b'Medicine & ResearchTTrraaddiittiioonnaallaannddCCoommpplleemmeennttaarryyMMeeddiicciinnee::WWoorrkkiinnggTTooggeetthheerrExploring alternative perspectives can be key to overall healthBy Dr. James Bowen and Dr. Marco VespignaniTraditionalmedicinehasmadegreat EExxpplloorriinnggddiieerreennttppeerrssppeeccttiivveessstrides in treating multiple sclerosis. In less The diagnosis of MS, a chronic progressivethan three decades we have gone from no condition, is dicult for anyone to receive. Intreatments to nearly two dozen, all proven to many cases, a CAM practitioner meets a patientslow the course of MS in well-designed clinical shortly after their diagnosis, when they arestudies. However, there are many other aspects overwhelmed by both the diagnosis and theof caring for people with MS, including generalhealth, lifestyle changes, emotional health, and possibility of relapsing or progressive symptomsmaintaining connections to their community. that come with time. Patients hope a CAMClinical studies are rarely done to address these provider may provide some new perspectiveaspects of care, and traditional practitioners their traditional provider did not see or explore.often do not have the time or training to give While CAM providers can often provide newguidance on these issues. Furthermore, patients tools to improve the health of a person withand traditional medicine practitioners often MS, this hope, fear, and anxiety can also exposehave greatly dierent views of the importance patientstofalseanddangerousclaimsofand methods of addressing these aspects of cures. Look for a CAM provider who iscare.Thesedierentviewscouldevenbe trained in the traditional diagnosis andviewed as a dierent culture, with dierent pathogenesis of disease. This provider can bebelief systems about the cause of disease and a strong ally, working with your traditionaldierent beliefs about treatments. medical practitioner to achieve the bestWhen treating persons from different results for your health.medical cultures, it is important for thetraditional medicine practitioner to understand Disease-modifyingtherapiesslowthethe patients beliefs about causes and treatments course of MS. Because people with MS canof their disease. It is often helpful to enlist have long periods of remission, they maysomeone from within that belief system to become nonadherent to DMTs or limit theirhelp. This is where a complementary and neurology follow-up care. CAM providers mayalternative medicine practitioner comes in. be an important point of contact for peopleCAM practitioners may help people with MS in this situation, helping provide risk-benetunderstand their medical condition and care counseling for traditional treatments. Theythrough the lens of their belief system. They may also implement antioxidants and anti-can support traditional healthcare practitioners inammatory approaches used in CAM therapy.treatments and testing. They are often able toprovide more frequent and longer appointments Nutrition approaches may include highrequired for people with MS. phytonutrient intake or eating brightly coloredmsfocusmagazine.org 22'