Hola readers, glad you made it to today’s segment; really had to do a lot of research on this one – and for good reason…
Did you know that almost half a million people suffer from Multiple Sclerosis in the US alone? And for each year that passes, over 10,000 new cases get diagnosed. But that’s not the problem. The major dilemma that all medical professionals face with MS is that it’s never possible to predict how the disease will progress in an individual.
So how do you even know if it’s MS in the first place? That’s why we’re here today. In this segment, we’ll be looking at what exactly multiple sclerosis is and how it presents itself in our bodies. We’ll also delve into some of the main cause of MS as well as what we can do to prevent it. But not to worry, we’ll also look at all the currently available medical treatments and how you can use essential oils to make MS more manageable. So take a seat, because you just landed on Olivia’s ultimate guide to understanding and managing multiple sclerosis.
What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Often referred to as MS, multiple sclerosis is a highly unpredictable and potentially disabling disease that affects the brain, spine, and the entire central nervous system by disrupting the flow of information. This disease often causes demyelination (disruption of myelin which protects and insulates nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord) and as a result, the ability of certain parts of the nervous system to communicate gets severely damaged.
This deterioration leads to a range of early signs and symptoms such as lost sensation, trouble with balance and coordination, double vision or even blindness. Typically, MS occurs in different forms with newer symptoms occurring in either progressive or relapsing isolated attacks. Currently, there are four types of multiple sclerosis. These include:
CIS (Clinically Isolated Syndrome) – This is usually the first episode of MS that occurs as a single event with symptoms lasting for at least a day.
RRMS (Relapse-Remitting MS) – This is hands down the most frequent type of MS that affects well over 80% of everyone with sclerosis. As the name suggests, it involves remitting attacks of newer or increasingly severe symptoms.
PPMS (Primary Progressive MS) – This type of MS is reported in around 15 % of all MS cases. Without any sign of early relapses or remissions, the symptoms for this type worsen quite progressively.
SPMS (Secondary Progressive MS) – After the early symptoms and initial episodes of relapse, the multiple sclerosis starts to progress at a more steady pace.
Unfortunately, MS is a lifelong condition without any known cure available. And even though the symptoms may disappear completely in-between attacks, you can expect permanent neurological problems to remain. But not to worry; while there might not be a cure, there’s definitely a lot of different ways to prevent further attacks and improve function, health, and quality of life. But before we look at the treatments, let’s have a look at the symptoms and causes.
Signs And Symptoms Of Multiple Sclerosis
While the symptoms of MS vary widely from one person to another, they are mostly dependent on the area where the myelin sheath has been damaged severely. This means that a person with MS could have almost any neurological symptom with autonomic motor, sensory and visual problems being top of the list.
The early, overall signs and symptoms include:
- Visual changes including double vision and blindness
- Loss of sensation or sensitivity (tingling, numbness)
- Muscle weakness and spasms
- Difficulty moving, balancing, and coordinating
- Ataxia (Problems with speech and eating)
- Fatigue, aches and chronic pain
- Bladder and bowel difficulties (Incontinence)
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Sexual dysfunction
- Emotional changes i.e. stress, depression, unstable mood
Causes Of Multiple Sclerosis
Although most medical professionals consider MS to be an autoimmune disorder, the exact cause is not yet known. However, scientists have pushed several theories about how MS could be caused by a combination of both genetic and environmental factors. These causes range from simple factors such as Vitamin D deficiency and consuming too much salt to more severe viral infections. However, multiple sclerosis is not contagious and can’t be passed from one person to another. Here are some more likely causes of MS whose research will hopefully help with the treatment.
While it’s not exactly a hereditary disease, several genetic factors have been shown to heighten the risk of MS. The more closely related you are, the higher the chance of getting MS. Common genetic factors such as having more than one person in the family with MS or a first degree relative (sibling or parent) significantly increases the chance of getting the disorder. Medical professionals argue that MS develops due to a certain genetic predisposition to react negatively to environmental agents. So once this person is exposed, it triggers an immune response that leads to multiple sclerosis.
Again, while none has been confirmed, many microbes have been proposed as triggers or causes of MS. But given that initial exposure to several microbes, viruses and bacteria happens to everyone at childhood (viruses being well recognized causes of demyelination), it’s all too possible that these sources of infection could trigger MS. In this case, more than a dozen bacteria and viruses are being investigated including Canine Distemper, Measles, Chlamydia Pneumonia, Herpes Virus 6 and Epstein Barr.
Being an autoimmune disorder, abnormal immune mediated responses are valid causes of MS. These abnormal attacks on the Myelin coating and central nervous system can be caused by a range of factors which are being investigated to find out what sets the MS in motion, how it progresses and how they can slow or prevent it.
The environment and geography also seems to affect multiple sclerosis statistics. Interestingly, the disorder seems more and more common the further you move from the equator. Studies also show that people who migrate to a different part of the world before age 15 assume the risks of the new area. However, these environmental factors are still being researched. Evidence is also growing that smoking could play a huge role in the development of multiple sclerosis.
