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MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

Patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis are often stricken with fatigue, depression and anxiety. The good news: a recent study on natural methods of fighting multiple sclerosis found that mindfulness meditation is beneficial in preventing the disease’s severe symptoms.

Researchers from Switzerland gathered 150 participants suffering from moderate to mild Multiple Sclerosis in order for them to receive traditional medical treatment or practice mindfulness meditation for 8 weeks. Patients taking the experimental alternative treatment underwent a training course on the basics of mindfulness meditation. The training program was aimed at developing increased awareness through mental exercises. Each class lasted for 2 and a half hours a week and which was followed by an all-day retreat and 40 minutes worth of home activities.

According to the researchers, people who underwent mindfulness meditation training had decreased levels of depression, fatigue and anxiety. Furthermore, reports have indicated an improved quality of life for participants taking the alternative route to fighting multiple sclerosis compared to the group taking the traditional medical care. 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation created 6 months of relief from the chronic disease.

The author of the study Paul Grossman of the University of Basel said that people with multiple sclerosis are often faced with the challenges of life related to financial security, social activities, professional, as well as personal relationships. He added that treatments on multiple sclerosis have very little effect in a patient’s quality of life and other methods are needed to support the effectiveness of medical care.

The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

Multiple sclerosis is a very unpredictable disease. Patients may experience a few months of relief but the disease can suddenly attack without prior notice. This reduces their ability to function properly in the society and within the family. The benefit of mindfulness meditation in coping up with the challenges of the disease comes from teaching the patients to have a better and a more realistic sense of control and appreciation for positive experiences. Only 5 percent of the patients taking the mindfulness meditation training dropped out from class, while the remaining participants experienced a dramatic decrease in their levels of depression and fatigue and have shown an increase in their quality of life. Patients taking medical care, on the other hand, experienced a decline in the said area.

In terms of heightened levels of symptoms, 65 percent of the participants taking the mindfulness meditation course had serious levels of fatigue, depression and anxiety prior to their training. At the end of the course, the symptoms were decreased by more than 30 percent and the benefits of the program lasted for about six months. It remains unclear whether the benefits of mindfulness meditation training are rooted in the patient’s increased acceptance, tolerance and courage in dealing with symptoms of the disease and their increased sense of control.

The study was published in an issue of Neurology Magazine for September 28. Due to the lack of a control group with patients receiving other alternative methods of fighting multiple sclerosis, it’s difficult to obtain conclusive evidence that the practice of mindfulness meditation is responsible for the relief that the patients experienced.

Multiple Sclerosis: Signs and Symptoms

The best tip that anyone can get to offset the negative effects of multiple sclerosis is early detection and diagnosis. A person with Multiple sclerosis can suffer from almost any symptom including decrease or loss of sensitivity, lack of sensation and numbness. MS had also been observed to cause muscle weakness, muscle spasms and difficulty in moving, problems in speech, coordination, balance, and swallowing, as well as visual problems, easy fatigability, bowel and bladder problems. Patients also experience cognitive problems and impairment, high levels of emotional stress, unstable mood, and depression. It is virtually impossible to predict the onset of the symptoms, and medications are limited to temporary relief.

Natural Methods in Fighting Multiple Sclerosis

Vitamin D

Studies on animals have shown that vitamin D have positive effects in the suppression of the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. This essential vitamin maintains cell growth in rats and studies on multiple sclerosis showed that people living in higher altitudes with less exposure to sunlight and decreased reception of Vitamin D have higher risks of developing multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to the malfunctioning of body cells that result to abnormal rapid multiplication.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia and Oxford University discovered that deficiency in Vitamin D affects a portion of the human genome linked to the development of, and increasing the risk of developing, multiple sclerosis. The study on the adverse effects of Vitamin D deficiency was published in the PLoS Genetics Journal. The issue regarding the cause of multiple sclerosis still remains unresolved and scientists are weighing the influence of a person’s genetic traits and environmental factors.

Food supplements may have not been scientifically proven to cure or prevent the onset of multiple sclerosis, but medical experts will advise the increased intake of Vitamin D for people suffering from the symptoms of the disease.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can reduce the inflammation and maintain the proper function of the nervous system. Taking multivitamins also helps in the proper function of the nervous system and increases a person’s immunity.

Lecithin

Autopsies done on MS patients showed lower levels of lecithin in the spine, myelin sheath, and brain than healthy people. The daily intake of lecithin granules that contains choline helps to maintain healthy brain function.

Exercise

The symptoms of multiple sclerosis include a decrease in muscle control and the loss of balance. One of the natural methods of fighting multiple sclerosis symptoms and the adverse effects that it brings to a person’s quality of life is moderate and supervised exercise. Patients need to seek the assistance of a professional physical therapist before practicing any exercise in order to regain balance and muscle control. People with multiple sclerosis can easily experience discomfort, fatigue and exacerbation, and get discouraged. Levels of tolerance can increase through time and frequent practice so it takes patience and dedication to achieve the benefits of the exercise program. Practices recommended by medical experts include tai chi, yoga, swimming, walking and bicycling. But exercise needs to be limited to a certain level since overheat of the body’s core temperature may result to the exacerbation of the symptoms.

 

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