PEMF and FIR therapies can help reduce Multiple Sclerosis symptoms including fatigue, pain, depression and more!
What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?
Multiple sclerosis is a debilitating neurological condition that affects more than 2.8 million people worldwide. It is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the protective covering (myelin) of nerve cells. This slows down communication between the brain and the rest of the body, and can lead to permanent nerve damage. Some people with MS may experience frequent and sometimes painful nerve sensations and experience severe mobility and vision issues.
While there is no cure for MS yet, there are treatments available that can help lessen its impact. There are also several lifestyle habits you can create to help reduce some of its debilitating symptoms. One simple (and relaxing) well-being habit you can add to your daily routine is to incorporate pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) or far infrared (FIR) therapy. But first, in order to understand how best alleviate your MS symptoms, it may help to understand what exactly MS does to your body.
The Cause and Symptoms of MS.
The cause of MS is still unknown, but it is thought to be triggered by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. There are many possible risk factors for MS, including age, gender, ethnicity, and family history. However, the most significant factor appears to be geography. People who live in countries with temperate climates are more likely to develop MS than those who live in tropical or arctic regions. This may be due to the differences in exposure to ultraviolet light, which aids in the body’s natural production of vitamin D. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests vitamin D may play a role in preventing MS symptoms, because of its ability to support healthy immune function.
People who develop MS often experience their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40
years old. Some people may experience one symptom briefly, then experience no other symptoms for weeks or years. Other people may experience increasing and worsening symptoms within weeks or months of onset. While everyone experiences MS differently, some typical symptoms include:
- Unusual physical sensations (burning, itching, tearing or stabbing pains)
- Muscle spasms
- Problems with eyesight, including sudden blindness
- Speech problems
- Bladder and bowel issues
- Clumsiness or trouble walking
The 4 Types of MS.
It can be hard to predict the course of MS for each individual. Generally speaking, there are four ways that MS typically presents and progresses:
- Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS)
Relapsing-Remitting MS is the most common type of MS. It consists of symptom flares followed by a full or partial recovery. The condition remains mostly stable over time.
- Progressive-Relapsing MS (PRMS)
In this type of MS, people experience a gradual worsening of symptoms over time, but with clear periods of flare-ups along the way.
- Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS)
Of those initially diagnosed with RRMS, 50% will develop SPMS in 10 years and 90% will develop PPMS within 25 years.
- Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS)
Only affecting about 10% of cases, this type of MS has a gradual worsening of symptoms from the onset. The symptoms do not flare up with periods of remission, but rather, steadily progress toward further disability.
What Treatments are Currently Available?
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS), as the disease affects each person differently. However, there are a number of FDA-approved medications that can help to manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. The most common type of MS medications (Avonex®, Rebif®, Betaferon®, Extavia® and Copaxone®) are disease-modifying therapies, which helps to reduce nerve damage and inflammation.
There are also a number of treatments available to help manage symptoms, such as pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants. In addition, physical therapy, massage, and exercise can help to improve flexibility and reduce fatigue. While there is no cure for MS, with the right treatment plan, many people with the disease are able to live long, active lives.
How PEMF Helps in the Management of MS Symptoms.
As MS is a chronic condition with no cure, the comfort and quality of life for those who live with the disease often relies on symptom management. The disease impacts nerve cells throughout the brain and body, and as an autoimmune and nervous system disease, it can impact a person physically, mentally and emotionally. Fortunately, because PEMF therapy also impacts nerve cells it can provide relief to both physical and cognitive, and emotional symptoms.
PEMF therapy uses magnetic fields to stimulate cell repair and regeneration, which can help to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and improve nerve function. On a cellular level, one thing that the magnetic fields do is trigger action potentials within the cell membranes. This shift in ions leads to reactions that protect cells from damage and decrease pro-inflammatory interleukin proteins.
Because of the regenerative and anti-inflammatory effects of PEMF therapy, users with MS often report improved energy levels, mood, and overall well-being.
Research on PEMF Therapy for MS Treatment.
Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy uses magnetic fields to encourage healing and reduce pain. PEMFs are created by passing an electrical current through a coil, which produces a magnetic field. When this magnetic field is applied to the body, it can help to stimulate cell regeneration, improve circulation, and reduce inflammation. A growing body of research has explored the potential of PEMF therapy for treating MS. Studies have shown that PEMF therapy can help to reduce inflammation and improve nerve function in people with MS.
