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What Are the Benefits of Acupuncture for Multiple Sclerosis?

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  • Written By: Paul Cartmell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 08 July 2018
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Acupuncture treatments are given to people with the autoimmune disease known as multiple sclerosis in an attempt to relieve the pain and problems associated with the symptoms. There is little medical research to back up the claims of any specific benefits garnered from acupuncture for multiple sclerosis. Individual acupuncturists do report benefits for patients, but a limited number of medical studies have been published showing acupuncture provides any short-term benefits.

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis that can be reduced by the use of acupuncture include tingling and numbness of the limbs and face, and stiffness and fatigue of the limbs. Alongside the physical symptoms, acupuncture for multiple sclerosis can be used to help with feelings of depression and anxiety often experienced by people with the disease. A study conducted in the U.S. showed that between 20 and 25 percent of those with multiple sclerosis had tried acupuncture in an attempt to alleviate the intensity of the associated symptoms. Of this percentage, between 10 and 15 percent planned to continue using the acupuncture for multiple sclerosis symptoms.

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According to acupuncture theory, 14 channels of energy travel through the body that can become blocked or malfunction, requiring stimulation using long, thin needles inserted into pressure points along the 14 meridians. Medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis are thought to cause problems along the channels of energy that can be assisted by acupuncture treatments. Multiple sclerosis patients have reported benefits with symptoms, including vertigo and spasticity of the hands and legs.

Acupuncture for multiple sclerosis can have a positive effect on the activity of white blood cells and restoring the correct passage of white cells in the blood. Some medical research theorizes that one of the causes of multiple sclerosis is the attack of white blood cells on other white blood cells and damaging the central nervous system. Treatments for multiple sclerosis require long-term courses of therapy that should be started as quickly as possible following a diagnosis to increase their effectiveness.

Multiple sclerosis was the most diagnosed neurological condition in young people in the U.S. in 2011. The condition does not reduce the life expectancy of any person diagnosed, but can reduce the mobility of a person with multiple sclerosis. Symptoms can be felt for a short period of time followed by long periods without pain or other symptoms. In other cases, people with multiple sclerosis can feel the effects of the symptoms for a prolonged period of time.

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