Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory auto-immune disease in which the body's immune system destroys the outer covering (the myelin sheath) of the nerve cells of the central nervous system. This process, called demyelenation, slows the passage of messages along the pathways of the nervous system, resulting in the symptoms MS. Such symptoms include:
- Changes in vision, balance, and coordination
- Muscle spasticity
- Altered sensations
- Speech abnormalities
- Bladder and bowel problems
- Sensitivity to heat
- Emotional disturbances and depression
MS most commonly affects women between the ages 20 and 40. An early diagnosis often results in more mild symptoms. Although there is no cure for MS, people with MS experience a normal lifespan.
Factors Affecting the Symptoms of MS
Current research suggests that hormonal imbalances, such as the changes experienced during pregnancy and the menstrual cycle, can have an impact on the symptoms of MS. These hormonal changes can be attributed to the effect of oestrogen on the inflammatory pathways of the immune system.
Other research has discovered a relationship between an overactive hypothalamus pituitary axis (HPA) and the symptoms of MS. An over-active HPA produces high levels of cortisol, which causes immune function disturbances, mood disorders, and an over-active inflammatory response. This area of research has produced new methods for treating the symptoms of MS, particularly depression.
The Orthodox Approach
Conventional medicines, such as interferon beta, can delay the progression of the disease.
The IMI Approach
- Reduce inflammation with naturopathic treatments, such as herbal medicine and detoxification, as well as dietary changes. Reduced inflammation will greatly enhance physical function.
- Restore nerve function with vitamins and minerals that nourish the nervous system.
- Encourage proper function of the HPA to balance cortisol levels.
- Calm the nervous system with lifestyle changes and herbs and vitamins to reduce the stress that leads to inflammation and high cortisol levels. Physical therapies can also assist the client with relaxation.
- Reduce fatigue by balancing levels of hormones such as prolactin through herbal remedies.
- In addition, MS clients often benefit from abdominal massage to relieve constipation.
- Homeopathy can also offer support for people with MS.