The Possible Use of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Mar 06, 2023 By Marie White

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western Medicine (WM) are very different approaches to health and illness. It might not be easy to explain and comprehend precisely how acupuncture works when using the language and concepts of Western medicine. Despite this, many patients with multiple sclerosis have reported that acupuncture is helpful and successful in reducing their symptoms. Acupuncture is a procedure that dates back hundreds of years and involves stimulating certain acupuncture points on the skin using hair-thin needles or other types of devices.

Acupuncture points are located along the body's 14 meridians, which may be passageways. It is believed that acupuncture may help to restore balance, remove blockages, and facilitate the flow of energy (qi) via the meridians. This may be accomplished by the body generating chemicals, such as endorphins, that reduce the perception of pain throughout the body.

When an acupuncture needle is put into the skin, a superficial puncture wound almost immediately develops. This damage does not cause discomfort, but it stimulates a reaction from the immune system. This may lessen the discomfort and boost blood circulation to the needed location as well as the whole of the treated meridian.

How Exactly Does The Acupuncture Treatment For Multiple Sclerosis Work?

Throughout each of the body's meridian pathways, there are around 400 acupoints that may be triggered. In a normal acupuncture session, the needles are inserted anywhere from four to twelve points on the body. Sometimes a technique called scalp acupuncture is employed, a relatively newer type of this treatment. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates that it will take between six and ten sessions before it is possible to establish whether or not therapy will be successful. On average, classes are expected to occur once or twice each week. How long the benefits of acupuncture continue to be felt is somewhat dependent on factors such as the patient's age, general health, and the symptoms being treated.

The acupuncturist will inquire about your medical history and symptoms before starting treatment. They may also examine your tongue to determine whether there are imbalances in the body. During this examination, we will identify the locations of the needle insertions. When put in, the needles are left in place for between 20 and 40 minutes.

After your session, you can feel calm or energetic, depending on how it went. Have a conversation with the acupuncturist about the kind of activities that you should and should not engage in following the treatment. After a session, taking things slowly and relaxing for a while would be prudent. A peaceful stroll or a lengthy snooze could be the most beneficial activity for you right now. Avoid doing these things at all costs:

  • Very Active
  • Using cold packs on puncture wounds
  • Alcohol and caffeine are two examples of stimulants

How Successful Is Acupuncture Treatment For Multiple Sclerosis?

To this day, there has been no significant research that looked at acupuncture's effects on multiple sclerosis that was thorough. Yet, the following research papers suggest that there are advantages to treating symptoms. Acupuncture and scalp acupuncture were useful for boosting the quality of life in persons with multiple sclerosis, according to a review of 31 research published in 2022. According to the findings of the study:

  • improved bladder function
  • improved gait
  • reduction in spasms
  • pain reduction in the limbs
  • less fatigue

Also, it was stated in this analysis that several investigations demonstrated:

  • enhanced control of the nervous system's immunological response
  • a decrease in the number of relapses
  • pauses in the development of the illness

Research conducted in 2017 on 20 persons who suffered from relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis indicated that acupuncture was useful for the following conditions:

  • reducing spasticity
  • reducing fatigue
  • improving balance
  • improving gait impairment

How Much Does It Cost To Get Acupuncture Treatment, And Does Health Insurance Cover It?

Acupuncture is covered by certain health insurance policies, although most policies do not. If your health insurance plan covers acupuncture, there may be a yearly limit on the number of treatments it will pay for on your behalf. You should check with your insurance provider to see whether or not acupuncture is a covered benefit and, if it is, how much your copay will be for each session if it is covered. You could spend roughly $100 for each session if you don't have insurance. There may be a price difference depending on where you live.

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