In one study, participants who received PEMF therapy twice daily for four weeks showed significant improvements in their symptoms (including fatigue, bladder control, spasticity, and overall quality of life). While more research is needed to confirm the efficacy of PEMF therapy for treating MS, it shows promise as a potential treatment option.
Can Far Infrared Therapy be used to Treat MS Symptoms?
Far infrared (FIR) mats send a gentle, soothing heat deep into the body’s tissues. Through heating muscles and connective tissue, the user experiences a reduction in soreness and muscle spasms. The radiant heat also causes a rapid reduction in swelling, inflammation, and pain.
It is important, however, that those with heat-sensitive MS approach FIR use differently to the average user, as sudden increases in body temperature can aggravate symptoms in some people.
If you are unsure whether you have heat-sensitive MS, try putting your FIR mat on the lowest heat setting first, starting with short durations and build up from there to see whether far infrared heat soothes or amplifies your symptoms. If you find that FIR heat is not compatible with your type of MS, you can still benefit from PEMF therapy at any setting and for any length of use without issue. In any case, prior to using your FIR therapy mat, be sure to stay well hydrated for optimal comfort and best results.
Research on FIR for Treating MS Symptoms.
In clinical studies, FIR has been proven to improve mitochondrial function, produce anti inflammatory effects, and even improve immunity.
Current research on FIR use for MS patients is investigating how far infrared light may be used to protect nerve cells by altering the mitochondria (the power plants of the cells). This can help to shift the tide of oxidative stress and inflammation that is so common in MS sufferers. In laboratory settings, infrared lights also appear promising for reducing cytokines, proteins that, in MS, signal the body’s T-cells to attack healthy nerve cells.
Other studies have shown FIR to be an effective treatment for other conditions and symptoms common in MS, including back pain and muscle pain.
7 Quick Tops for Managing Your MS Symptoms Effectively:
- Exercise regularly to improve your overall health and manage MS symptoms.
Multiple studies have shown that exercise can be effective in reducing fatigue, improving mobility, and reducing feelings of depression and anxiety in people with MS. In addition, exercise has been shown to help improve cognition and reduce the risk of developing new MS lesions. While any type of exercise is beneficial, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and strength training are particularly effective in reducing symptoms.
- Practice positive self-talk: research shows that a positive attitude can help reduce MS symptoms.
One study found that people with MS who had a positive attitude were more likely to stick to their treatment plans and experienced fewer relapses than those who did not have a positive outlook. In addition, positive thinking has been shown to help improve mental and physical health, reduce stress levels, and boost the immune system. While it is important to be realistic about the challenges of living with MS, maintaining a positive outlook can make a meaningful difference in managing the condition.
- Make sure you’re getting enough rest and relaxation; stress can aggravate MS symptoms.
People with MS who engage in regular physical activity experience fewer relapses than those who did not exercise. However, one study also found that people who exercised too much were more likely to experience relapses. This suggests that rest is important for people with MS, as it helps to prevent further damage to the nerves and allows the body to repair itself. For this reason, it is also important to aim for an average of 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
A healthy diet is an important part of managing multiple sclerosis (MS). There are no specific foods that are known to prevent MS, but certain nutrients may help to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of flare-ups. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is thought to be beneficial, as these foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids are believed to play a role in reducing inflammation, so foods like fish, nuts, and seeds may also be helpful.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol; both can worsen MS symptoms.
Alcohol consumption can worsen symptoms while cigarettes contain toxins that can damage the nervous system. There are many reasons to avoid both of these substances, but here are just a few:
- Smoking and drinking can both worsen fatigue.
- They can interfere with medication and make it less effective.
- They can lead to weight gain, which can in turn worsen MS symptoms. • They can cause or worsen depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
- Use heat or cold therapy to relieve pain and stiffness.
Cold therapy works by numbing the nerves and reducing inflammation. This can help to temporarily relieve pain and swelling. Heat therapy, on the other hand, increases blood flow to help reduce pain and muscle spasms, as well as promote tissue healing. Both heat and cold
therapy can be used safely in combination with other treatments. Refer to the section on treating MS with FIR for how to approach heat treatments safely.
- Take a few minutes to relax on a PEMF, FIR, or combination mat daily to help ease symptoms.
As someone with MS, it’s important for you to take regular time out of your day to rest. By simply spending that time on a PEMF or FIR mat, you may be helping your body to feel less pain, feel less fatigued, and move more freely.