Treating Multiple Sclerosis
As mentioned above, MS is a lifelong disease without any known cure. However, there are several treatments that all attempt to prevent new attacks and improve function after an MS attack. While modestly effective, there are plenty of medications used to treat multiple sclerosis. However, these meds can have serious side effects and become very poorly tolerated by your body. Physical therapy is also a must for both mild and advanced cases of MS so as to recover lost sensory and motor functions. All in all, the life expectancy of a person with MS is about 5 to 10 years lower. This is why people end up looking for alternative treatments even without any evidence it works.
Corticosteroids – These are without question the most commonly prescribed meds for MS because they suppress your immune system and drastically reduce inflammation. They are mostly used to treat acute flare ups of symptoms is different types of multiple sclerosis.
Interferon Therapy – These have to be given in form of injections that could range from daily to weekly. Interferon therapy works by slowing down the progress of symptoms associated with MS. However, these meds must be used with the utmost care since they can cause severe liver damage, flu-like symptoms as well as severe depression.
Copaxone – While Copaxone works differently from interferon therapy, it still modifies the immune system to reduce cases of remitting multiple sclerosis. But even with the oral application, there’s a risk of substantial side effects such as heart disease, liver injury, and many more.
Tysabri – This is a monoclonal antibody approved for patients with remitting and relapsing multiple sclerosis. But due to its high risk of severe brain infection and other side effects, it is only recommended for patients who fail to respond to other treatments.
Novantrone – This is a chemo agent used for prostate cancer or leukemia that can also work for treating secondary progressive and advanced relapsing multiple sclerosis.
Rehab aims to assist patients with maintaining and improving their ability to function effectively both at work and home. The rehab programs for MS generally include:
Physical Therapy – This rehabilitation attempt to provide patients with the appropriate skills required to maintain, restore and improve on maximum functional and motional ability. This can also be combined with speech and swallowing therapy as well as the use of work, play, and self-care activities to prevent disability.
Vocational Rehabilitation – This type of rehab helps people with different disabilities make plans for their career, learn helpful job skills, and get a job that they can actually keep and excel at. This is usually combined with cognitive rehab that helps sharpen thinking and perception.
Looking at the above evidence, it’s obvious that conventional treatments for MS only include immune suppression and autoimmune limiting; a very dangerous approach. Sure, some of these drugs might attempt to address a couple of side effects, but they don’t always work for every person or for all types of MS for that matter.
And to top it all off, some of these corticosteroids and MS medications can have brutal side effects. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of people who will tell you that combining Novatrone with interferon therapy saved their lives.
But if you ask me; a drug that offers temporary relief for a few MS symptoms only to give you a chronic combination of heart disease, liver injury and brain disease does not sound like a fair (or sane) trade off. I mean, I love how they don’t even try to hide what their medication will do to you – they’ll tell you straight to your face that this stuff, will outright kill you in the long run, but at least you won’t feel it. So, what do I recommend?
First, the rehabilitation part of treating multiple sclerosis is essential. From physical, cognitive, vocational to speech, all these will help you regain as much control of your body as you can and prevent, slow, or stop further disability. Then, instead of bothering with these pharmaceutical toxins that doctors are peddling, why not go for something healthier and more natural?
That’s right; I’m talking about some highly potent plant matter extracts which are ripe with healing properties that could hold the secret to finally helping with MS without any of the nasty side effects.
Multiple studies carried out on MS show that essential oils have a very positive effect when it comes to treating and managing the symptoms. These effects could be as mild as providing some relaxation and sleep to more critical benefits such as joint mobility and pain relief which could mean everything in the fight against MS progression. So without further ado, let’s dive right into the best essential oils for MS.
Best 9 Essential Oils For Multiple Sclerosis
Precious and incredibly sought after, Helichrysum essential oil is packed with more benefits than you can find uses. Brimming with antioxidant, cell regenerative, cicatrisant and analgesic characteristics, it can really work wonders for MS. In addition to helping the skin regenerate more quickly, Helichrysum oil supports localized blood flow and promotes better circulation to help return lost sensitivity and function. And as a bonus, this oil helps detoxify the body and promote better liver function so you can get rid of all the harmful drugs in your body.
Much like Basil, Rose essential oil is also quite the aromatic shrub. However, it holds some special properties that could help with some tricky symptoms of MS. Also referred to as the essential oils of love, Rose might just be the perfect solution for sexual dysfunction, especially for men. But Rose doesn’t just stir desire and enhance blood circulation and semen production – the aroma is also great for dealing with depression and mood swings.
Along with being a great ingredient in the kitchen, Basil essential oil is also packed with all the right properties required to combat MS. Basil boasts of antispasmodic, analgesic, antidepressant and balancing properties that work for all the different types of MS. Used well, Basil could help sooth sore joints and muscles, reduce tension and stress, and promote mental alertness and focus to help with cognitive rehabilitation.
