immune system but to attack normal tissue and not a bacteria or virus. The immune system build up a sheaf over the nerve endings along the brain and spinal cord that then prevents impulses and messages from the nerve from acting.
This is a process called demyelination. The body can and does get rid of this excess sheaf on its own, but not at a fast enough rate to keep up with how the overactive immune system is producing it. MS is generally treated with immune suppressant drugs and other medications. The result is a progressive loss of motor control in the body until the body is no longer processing the signal to breathe or beat the heart.
What is Ayurvedic Medicine?
Ayurvedic Medicine is the health care system that derives from Ayurveda beliefs in the balance and influences of energies within the body. They define three main types of energy – Pitta, Vata and Kalpha. Everyone is born more inclined to one energy than another and must work to keep all three in balance. Disorders and disease originate from a disturbance in the energy balance that then allows the energy of the disease or disorder to become prominent.
With multiple sclerosis, it is seen as an overly powerful influence of the Vata and Kalpha energies. Vata deals with digestion and the hormonal control of the body, and Kalpha is the energy of strength – in muscles, mind and the immune system. Since MS affects the hormones and nutrition control of the body, and is known as an immunological disorder, this makes perfect sense.
What is the Ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis?
Working within the Vata and Kalpha influences the standard Ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis involves practices designed to enhance the digestive and immune system. This comes in a two-fold approach –
- The first goal is to raise the energies that have been made weaker by the influence of the stronger Vata and Kalpha energy of MS.
- The second is to reduce the power of the Vata and Kalpha.
This is done through using massage, herbs, Ayurvedic medicines, physical movement practices and diet. All of the work has a profound emphasis on making changes to you diet and working to identify and decrease stress. Ayurveda has identified that these are major contributing factors to the speed with which MS progresses, and Western clinical findings support this.
The emphasis on diet
Diet plays a huge role in how well the body can utilize its natural systems to nourish proper cell growth, immune reaction, manage hormones and detoxify. Ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis will include a total reworking of your diet to make it more healthful and fitting for your energy type. Vata people must eat differently than Pitta people, and Kalpha nutrition needs are also different too.
For some, the avoidance of spices is recommended and for others they are encouraged to help regulate the internal temperature and reactions of the body. You will also be given recommendations of which herbs to use and prescribe traditional Ayurvedic medicines that promote good digestion and immune support. Digestion is key to immune control as it not only provides fuel for the body to use the immune system, but it powers the body’s natural toxin filtration process.
The importance of managing stress
Learning to manage stress is another key element of Ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis. As with all disorders of the immune system, stress is one of the main contributing factors. Stress sends a signal to the brain to release cortisol and other hormones that can also over activate the immune system. They cause the over activation because the physical reaction to mental or emotional stress can weaken you enough to make yourself ill. Practices include breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, massage and other methods of promoting muscular and emotional relaxation.
Yoga practices are a huge part of Ayurveda. The postures and movements promote flexibility and strengthening of the muscles, increasing your motor control. The movements also serve to promote healthy circulation of the blood and lymphatic systems, which is how the body cleanses itself. Yoga will also help to reduce stress as it teaches you how to control your breathing and to calm your mind. The more you can gain control of your physical reactions to stress, the less it will have an effect on your health.
It can be hard to find the right words to comfort a friend with multiple sclerosis, or to find comfort if you live with diagnosis. Keeping your focus on what you can do to reduce the impact of MS in your life, or encouraging a friend to keep up with their Ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis by becoming their yoga partner or taking on the diet too can be of enormous help.
While there is not known cure for MS, there is no rule that says you cannot enjoy life and live it to the fullest too. MS is a disease that is progressive, but what we know about how to slow the progression and relieve the symptoms is finally progressing at a faster rate. The practices of Ayurveda have been confirmed by scientific study to be the right path to take, along with Western medicine, to reclaim the quality of your life.