The psychological question in MS is often a touchy issue. However, it shouldn’t be. Everyone has a psychology and every pathology has a psychological aspect. MSers shouldn’t be reduced to a formulaic definition any more than anyone else.
An anecdote. Once a woman arrogantly announced to me that MSers have special psychological problems. I pointed out to her that Homeopathic practitioners believe mental illness to be more serious than physical illness. For example, when my Doctor’s patient was freed of psychosis, he developed Eczema. Insanity’s pathology is considered more profound than a physical disorder. My hint : Maybe her handicap is more psychological than apparent. This shut her up.
Hugo insists on the essential need for psychological transformation in tandem with physical healing. He would agree that there is a tendency for MSers to hope « science » will deliver a « cure » (usually a drug). That one will be transformed, rendered whole again, without personal effort. Unfortunately healing a serious illness isn’t that easy.
Current bias favors a materialistic approach to medicine and healing. Its a germ, a virus or a mysterious imbalance in the immune system against which one must throw an arsenal of chemicals. It's body, body, body without mind.
This was not always so.
For at least 2,500 years Western medicine favored the greco-roman concept of the four temperaments or humours, that four bodily fluids affect human personality, behaviors, and health. This was holistic in approach linking mind and body.
The Greek physician Hippocrates (460 - 370 BC) is regarded as the father of Western medicine.
One of the treatises attributed to Hippocrates, On the Nature of Man, describes the theory as follows: Wikipedia
"The Human body contains blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. These are the things that make up its constitution and cause its pains and health. Health is primarily that state in which these constituent substances are in the correct proportion to each other, both in strength and quantity, and are well mixed. Pain occurs when one of the substances presents either a deficiency or an excess, or is separated in the body and not mixed with others."
The four humors are black bile (melancholic – analytical, wise, quiet), yellow bile (choleric – short tempered, fast or irritable), phlegm (phlegmatic – relaxed and peaceful)), and blood (sanguine – enthusistic, active social).]
The imbalance of humours was thought to be the direct cause of disease whereas a balance of humours brought health. Disease was determined by the nature of the humours.
"Typically "eighteenth-century" practices such as bleeding a sick person or applying hot cups to a person were, in fact, based on the humoral theory of imbalances of fluids (blood and bile in those cases)... Methods of treatment like bloodletting, emetics and purges were aimed at expelling a surfeit of a humor. Other methods used herbs and foods associated with a particular humor to counter symptoms of disease,... Paracelsus further developed the idea that beneficial medical substances could be found in herbs, minerals and various alchemical combinations thereof. These beliefs were the foundation of mainstream Western medicine well into the 1800s." Wikipedia
This theory remained the foundation of Western Medicine until the 1860’s when Pasteur developed the germ theory of disease.
This was the state of Allopathic medicine which the German Doctor Samuel Hahneman, creator of Homeopathy, rejected.
Wikipedia : « Hahnemann was dissatisfied with the state of medicine in his time, and particularly objected to practices such as bloodletting. He claimed that the medicine he had been taught to practice sometimes did the patient more harm than good:
« My sense of duty would not easily allow me to treat the unknown pathological state of my suffering brethren with these unknown medicines. The thought of becoming in this way a murderer or malefactor towards the life of my fellow human beings was most terrible to me, so terrible and disturbing that I wholly gave up my practice…
He postulated the healing principle: "that which can produce a set of symptoms in a healthy individual, can treat a sick individual who is manifesting a similar set of symptoms." This principle, like cures like, became the basis for an approach to medicine which he gave the name homeopathy. He first used the term homeopathy… in 1807. »
One can see, given the barbaric practice of bloodletting, why patients preferred Homeopathic physicians to the bloodletting Allopaths. And the practice proved effective.
Quote from homeopathyplus.com/270/
For example, during the London Cholera outbreak of 1854
« The records collected by Dr MacLouchlin showed that people were more likely to survive if they had been treated by homeopathy rather than with conventional (allopathic) medicine.
Over 10,000 died during the epidemic. The death rate for those treated homeopathically was only 9% compared to 59.2% for those treated by allopathy. »
Medicine changed dramatically through the work of Louis Pasteur and Lister when in the 1860’s the germ theory of disease was validated after 20 long years of denying Ignatius Semmelweis’ observation that Doctors should sterilize their hands before attending to women giving birth. (See the Semmelweis Reflex). In the 1930’s Sulfa antibiotic drugs were made available to treat bacterial infections and by the 1940’s penicillin went on the market which could put an end "like magic" to infections such as strep throat or pneumonia.
