Naturopathic physicians view multiple sclerosis (MS) as they do other disease processes, that is, from a wholistic perspective. The illness is seen as a combination of physical, mental/emotional and in some cases, spiritual aspects. A naturopathic physician will use a variety of
diagnostic methods to evaluate the patient. These range from conventional testing, such as laboratory studies, magnetic resonance imaging and ultra sound examination, to the less well known pulse and tongue diagnostic procedures. By using a combination of diagnostic modalities, as well as listening to what the person has to say about his or her illness, the physician is better able to assess the disordered internal environment.
Given 10 individuals with MS, the physician is presented with a set of
symptoms which have a commonalty and some which are unique to certain individuals. In the Naturopathic view, these symptoms are the body's way of telling the affected person that something is wrong and that it is attempting to correct the imbalance imposed on it by the disease. The pattern of symptoms experienced by the patient becomes even more important than the diagnosis, as it allows the physician to select the medicines with which to treat the person. This is based upon the vitalist tradition of medicine which was first expounded by Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine.
Prior to the early part of this century, MS was not recognized as a specific disease entity except in rare cases. The incidence of
the disease, especially in industrialized nations, has risen in the past 50 years to its present level. Conventional medicine generally views MS as being an incurable disease characterized by periods of
decline and remission.
Naturopathic physicians do not see the disease process as being incurable or one of inevitable decline, as they believe in the healing power of nature, or vis medicatrix naturae. What is important to understand is that the healing ability of the body begins early at the onset of the disease before any destruction of the nervous system or pathology takes place. This is why early diagnosis is often missed by conventional medicine as it relies primarily on the presence of diagnostic markers such as the presence of oligoclonal proteins in the spinal fluid or a poor flicker-fusion response. These changes are not seen until there is a considerable progression of the disease.
Because any symptom is seen as an attempt by the body to correct itself, MS may be treated early, allowing for a greater rate of success and
recovery. In my experience, even patients who are in the advanced stages will benefit from natural therapeutics as they act in harmony with the normal body healing processes.
Naturopathic physicians may use a variety of therapeutic modalities ranging from conventional drug therapy to diet and nutrition, homeopathy, physical medicine, acupuncture, and the use of plants or botanical medicine while treating the whole person, not necessarily the "disease".
Naturopathic physicians have long held that most of the chronic degenerative disease of our modern era are diet related. The higher incidences of multiple sclerosis parallel increased rates of cancer, heart disease and arthritis, as well as other chronic degenerative diseases, and all of these coincide with the introduction of high fat, high refined sugar and processed food diets which has become the standard diet of most Americans. There has been a considerable body of research which bears this out, most notably that of Francis Pottenger, M. D., Weston Price, DDS and Roy Swank, M. D..