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TRADITIONAL EASTERN MEDICINE
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M.H .Sc (TCM)
u ltiple sclerosis is
autoimmune disease affecting
more tha n two million
people worldwide. In this
follow up article on the topic, we will look
at how Oriental medicine can treat such
a debilitating chronic dysf unction and
improve the lives of many Australian s.
Multiple sclerosis occ urs when, for
unknown reasons, the body begins to
destroy the myelin she ath or covering of
the nerve cells of the body. A s the condition
progresses, the delivery of information being
sent from the brain to the rest of the body
become s compromised.
The on set of symptoms often begins with
the worst attacks often oc cur during spring
and summer, it is now being assumed that an
increa se in heat could be a factor.
In my earlier article, I mentioned that
su fferers predominantly originate from the
colder parts of the globe. In fact, in tropical
c ountries , the incidenc e of multiple sclerosis
tota lly disappears. Re searchers a re now
investigating whether increased exposure
to sunlight and Vitamin D may have a
protective effect on those living nearer the
While it is not classified as a hereditary
tran smitted disease, there is a genetic
c omponent since those who have family
members with the disease are more likely
to be affected than others. Could it be that
su fferers are afflicted be cau se for generation s
their a nc estors were unac cu stomed to
unsea sonal heat? Or is the disease lying
dormant until their body is weakened by a
It is a theory that gains new ground
when we turn our attention to the field of
Oriental medicine. The America n author
a nd Oriental practitioner Skya Abbate
mention s that when this autoimmune
disease first appeared in China over 30 years
ago, the stress of modern lifestyles a nd the
increa se in pollution levels were deemed
to be c ausative factors . Then, the Chinese
medical community began to notice that
different types of fever seemed to aggravate
the patient’s condition, a nd it was deduced
that a form of deficiency heat build up in
the body could be the culprit, although the
effect of long term stress on immunity was
probably an aggravating factor.
In Oriental medicine, MS is now
identified a s a “flacidity syndrome”, a body
dysfunction leading to atrophy of the
muscles and the flesh.
There are s everal different cla s sification s
for this condition. It can be identified as a
Lung heat and fluid deficiency pattern c aused
by an epidemic febrile disease. In that c a s e,
a cupuncture loc al points a long the spina l
cords are selected according to which spina l
ner ves are affected. In addition, spe cific
points on the Lung channels are stimulated
to strengthen the patient’s immune sy stem.
In contrast, when the pain is located in
the lower back and knees and the patient
complains of excess urination, po or memory
and low sexual drive, the Kidney organ and
ch annels become the m ain focus of treatment.
According to Chinese medical theory,
the onset of pain in the body can be the
consequence of a block age of Qi (energy), or
blood in the channels. The quality of the pain
determines the diagnosis and the methods of
treatment adopted . A mild pain or general
discomfort around a wide area will be cla ssified
a nd treated a s a Qi stagnation pattern, while
a localised, more severe, stabbing kind of
pain as experienced during an acute att ack
will be diagnosed as a blockage in the blood
circulation into the area.
According to Skya Abbate, while no
form of medicine can claim to be able to
fully cure this disease, Traditiona l Chinese
Medicine ca n offer a more tha n 40 percent
improvement in symptoms. The treatment
protoc ol includes reg ula r a cupuncture
treatments, Chinese herbal medicine, which
is now available in powder or c apsule form,
and a regular exercise program.
In some c a se s, this form of treatment
can bring the patient to the stage of long
term remission where the symptoms almost
tota lly disappear for weeks or months at a
time. In others, the decrea se in pain is more
mode st, but significant enough to improve
their quality of life and greatly reduce the
a mount of medication required.
In addition to these regular treatments,
lifestyle changes including appropriate diet,
gentle daily exercise and stress reduction
techniques like meditation or yog a c an make
a n enormous differenc e.
In the meantime, Western medicine is
a ctively resea rching a cure, so there is rea l
hope that the worst days of MS could very
soon be finally behind us.
Olivier Lejus MHSc. (TCM), BHSc. (Acup.) is an
accredited acupuncturist practising in Sydney.
Read Part One of Olivier’s examination
of traditional treatments for this disease
in “Automimmune Attack”
(NOVA, March 2013, Vol 20 No 1)
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a loss of s en sitivity or a tingling sen sation in
the limbs. A particular characteristic of this
condition is an electrical sensation running
down the back when the neck is flexed.
As the disease progresses, other pa rts
of the body gradually become affected.
Sufferers c an experienc e a wide ra nge
of symptoms ranging from respiratory
problems to impairments in speech, balanc e,
coordination a nd sexual function.
As with many other chronic diseases,
patients often experienc e sudden ac ute
episodes when their condition dramatically
deteriorates, alternating with unexplained
short periods of remission where the
symptoms almost totally disappear. Since
Symptoms of MS
While a cure for multiple sclerosis is still elusive, TCM offers
real hope for improving the lives of sufferers, says Olivier LeJus
© noVa april 2013
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