This easy success undermined the very successful practice of Homeopathy in the United States. The American Medical Association was founded in the 1840’s specifically to destroy Homeopathy which enjoyed the favor of a population grateful for successful treatments. With the advent of antibiotics the Allopaths were pleased to see the closure of Homeopathic Medical Schools in the USA and to declare themselves victors over Homeopaths even though anti-biotics can’t treat viral infections and many diseases can be successfuly treated with Homeopathy. And today we can see that the Allopaths are still keen on "barbaric' procedures for diseases they consider "incurable" like Multiple Sclerosis.
The psycho-emotional factor in disease and healing crept again into medical discourse when in the 1950’s two cardiologists developed the theory that Type A personalities were more subject to heart disease. Wikipedia « Type A and Type B personality theory describes two contrasting personality types. In this theory, personalities that are more competitive, , outgoing, ambitious, impatient and/or aggressive are labeled Type A, while more relaxed personalities are labeled Type B…this research had a significant effect on the development of the health psychology field, in which psychologists look at how an individual's mental state affects their physical health. …studies have suggested that mental attitudes constitute an important prognostic factor for cancer. As a method of treatment for cancer-prone patients, behavior therapy is used  The patient is taught to express his/her emotions more freely, in a socially acceptable manner, to become autonomous and be able to stand up for his/her rights. Behavior therapy would also teach them how to cope with stress-producing situations more successfully. The effectiveness of therapy in preventing death in cancer and CHD is evident. The statistical data associated with higher death rates is impressive…
From the study above, several conclusions have been made. A relationship between personality and cancer exists, along with alationship between personality and coronary heart disease. ..Personality type acts as a risk factor for diseases and interacts synergistically with other risk factors, such as smoking and heredity. It has been statistically proven that behavior therapy can significantly reduce the likelihood of cancer or coronary heart disease mortality… Studies suggest that both body and mental disease arise from each other. Mental disorders arise from physical causes, and likewise, physical disorders arise from mental causes… »
O.K., the Allopathic Doctors have admitted that psychological states impact the physical condition. Even though the research was restricted to cancer and heart disease, it would be safe to say that emotions impact the physical body.
Shortly after I moved to France spring 1992 I recall reading a study linking life events with diseases such as Cancer and TB. The most grievous life event is death of a spouse followed by divorce. Emigration (separation from one’s home) was high on the list as was lack of friends and family. All of these factors applied to me at the time which doubtless contributed to my failing health. (One example of the deletorious effects of emigration. Irish immigrants to the USA during the potato famine suffered a greater incidence of TB than their countrymen back home even though the former ate and lived better.)
So medical science research recognizes the role of emotional psychological stress in physical disorders for which behavioral therapy has been developed. Since most Doctors and Scientists would see themselves as Type A types, this doubtless made it easier for them to accept Behavior therapy in healing.
I believe a major illness is a call to change. Either one participates in the transformation, or one will be transformed against one's will. I also believe true healing requires a healing partnership. The best healer acts as a faclitator in one's own self transformation, not as a director. The worst thing one can do is act like a passive object on whom an omnipotent Doctor works his "magic".
An alternative healer (naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist, osteopath/kinesiologist, homeopath, acupuncturist ???) who can help one think through the various options can be an important complement to "official" allopathic medical contacts.
That being said, success in finding a healing partner depends largely where one lives. California and the West coast of the USA in general, provide a plethora of talented open minded healers. In France the search may prove difficult. The culture favors a top down master/subject relationship which I faintly don’t trust. As an illustration, currently there are perhaps but 2 Bio-Magnetic practitioners in the Paris region. The lady who has treated me twice refuses to communicate with me. It may be fear of being denounced to the medical authorities. If she lacks confidence in me, how can I have confidence in her or in what she is doing ?
I find Kinesiology to be one of the most promising techniques in healing the physical as well as the psychological at the same time. Using the « Ask the Body » muscle testing technique, one can first determine the most critical issue to address. As taught in the Touch For Health guidebook, the Merdians in Chinese Medicine are linked to specific muscle groups. When the meridiens are « balanced » the muscles are strong. When the Meridien is weak, the corresponding muscles are weak.
So let’s say the very idea of visiting one’s father causes stress which means thinking about it unbalances some meridiens and consequently their corresponding muscles. The therapist determines the main issue, she determines the meridiens/organs concerned, and then asks the patient to think about the issue while she works to balance the meridiens in order to relieve the stress.
