Traditional Chinese medicine is today the second-largest health-care system in the world, after modern Western medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine holds that the causes of most diseases originate from spiritual, emotional, behavioural, dietary, and climatic factors, in contrast to the biological and biochemical basis seen by practitioners of modern Western medicine. Chinese medical treatment is aimed at adjusting the environmental and human influences through lifestyle adjustments the use of medicinal herbs, and n and physical therapies. Since modern Western medicine, with its reliance on the latest research findings and technologies describes the causes of most diseases as originating from genetic, structural pathogenic (infective or toxic), nutritional, and behavioural factors, treatments are bioengineering, surgery, chemotherapy, dietary restriction, nutritional supplements and behaviour modification.
As relates to Multiple Sclerosis, the Chinese believe that the disease most likely originates with a combination of spiritual and emotional factors and that the trigger for the disease may be an experience of a feverish illness, usually an infectious disease. The weakening of and loss of control over the musculature may come about because the critical energizing and regulating functions of the internal organs have become disturbed due to the loss of spiritual focus, perhaps because of a frightful experience that has scattered one’s soul from its resting place. The disease consumes vital fluids essences that are essential to nourishing the body and providing a relaxing medium for the spirit. According to Chinese medicine without spiritual relaxation, there is ongoing agitation and destruction of bodily harmony.
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Western medicine is still pursuing the precise description of MS, but currently, it is believed that a combination of genetic predisposing factors and an episode of a common viral disease initiates an autoimmune process which leads to the symptoms of the disorder (inhibition of nerve transmission to the muscles), exacerbated by subsequent infections or other stimulants to the autoreactive immune system. In other words, the disease has nothing to do with either personal experiences (other than having an infection) or general bodily balance but rather is attributed to an inherited coil of DNA and another slice of DNA provided by the virus. Therefore, TCM diverges from Western medicine by placing human experiences above inheritance and biology as a cause.
Although the Chinese see anxiety, depression, fright, and fear as contributors to the disease process, Western doctors observe these emotional patterns in patients diagnosed with the disease and attribute the emotional conditions largely to a reaction to the diagnosis. That is, once a person is informed that they have a disease that may be progressive and debilitating, they become anxious, depressed and fearful.
To treat MS, a current Western medical approach is to find a protein that will block the autoimmune attack, thereby stopping any further demyelination, and thus preventing further development of MS. Another is to apply a peptide ( cytokine, a small protein, such as interferon) that regulates immune responses and controls initiating viruses, thus reducing the number of MS attacks. There are numerous other methods being investigated, in which something is introduced into the body to interfere with the autoimmune process.
Physical therapy is often an important part of treatment for a person with MS. Physical therapy focus on walking, standing, maintaining range of motion, stabilizing the upper body, and proper use of ambulatory aids. The Chinese medical approach is also to introduce something into the body, with the aim of replenishing body essence and rehabilitating internal organ functions, through diet and herbs, rather than products of advanced technology. Acupuncture is applied in an effort to rectify the circulatory disturbances that arise from the disharmony of organ functions; the improved circulation helps the organs and tissues return to a normal, healthy condition.
The herb combination prescribed by doctors of Chinese medicine is selected on the basis of past experience with treating flaccidity syndromes and on the basis of the current health status of the individual. Acupuncture treatments are likewise selected on the basis of previous experience with another patient, such as those who experience paralysis due to stroke, and on the basis of unique characteristics of the individual currently under treatment. Thus, therein not a single remedy for MS that can be offered through the traditional Chinese medical approach, but rather a composite treatment based on individual needs.
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