Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Normally, delicate nerves are protected with a covering called myelin. With multiple sclerosis (MS), the myelin becomes inflamed and eventually dissolves. Over time, scar tissue (sclerosis) forms where the myelin used to be. In severe case, MS causes disability.

 

Some theories in conventional medicine point the cause of MS to a virus or other infectious agent and/or an autoimmune problem. TCM theories the origin of MS to be an invasion of External Pathogenic Factors such as Dampness (which affects the Spleen and BD00036_muscles), or a deficiency in the Liver and Kidney Zang (which affects the tendons and bones, and are thought to play a role in the function of the nervous system. Hence, the etiology of MS may be varied and include factors such as early exposure to damp environments, improper diet, excessive sexual activity, shock, and a predisposition towards Liver and Kidney Zang deficiency.

In terms of TCM, MS is categorised on the basis of the predominance of signs and symptoms:

1) Spleen Deficiency with Dampness :

Symptoms:  paresthesia, numbness, sensation of heaviness in the limbs, poor appetite, abdominal distention after meals, loose stools, fatigue, dizziness, and weakness in the muscles. The tongue is usually swollen, with teeth-marks and a greasy coating and the pulse is slippery.

2)   Liver and Kidney Deficiency:

Symptoms: numbness and weakness, dizziness, and soreness in the lower back and knees. If Liver and Kidney Yin Deficiency is present, there also may be insomnia and dry mouth, with a scantily coated red tongue and

a thin rapid pulse. If the Liver Yang is rising, there may be stiffness and dizziness, with a coated red tongue and a wiry pulse. If there is Liver Wind, there may be spasms or paralysis and the pulse is wiry. 

Treatments:

Acupuncture: Acupuncture works on the premise that there's a stagnant flow of energy throughout the body. This stagnant flow of energy contributes to the symptoms experienced by the MS patient and to the formation of plaques found in the myelin sheath of the nerves. Acupuncture is also a vitalistic therapy in that it stimulates the body's own healing power.

Chinese herbs: In treating MS, the combining of specific herbs varies according to which Patterns of Disharmony the patient manifests. For Dampness Patterns, herbs such as Cang Zhu and Yi Yi Ren are appropriate to strengthen the Spleen and drain Dampness. For Liver and Kidney Deficiency, herbs such as Shu Di Huang and Sang Ji Sheng may be used to tonify the Liver and Kidneys. If there is Liver Yang Rising, herbs such as Mu Dan Pi may be added; Liver Wind may be qitreated by adding herbs such as Tian Ma and Gou Teng.