This is a rough outline of the technique. Why is this an excellent healing tool ? A psychological « wound » can so stress the individual that he is unable to even approach it much less resolve it. By working on the « physical » to overcome the stress reaction, the patient can begin to live with and resolve the matter. Just talking about it may create such an acute physical resistance that one can’t even touch on it without falling physically ill. (Wikipedia. « It has been statistically proven that behavior therapy can significantly reduce the likelihood of cancer or coronary heart disease mortality. On the contrary, psychoanalysis can increase the likelihood of cancer and coronary heart disease mortality drastically. »)
Jimmy Scott, PhD and creator of Health Kinesiology was my first great healer. He taught seminars in the 1980s worldwide and presumably there are many Kinesiologists who studied under him. Later they may have developed systems of their own. Being highly personal, I don’t believe there is a single system which defines Kinesiology (which may partly explain why it hasn’t gained greater respectability.) I actually think Dr Goiz who developed the BioMagnetic Pair Therapy did so through the « ask the body » technique. Anyway, the idea is sound. Not all practitioners may succeed as well as Dr. Scott did for me.
Classical Homeopathy as developed by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann early 19th Century (see discussion above) is an outstanding therapy which unites the psycho-emotional with the physical. We return to the fundamental concept that though pathogens are ubiquitous they pose a threat only when the emotional defenses are down.
My first foundation remedy was Staphasagria which my Doctor said defines a person who does everything to keep the peace and may end being abused. This defined my role as the elder daughter to a difficult mother. The issue has abated now, but for years when I spoke with my mother, when her attack came I took the Staphysagria to prevent illness (usually a bladder infection, my weak point.) Even if my foundation remedy had changed, I would keep Staphysagria on hand should I be subject to a female attack. Perhaps for the past 2 years my foundation remedy was Pulsatilla. (cries easily, a female remedy) Now I’m not so sure this applies since the bladder irritation is resolving itself and I’m no longer sleepy in the afternoon.
The following link describes the various remedies (not all, there are up to 2,000). This is not to suggest one should treat oneself. A good classical ("uniciste in France) Homeopath is worth her weight in gold.
Sometimes response to a life event calls for another remedy. Ignatia Amara is a classic for grief. In France one keeps Arnica Montana (5CH or 7CH grains) in the medicine cabinet to administer immediately after an accident or shock. I use the Arnica 12CH after dental work and am amazed how well it prevents tooth pain.
The following link illustrates the various factors a Homeopathic Doctor uses to determine the correct remedy and the confluence of physical and psycho-emotional factors which the interview will uncover. Here one finds the ideal model of a healing partnership. The long first interview can prove healing by itself.
Chinese Medicine which is another therapy linking the psychological and physical dates back over 3,000 years. (This is the foundation knowledge behind Touch for Health and perhaps Biomagnetic Pair, and of course Acupuncture).
In this system there are 5 basic elements corresponding to 5 basic personality types.
1. Wood – Liver/Gall Bladder - Spring, Anger, Green, wind, eyes, muscles/sinews, eyes, tears, rancid/sour, wheat/mallow,
2. Fire – Heart/Small Instestine - Pericardium/Triple Warmer - Summer, Joy and Happiness, Red, heat, tongue, blood vessels, eyes, perspiration, scorched/bitter, glutinous millet/coarse greens
3.Earth - Spleen/Stomach - Indian Summer, Sympathy, Yellow, dampness/humidity, taste, flesh, mouth, saliva, fragrant, sweet, millet, scallions.
4. Metal - Lung/Large Intestine - Autumn, Grief, White, dryness (cold), nose, skin and body hair, mucous, rotten, pungent spicy, rice, onions.
5. Water - Kidney/Bladder - Winter, Fear, Blue, cold (dryness), ears, teeth, bones, bone marrow, head hair, genitals, urethra, anus, spittle, putrid, salty, beans and peas, leeks.
I believe water is my characteristic Element, Kidney, Bladder, Winter, Cold, North, Ambition, Strong Will. Fear, Insomnia, Menstrual disorders, Urinary problems, Sensitive to Cold. Bladder – Cystitus, Back trouble, Genital disorders, Spasms in Calf, Paralysis.
However specific crises may trigger another « element ». Cold is said to « injure » the kidneys, grief to « injure » the lungs, anger to « injure » the liver.
Catherine Hollingsworth describes a treatment of an MS Patient thus. (www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=32721)
- « Liver and Kidney yin deficiency causing interior Liver wind
- Liver, Spleen and Kidney qi and yin deficiency, empty heat causing interior wind
- Spleen and Kidney qi and yin deficiency causing accumulation of turbid dampness
- Liver wind agitating within »
I began being treated with acupuncture in San Francisco January 1982 which means I have a patient experience of 35 years. I studied Acupressure at the Berkeley Acupressure Institute 1985-86.
