Judy Bowen-Jones

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an auto immune disorder in which the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks the protective covering of nerves around the body

Symptoms vary from person to person and may include extreme tiredness, numbness and tingling, blurred vision, muscle weakness, and problems with movement and balance. Some people’s MS symptoms increase steadily over time, for others they come and go periodically. Periods when symptoms get worse are known as relapses. Periods when symptoms improve or disappear are known as remissions.

Around half of people with MS experience pain: musculoskeletal pain due to muscle spasms or neuropathic pain (stabbing pain, skin sensitivity or burning sensations) caused by damage to the nerve fibres. MS can be a very distressing and frustrating condition and those with MS often suffer with depression or anxiety. The cause of MS is not known, it is believed that a combination of genetic and environmental factors play a role. Research suggests that smoking, lack of sunlight/Vitamin D deficiency and viral infection may be involved.

There is currently no cure for MS but there are a number of treatments that can help. Conventional treatment includes medications, such as steroids and physiotherapy.

Acupuncture for Multiple Sclerosis

There is little research into the use of acupuncture for treating MS. It is suggested that acupuncture may help the symptoms of MS by:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Promoting repair of the damaged nerve sheaths
  • Reducing sensitivity to pain and stress
  • Reducing muscle stiffness and improving joint mobility by increasing circulation and limiting swelling

Treating Multiple Sclerosis

“We do not know whether acupuncture can help slow development of MS, although given the physiological and beneficial effects of acupuncture, it is conceivable. Acupuncture can help relieve the symptoms of MS, including pain and anxiety, and promote physical and emotional health, making day to day living easier for those with MS”.

Research Fact Sheets

For more information see the British Acupuncture Council Research Fact Sheet below.