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Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Holistic Approach # 2

Shortly after my diagnosis I posted five essential questions to my blog. In a previous entry entitled "The Holistic Approach," I wrote 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?

Today I feel called to return to these questions and to modify my thinking a little. I have come to the conclusion that diet and excercise is an important piece for MSers but it is not the whole picture. I do think that no two people with MS are exactly the same and that each person will need to find what works best for them. For me, the most important thing seems to be moderation in all things. There is nothing I need to avoid but I do need to avoid over-indulgence and over-doing. The second is probably the biggest part of the puzzle for me. It is really important that I plan periods of rest after a flurry of activity. I function best when I don't plan more than three things in a day. I also function best when the things I plan are a source of joy and not something I dread or something that brings me too much stress. This is where I have begun to modify my thinking a little. I have come to the conclusion that a person can do a million things with diet, excercsie and supplements and still not produce the desired results if the mind is not in the right place.

I now think that a large part of health and healing is mental and maybe even "spiritual." I find that the more I allow myself to worry or to feel stress, the worse I feel physically. When I am relaxed and engaged in activities that bring me joy, I feel much better too. I think that taking time for meditation, yoga and stillness is really important for me. When I get upset, I lose connection with my body. I often realize later that I am headachy and nauseated at these times. Lately, I have noticed that if I pause to take some time alone to breathe and calm myself, I often feel better and more focused again. I can then sense myself in the body again. This may sound very strange but I imagine there must be other people who have this experience too at times.

Right now I am feeling very calm, healthy and peaceful so I am going to slip out for some early morning yoga.

To be continued...


Robert Parker said...

Amen and amen. Well said!

My doctor (a neurologist as well as a GP) said that in the Good Old Days before MRIs, they diagnosed MS patients by graphing their symptoms. I'm not sure exactly how that worked... but one thing he said did stick with me: "EVERY patient's graph was different." I think this is one reason MS is so resistant to the Western medical approach. The West's first teaching is that patients are the same, a given disease affects every sufferer the same way. But MS doesn't work that way--every patient's experience is different.

I think we're coming to the same conclusions about how to travel the MS Journey: Respect yourself. Honor your body's (and your soul's) needs. Spend the moments you have on things that are worth spending them on.

And really, as far as treatment regimens go... what's wrong with that?


When I "disconnect" my thinking from my physical body and allow BOTH to rest, I tend to feel so much better. Whether mind over matter or matter over mind, I agree that *minding matters*.

Living Day to Day with Multiple Sclerosis said...

I agree with what you are saying. Stress can be very difficult and also bring on symptoms. Breathing techniques work for me.

Denver Refashionista said...

Thanks for all the thoughtful comments. They really resonate with me. Clearly, my thinking resonated with some of you as well. That's why I'm here.

Lazy Julie said...

I agree wholeheardedly with your conclusions about holistic benefits. I am a firm believer in doing anything and everything that can help from spirituality, meditation, yoga, diet, and western medicine, too.I don't need to know if it was the Reiki or the solumedrol that made my numb feet go away. All I know is the numbness is gone and I am willing to use both again in the future.
Thanks for sharing. Blog on, sister.

Blindbeard said...

When I am feeling stressed or worried, I have to clean or weed my yard. That is my meditation. I feel like I can think again when my house is in order and when the house is in order and I feel like I still can't think, I attack the yard. When I am under a lot of stress this house is as clean as an anal old lady's. I weeded the whole backyard once when I was VERY stressed -- and we do not have a small backyard. But I felt much better.