Being around for thousands of years, peppermint essential oil remains a staple in pretty much all our lists. That’s because it is literally the ultimate essential oil for any health related issues. Brimming with stimulant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, this particular oil does a lot for people with MS. In addition to relieving pain and calming the nerves, peppermint oil also promotes blood circulation and improves healthy respiratory function.
More Essential Oils
To be honest, there are hundreds of essential oils that can all play their part to help treat MS or at least provide relief for some of the symptoms. So I just selected only the most potent and effective of them. I hope this short list will make your collection of best essential oils for MS even wider.
Packed with cicatrizing, antioxidant and cell regenerating properties, Frankincense essential oil will help with symptoms such as numbness, loss of function and aches.
6 & 7. Clary Sage and Ylang Ylang
Being mild sedatives and nervines, Clary Sage and Ylang Ylang essential oils are ideal for calming the nerves and stabilizing emotions.
8 & 9. Lavender and Geranium
Apart from their unforgettable scents that work great for relaxing, both these oils are ripe with analgesic, sedative, adaptogenic, and anti-depressant characteristics that complement rehabilitation of MS.
5 Essential Oil Recipes for Multiple Sclerosis
1. Spine Application Blend for MS
- 10 drops Basil
- 10 drops Frankincense
- 8 drops Peppermint
- 6 drops Helichrysum
- 4 drops Wintergreen
- 2 ounces (60ml) sweet almond oil as carrier oil
- Dark amber bottle
In your small glass bottle, carefully transfer the essential oils as directed above. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to reduce the number of drops of essential oils to a total of 26 drops in total vs the original 38 drops just to get the concentration down. Close the cap and shake well to get everything mixed in properly. To apply, just raindrop the blend over the entire spine, starting at the base of your skull and working your way down all the way to the tailbone area. A gentle massage will help work the oils deep into the skin and spinal cord.
2. Neck and Joint Ache Massage Blend
- 3 drops Helichrysum
- 3 drops Clary Sage
- 2 drops Frankincense
- 2 drops Basil
- Tablespoon of Fractionated coconut oil
With MS, symptoms such as fatigue, joint aches, chronic pain and loss of sensation can really get you down. That’s why you need a recipe with all the right essential oils for the job. In addition to helping the skin regenerate more quickly, Helichrysum essential oil supports localized blood flow and promotes better circulation to help return lost sensitivity and function. Likewise, Basil essential oil will help sooth sore joints and muscles, reduce tension and stress, and promote mental alertness and focus to help with cognitive rehabilitation. For this one, just mix in a small bowl and massage at least twice a day on the neck, back, and joints.
3. Boost for Sexual Dysfunction
- 6 drops Ginger
- 4 drops Lemon
- 4 drops Cinnamon
- 3 drops Black Pepper
- 30 ml sweet almond oil
Most of the time, the demyelinating effects of MS can really wreck havoc on the patient’s sex life. Combine the loss of sensation and muscle weakness with stress and depression and you already have a potent recipe for sexual dysfunction. For women, the essential oil remedy is mostly centered on setting the mood. But for men, they need a little something to enhance the muscles so to speak. This recipe here is the ideal, natural alternative to toxic vitality boosting pharmaceuticals. Start by combining all the essential oils together and mix them. Next, proceed to apply the oil on the spine, kidney, and lower back at least two times a day. Remember, it doesn’t have to go on the junk in order to work – essential oils don’t go so well with genitalia.
4. MS Stress Busting Massage
- 5 drops Lavender
- 4 drops Juniper Berry
- 3 drops Ylang Ylang
- 5 drops Peppermint
- 1 ounce olive oil
- Dark glass bottle
Nothing works better for recovery, relaxation, MS rehabilitation and de-stressification (totally made up word) than a full body massage. To get the most of this recipe, begin by mixing up all the essential oils is a small glass tube and top it off with the olive carrier oil. Shake well to get everything properly mixed up and then store in a cool dark place until ready to use. Gently warm the MS massage blend before using to so that it can absorb much easier into the skin. To use, just drip a few drops of it onto your palms and massage it deeply to ease all the pains and aches associated with multiple sclerosis.
5. Veggie Capsules
- 1 drop Peppermint
- 1 drop Basil
- 00 Vegetable Capsules
- Fractionated coconut oil
While ingesting essential oils is not always advisable, it’s more effective than topical application. However, you have to know exactly what you’re doing. And as I always say, consult your doctor prior to ingesting them. Since essential oils are incredibly concentrated, this vegetable capsule blend is a safe way to get the oils in your body. Start by adding in the indicated essential oils into the veggie capsule, top it off with the coconut oil and close it back up. Take 2 capsules a day for the first two to three weeks, and then turn down the dosage if symptoms improve.
There you have it folks, that winds up another informative segment on everything you need to know about multiple sclerosis. Sure, there might not be cure for MS currently, but it’s only a matter of time until they find a cure with all the research going on. But until then, there’s plenty of different ways to control, manage, and keep the symptoms of multiple sclerosis from progressing. Just remember to live healthy, eat well, take your rehab seriously and never lose hope!