HBO: Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment is a therapy which involves breathing in 90% oxygen through an oxygen mask, at an increased level of pressure. within an oxygen chamber. There are numerous theories as to how it works. Dr Philip James’ theory is that every cell in your body is bathed in the oxygen, encouraging the body to repair itself. Because the body is under pressure (HBO takes place in an air tight tank) it is easier for blood plasma to absorb greater quantities of oxygen and in turn increases the absorption of oxygen in cells, tissues, glands, and organs. Dr James believes that fat globules cause blockages leading to blood vessel damage which causes MS symptoms. Damaged blood vessels leak toxic substances into the surrounding nerve tissues, which causes damage to the myelin sheath. Oxygen breathed under pressure dislodges these globules.
What is certain is that the increased uptake of oxygen insures all areas of the body are reached despite inflammation or swelling. The extra oxygen helps the white blood cells to fight disease greatly aiding the healing process. It is believed that HBO is able to stabilize MS. I have certainly found it very helpful. It keeps my leg symptoms at bay and reduces my levels of fatigue as well as symptoms of nausea. I have complete faith in HBO and go twice a week, though some people feel that once a week is enough. The first twenty sessions must take place as close together as possible, but afterwards top ups of once/twice a week should be sufficient to maximise the effects of the treatment. I go to my local MS Action centre in Walthamstow, London, for this treatment: http://www.msaction.org.uk/index.html
Acupuncture and Reflexology
Reflexology was used by the ancient Egyptians, who believed the body was sacred and not meant to be opened up for surgery or the likes.
Acupuncture is a Chinese therapy which is said to have been started around 100 BC, though many argue that it had been used much earlier than this, during the Stone Age.
Both work along energy meridians connected to the organ’s and other parts of the body. By inserting needles into various points on the body or applying pressure to points on the feet linked to these same energy channels, therapists can encourage the body to self-heal.
In the 4th Century a Chinese acupuncturist Dr Ko Hung discovered that if he used his thumbs to apply pressure to the feel where needles were inserted during acupuncture, it could also aid healing. So the two are closely linked and work along the same meridians. They are both excellent therapies that I highly recommend for alleviating symptoms such as aches, pains, numbness and fatigue.
I approached these treatments with an open mind, and am always amazed by the difference that they make to my symptoms. Find a good acupuncturist/reflexologist – perhaps you can get it on the NHS, ask your GP about it – or there are therapy centres which provide these treatments for free, as well as reiki and massage – try an internet search to find one in your local area. The one I attend in London is the Neurological Support Group in Hackney at St Joseph’s Hospice: http://www.stjh.org.uk/Services_at_the_hospice/findingspace-at-stjosephshospice/FS-groups.htm http://www.stjh.org.uk/Patients_Carers/Complementary-therapies-at-st-josephs-hospice/
My local MS Action centre in Chingford, London also offers them: http://www.msaction.org.uk/index.html
Moxibustion uses moxa sticks made from a plant called mugwort. It is used to get rid of inflammation and pain as well as for stimulating the immune system. It is a stick which is burnt and passed over the skin, not close enough to burn it, but enough to warm it, unblocking energy pathways. For this reason it is often used in conjunction with acupuncture. My acupuncturist introduced me to it recently and I now use it regularly to stimulate my immune system, hovering it over important immunity acupressure points, as I was shown to do by her. I definitely recommend asking somebody who knows how to use it to instruct you first, as otherwise you may be at risk of burning yourself. Moxa is not for everyone, which is why it is important to seek advice before using it.
Reiki involves the movement of energy that is stagnant in the body; it is a therapy aimed at healing that is also very relaxing. Like reflexology and acupuncture it is aimed at balancing the flow of energy within the body to prevent illness and disease from taking over. Again, it is best to ask around for a reiki therapist you should find a good one through word of mouth.
Massage can be helpful for aches and numbness and to help you relax.
Homeopathy is based on the theory that like cures like; that substances that can cause symptoms in healthy people can also be extremely diluted to treat illnesses which cause the same symptoms. It was invented by Hahnemann a German doctor in the late 1700s.
It is believed that every person has a “vital energy” which can promote the body’s self-healing response to illness if it is balanced. Health problems arise when this energy is disrupted or imbalanced. Homeopathic remedies are aimed at restoring the vital energy balance, stimulating the body’s own healing response.
Homeopathy is an individualised treatment. Remedies should be tailor-made to suit the patient by the homeopath according
to symptoms and emotional issues among other things.
Walking barefoot on the earth is a Chinese healing therapy which I was suggested a while ago and which I immediately feel good after. I try to walk on the grass outside of where I live every morning (weather permitting, but not in winter) for five to ten minutes. I aim to do about twenty but life always gets in the way. Try it, I have found it to be a really enjoyable experience and a great start to my day. I usually do it after I’ve practiced yoga, and am sure it is doing me some good. Read more about it online: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-healing-benefits-of-walking-barefoot.html
Everyone will find that they benefit more from one type of therapy than another. It is to you to explore what is available to you and try it out for yourself. If you find something that works, stick to it. The ones I have mentioned are those that I personally have found helpful, but there may be other types of therapy that suit you. If you have found others to be of use, please let me know about them.