Multiple Sclerosis ("MS") is a progressive disease of the central nervous system, affecting and distorting signals to and from the brain, spinal cord and the body. It can affect gait, vision, digestion, motor skills with a myriad of other disturbing symptoms. When the body and brain goes haywire, it affects everything from stress to sleep to pain to fatigue to general body function. There is an overwhelming desire to do anything to make it go away.
If you or someone you know suffers from multiple sclerosis, they are likely taking one or a combination of medications to suppress the immune system from attacking itself. The current hypothesis from the medical community is that MS is influenced by an overactive immune system and the best approach is to modulate immunity. Yet this approach has implications in itself. The decision to take immunosuppressive medications is a personal one and influenced by many factors. Yet, when you are numb, full of brain fog and fatigue, the promise of a new drug is inviting.
In March 2018, the MS drug, Zinbryta, was pulled from both the US and European market due to a possible connection to serious liver and brain complications. This only brings to light the dark side of new miracle medications and highlights the necessity to also consider diet and lifestyle options in addition to just taking medicine.
Lifestyle medicine is a new concept that takes into account controlling systemic inflammation and controlling the stress response. In this emerging brand of new age medicine, floatation therapy is showing promise on many levels that can be of value to someone suffering from MS.
Here are five ways in which Floatation therapy can help multiple sclerosis:
1. Floating helps MS by reducing inflammation, pain and muscle soreness. It does so in a few ways. First, through the absorption of Magnesium. Floating is done in 10” of water (about 175 gallons) saturated with 1000 pounds of Epsom Salt, or Magnesium Sulfate salt. Research has continued to determine the qualitative and quantitative effects of Magnesium absorption through the skin. Magnesium has been clearly identified as a lacking and deficient nutrient in our bodies. Magnesium is a key ingredient in many key processes from musculoskeletal, to neurologic, to cardiovascular to digestive, and more.
2. Floating helps MS by lowering blood pressure while reducing cortisol and adrenaline output. Feedback mechanisms in the brain respond to the state of relaxation that occurs during floating, which leads to reduced blood pressure and reduced adrenal burnout though minimizing the secretion of stress hormones.
3. Floating helps MS further by reducing stress through increasing the output of “happy hormones”. Research has demonstrated that floatation therapy elevates the secretions of both serotonin and dopamine.
4. Floating improves sleep. People with MS often have sleep issues. When you don’t sleep well, you don’t heal well and this distorts the immune system even further. While floating, you enter various stages of sleep and associated brainwaves, which helps the brain to rewire and repair, otherwise known as neuroplasticity.
5. Floating helps MS by enabling activity. Often, when you are weak and fatigued, your brain and body do not want to be active. It is easier to be sedentary. Yet, we all know that if you don’t use it, you lose it. Through the stress management, muscle relaxation, and restfulness of a float, it enables you to do that yoga class, swim those laps, take that walk, prepare that report. In short, for those with MS, floatation therapy leverages everything.