Nutritional therapist and naturopath Tanya Clarke has multiple sclerosis. Here she reveals why a holistic approach is so beneficial to this condition
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a lifelong condition that causes a multitude of symptoms that affect physical and cognitive function, as well as mood. There is no cure. Disease-modifying drugs (DMDs) are available for people with active relapsing disease, and these can change the course of MS. However, due to the unpredictable and variable nature of MS and the fact that it affects every aspect of life – work, family, and social life, a holistic approach to care is required to meet the needs of those living with the condition.
A holistic approach will aim to find the root cause driving the chronic illness. The root cause could be poor nutrition, allergens, lack of movement, infections, lack of sleep, toxins and/or stress (physical or emotional) or any combination of these.
Naturopathic approach to multiple sclerosis
It is important to consider a person’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing. All four aspects need to be in balance for optimal health. MS affects individuals differently, so the support each person requires will vary. It is not enough to focus on only one aspect such as diet, when that person may be living such a highly stressed life that they are unable to absorb the nutrients from an improved diet. A holistic approach is essential to find the antecedents, triggers, and mediators of chronic disease. It will look at the interaction of genes, lifestyle, and environment.
I chose to train as a naturopath because I have experienced the benefits of choosing a system of health care which promotes the body’s own self-healing mechanism. The principles of naturopathy were first used by the Hippocratic School of Medicine in about 400 BC. The Greek philosopher Hippocrates believed in viewing the whole person in regards to finding a cause of disease, and using the laws of nature to induce cure. It was from this original school of thought that naturopathy takes its principles –
The healing power of nature – nature has the innate ability to heal.
Identify and treat the cause – there is always an underlying cause, be it physical or emotional.
Do no harm – a naturopath will never use treatments that may create other conditions.
Treat the whole person – when preparing a treatment plan, all aspects of a person’s being are taken into consideration.
The naturopath as a teacher – a naturopath empowers the patient to take responsibility for his/her own health by teaching self-care.
Prevention is better than cure – a naturopath may remove toxic substances and situations from a patient’s lifestyle to prevent the onset of further disease.
This approach, alongside DMDs, can be very beneficial to chronic conditions such as MS.
Check back here tomorrow, when I will reveal to you my holistic diet and lifestyle choices I use to manage my multiple sclerosis, and give you some pointers to help you start your wellness journey.