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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The holistic approach

Several weeks ago I posted five essential questions to my blog. This week I would like to write about my findings and experiences regarding #4 and #5. To refresh the memory of my readers I have posted these questions below.
4) Can MS relapses be averted or minimized by life-style modifications, holistic approaches, exercise and meditation?
5) What regimen of diet and exercise works best for the majority of MS patients, or is it really about each individual finding what works for them?

My answers for question #4 and #5 are actually the same. I now believe that diet and excercise modifications can help many individual MS sufferers. I am not claiming that the same modifications will work for all people or that holistic medicine is the only answer but what I am claiming is that for myself and many people it seems that a "healthy" diet and regular excercise can make us feel better. I have also found that the less medicated I am, the better I feel.

I have emailed and met with many people who claim that they have minimized their relapses or even been relapse free for upwards of fifteen years as a result of diet, lifestyle and excercise modifications.

There are several prescriptive diets out there for MS patients but I actually believe that controlling ones MS is more about listening to ones own body. For some people this means eating raw foods and living by Genesis 1. For others this means minimizing their alcohol, meat and caffeine intake. For me it means really paying attention to my body. I have tuned into my needs through yoga, meditation and experimentation. I try to pay attention to any twinges in my body and then to interpret them like one might a baby's cry. Some twinges mean sleep, some mean slow down, some mean eat something and others mean drink something. I try to interpret these as quickly and carefully as possible. If one solution seems to fail, I try another. It is all a mindful process of trial and error, made easier by my vacation since it allows me to not overbook myself and to give each activity the time it needs. I am steeped in ritual for all I do now. I love being spontaneous and present all at the same time. Eating well and doing yoga seems to rejuvenate me when I feel lousy.
I am beginning to research and experiment with dietary supplements like Vitamin D but I need more time to evaluate these things before I sound off. The last thing that I might add is that it seems that a positive frame of mind really helps me deal with my diagnoses and my questions about the future. I have contemplated death, life in a wheelchair etc... and find that I can face what comes but I must enjoy here and now for what it may bring me. I have embraced my joy and rejected my fear so, while I am truly present, I accept whatever the future may hold.


Diane J Standiford said...

You are setting a good foundation.

Serina said...

Good Attitude is so important. I do pretty well with my MS when I stick to taking the Vitamins myone doctor recommended and getting enough rest.

You are absolutely right, it is all about listening to your body.

I do take Copaxone as well, but in my observation of my own situation, it is the healthy living that helps me now, and the medicine may or may not help me later.

I feel differences almost immediately if I eat something wrong or don't get enough sleep where missing the Copaxone injection here or there so far hasn't made me feel worse or better. (Keep in mind I've only used the medicine a couple months)

Sonia said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts as your questions have been the ones I have been wanting an answer to for months. After my diagnosis of MS in August, 2010, I became a bit extreme with my diet and supplements. After 6 weeks, I didn't want to do it so strict anymore and felt that the stress of not eating so many things was worse on me. Now, I'm trying to find the balance as to what works for my body and that includes a generally healthy diet, certain supplements that a nutritionist who also does body talk has helped me with, meditation/visualization and yoga. Like everyone with MS, I would like for someone to just tell me what to do exactly, but I'm finding that it is different for everybody. It's nice to know I'm not alone.

Sonia Hankin