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 Naturopathic Medicine: Multiple Sclerosis and Alternative Medicine 

Naturopathic physicians also may preform acupuncture to treat the symptoms of MS. 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. This therapy may be used by itself or used in conjunction with any number of other therapies such as hydrotherapy, nutrition or herbal medicine.

The following case study is an example of how a naturopathic physician could treat a patient with multiple sclerosis. As with any physician the type of therapy depends upon the physicians skill and level of experience.

The patient is a 48 year old female who has had gradually developing symptoms over a period of 5 years but had recently experienced a worsening of them in the past 3 months. At this time she was extremely fatigued, had difficulty maintaining her balance while walking and was developing a slurring of speech. At times she experienced severe headaches. She was able to do very little physical activity and it was increasingly difficult for her to keep up with the things she liked to do. Additionally she complained of becoming more socially isolated and was suffering from depression because she had been so ill.

Her diet analysis showed that she was eating high amounts of red meats, had a high total fat content and was low in vegetables and fiber. Because of her increasing fatigue she was unable to exercise much. She had been previously diagnosed with multiple sclerosis but was told that there was no treatment for the condition.

She was placed on the Swank Diet and begun on homeopathic Pulsatilla as it covered the totality of her symptoms. Hydrotherapy treatments consisting of alternating hot and cold packs to her spine and cerebellum were ordered once daily. At the first follow up visit one month later she reported a decrease in the amount of fatigue as well as a greater ability to walk without falling. Additionally, she reported that her speech was improving. There had been only one headache to report and that was of less severity. Most importantly however, was the fact that she was no longer as depressed, as she was beginning to feel that she could over come the disease process.

Subsequent visits showed a gradual and continued improvement until the patient returned to a level of normal function. She did experience a period of exacerbation of the disease when she decided to go off the diet for a period of one month to see if it really was doing something. As some of her symptoms became worse she quickly resumed the diet and was able to regain what she had lost.

Naturopathic medicine offers much in the way of relief and possible cure for the person afflicted with multiple sclerosis. In my experience and other physicians who treat patients with natural medicine, even a person in the advanced stages of the illness will experience some degree of relief. The treatment however, takes commitment by the patient in order to become well. This is simply because it is the patients who cure themselves, not the physician. Because of this, those who have a good mental attitude about over coming the disease will progress better than those who do not. I consider this the third cornerstone of the treatment for multiple sclerosis and one of its most important aspects.

Naturopathic physicians undergo a rigorous 4 year medical education program similar to medical or osteopathic physicians. Besides receiving training as general practice doctors, naturopathic physicians are thoroughly educated in the uses of clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, counseling, physical medicine, homeopathy, surgery, natural childbirth and acupuncture. Each practitioner may emphasize an area of practice such as childbirth, pediatrics or general medicine, or maintain their practice as a family practice doctor.

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 About The Author
Thomas A. Kruzel N.D. is a Naturopathic Physician in private practice in Portland, Oregon with an emphasis on family practice, geriatric medicine and diseases of the urogenital tract. He is an Associate Professor of......more
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