Autoimmune Disease

Multiple Sclerosis

by Mary Vincent, L.Ac.
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system in which the person’s own immune system attacks the protective covering (myelin sheath) that surrounds their nerves. This myelin sheath is crucial to proper functioning of the nervous system, including the speed and accuracy of messages sent between the brain and the body. When damage occurs to the myelin sheath and proper brain-body communication is disrupted, the resulting impact on the nervous system can include a variety of symptoms, depending on which nerves are being attacked. These symptoms can range from mild to severe, can vary from person to person, and may include:
▪ Tingling, numbness, weakness in the face, body, or extremities.
▪ Blurry vision, double vision, eye pain, or colors that suddenly appear dull.
▪ Nerve pain like an “electric shock” when moving the neck (particularly bending it forward).
▪ Fatigue
▪ Dizziness
▪ Tremors
▪ Muscle spasticity
▪ Unsteady balance or gait
▪ Itching
▪ Headaches
▪ Speech or swallowing problems
▪ Declining bladder and bowel function

The above symptoms are often exacerbated when the body is warmer than usual, such as in hotter climates or during exercise. Most people will have periods of relapse and remission with their symptoms, in which their particular symptoms will flare up for days or weeks at a time, followed by a partial or complete improvement of these same symptoms for months to years. In at least 60% of people with MS, the disease course will eventually progress with less frequent remissions and a steady worsening of symptoms (known as secondary-progressive MS). A small percentage of individuals with MS will experience a gradual onset of symptoms and a steady progression of the [...]

Autoimmune Diseases

By Mary Vincent, L.Ac

Autoimmune diseases are a leading cause of chronic pain and physical disabilities. They are also one of the top 10 leading causes of death in women. Researchers have identified between 80-100 different autoimmune diseases, and currently more than 23 million people in the US alone are affected by one or more. Some of the more commonly known autoimmune diseases include:

▪ Graves’ disease
▪ Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
▪ Multiple sclerosis
▪ Pernicious anemia
▪ Reactive arthritis
▪ Rheumatoid arthritis
▪ Sjogren’s syndrome
▪ Systemic lupus erythematosus
▪ Type I diabetes
▪ Celiac Disease

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s own defense mechanism, the immune system, incorrectly identifies the body’s own cells as intruders and attempts to destroy them over and over again. These diseases can target and affect any area of the body, and can damage tissues and organs over time. There are a wide variety of signs and symptoms based on each individual disease mechanism, but in general, the classic initial signs include chronic fatigue, low-grade fevers, and muscle and/or joint aches (often accompanied by swelling). Symptoms typically come and go during periods of remission (no symptoms) and flares (sudden recurrence of symptoms after a remission). Autoimmune diseases affect people from all places, but more commonly occur in:

▪ Individuals with a family history
▪ Women of childbearing age
▪ Certain Environments—certain locations and environmental exposures have higher rates of autoimmune disease

How Can Acupuncture Help?

Pain Relief: Most autoimmune disorders cause some varying degree of muscle or joint pains. Most major acupuncture points are located in areas of the body that have major nerve innervations. These points help to calm the nervous system, decrease swelling/inflammation, increase blood flow, relax muscles, and thus relieve pain.

Improve Digestive [...]