The use of Acupuncture for Multiple Sclerosis has helped some people treat some symptoms of their disease.  But the emphasis should probably be on the word some.  There is nothing much more than anecdotal evidence to suggest acupuncture for MS is of any lasting benefit.

Acupuncture is one of the forms of Chinese medicine and it is based on the idea that the body functions involves the flow of energy, known as qi (pronounce chee). This theory is that the energy goes through 14 pathways called meridians.  According to the Chinese medicine, disease is the result of an imbalance in the flow of energy, or a disruption of it. And this imbalance disrupts the optimal balance between the opposite forces of “yin” and “yang”.  Using acupuncture for multiple sclerosis is thought to bring balance back to this yin and yang.

It involves the stimulation of locations on the skin that are mapped out and identified, by sticking thin disposable needles along these meridians to alter the energy flow. There are variations of using a needle, like finger pressure, which is called acupressure. There are about 400 acupuncture points in the body and usually between 4 to 12 of them are stimulated in any single session. A minimum of 6 to 10 sessions are recommended to see if acupuncture for Multiple Sclerosis might work for a patient.


So how is Acupuncture for MS practiced?


It is thought that a higher percentage of MS patients try acupuncture than the general population. According to two different surveys, between 20-25% of the participants reported they had tried acupuncture for MS symptom relief. The most common symptoms acupuncture for MS was used for are pain relief, numbness, spasticity, tingling, depression, fatigue, and bowel or bladder problems. Of the patients trying acupuncture for MS, about 10-15% said they planned to continue. One would have to assume they are continuing because it helps for some reason. But if you look at those statistics, about half do not plan to continue. And to date, there are no controlled clinical trials that can be used to evaluate either the efficacy or the safety of using acupuncture for multiple sclerosis.


Are there any risks?


It is generally agreed that the treatment is safe and has little or no side effects as long as sterile precautions are observed. If you use acupuncture and find it helpful, by all means continue. But it is advisable that it be used in conjunction with other conventional or alternative treatments. Acupuncture for MS should not be used as a substitute for other treatment and you should let your doctor know what you are doing.