The Bladder Meridian which runs down the back muscles parallel the spine was always treated. Also points on the buttocks. Kidney 3 at the ankle, other Kidney points. Three Yin (Liver, Kidney, Spleen) on the inside of the leg 4 fingers up from the ankle. Liver 3 between the big and second toe.
My Chinese Doctor always used Gall Bladder 34 outside the knee, saying this was the premier MS point. Only this past January was it revealed to me by the Spanish Bio-Magnetic Pair therapist that I had a "bacteria or virus" in the Liver and Gall Bladder. I later pointed out to him that at age 9 I suffered from Mononucleosis as well as Hepatitus. Robert Zivadinov asserts that all MS patients have had Mononucleosis. My Chinese Doctor always treated Gall Bladder 34 as well as Liver points. What connections am I making ? Also, Liver/Gall Bladder belong to the wood element for which anger is the dominant emotion. And writing this I’ve come to realize that I really am very ANGRY.
It’s upon consulting Louise L. Hay’s pamphlet Heal Your Body The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Metaphysical Way to Overcome Them that I became aware of my anger. Better late than never.
In her pamphlet she notes the Problem, Probable Cause followed by New Thought Pattern. One needn't agree with her insights; nonetheless they are food for thought.
As a child I suffered frequently of colds and flus. Since taking the Homeopathic remedy Oscillococcinum I no longer succumb to colds/flus/viruses. Hay refers to a disordered, chaotic home environment as a cause. Too true.
Constipation Since birth. In my opinion this condition was principally caused by allergy / poor diet. She writes of a refusal to let go.
Mononucleosis, age 9 along with Hepatitus. « A pattern of belittling life. Making others wrong. Lots of inner criticism. A habit of playing ‘Aint it awful’ » New thoughts. « I am one with all of life. I see myself in others and I love what I see.I rejoice in being alive. » (Apparently all MSers have suffered Mononucleosis.)
Hepatitus age 9.
INSERT : I forgot about the hepatitus which came with the Mono. And come to think of it, I AM angry, I rage inside and its beginning to come out. Those around me are shocked by the change in me, I am freeing myself. This blog post has just taught me something.
From age 12 Menstrual problems : Reject femininity, flow of life
Bladder Infections begin age 18 with first intercourse. (I believe the real problem is structural which should have been corrected by surgery 50 years ago.) Fear of letting go
Age 22 Endometriosis Female problems. Reject femininity
Age 32 Multiple Sclerosis « Mental hardness, hard heartedness, Iron will, Inflexibilty. Fear. » New Thoughts « By choosing loving, joyous thoughts, I create a loving, joyous world. I am safe and free. » (My note: This describes a Water disorder in the Chinese system.)
Pain: Punishment for Guilt
PMS. Age 33 Reject female body.
As an illustration of how a life event reflects an emotional state. I once fell on my back and broke my sacrum. I looked up that issue in the Louise Hay pamphlet.
Back : Lower. « Fear of money. Lack of financial support. » New Thoughts. "I trust the process of life. All I need is always taken care of. I am safe. »
This expressed EXACTLY my anxiety, I was in a financial panic, fearing the loss of vital support.
Analyzing her insights I see in myself is a tendency to rigidity, a refusal to let go, to relinquish the past, to be transformed, as well as a rejection of life and femaleness. A resistance to change.
This corresponds to my own thinking that Multiple Sclerosis can be defined as the
The Rigidity Disease (April 7, 2013 Blog post)
« I believe MS patients and their Doctors/Therapists struggle under the shadow of the Mythical God Saturn.
What does he represent?
Authority. Career. Profession. Duty. Recognition. Rules. Patriarchy. Doctor. Science.
Hierarchy. Rank. Status. Conformity. Responsibilty. Organization. Order. Orthodoxy, Control. Constriction.
Rigidity. Inflexible. Repression. Limitation. Depression. Negativity. Critical.
Caution. Judgement. Hardship. Security. Safety.
Structure. Skeleton. Bones. Teeth.
Falls. Failure (Success) Fear.
Wisdom. Old Age. Time.
Cold. Crystallization. »
As revealed in my recent blog posts, I believe Progression develops with increasing Rigidity as the body structure is compromised. Fluidity in thinking, feeling, moving would seem a solution. I need to embrace life in its unfolding fullness.
Tags : Multiple Sclerosis, Homeopathy, Kinesiology, Bio-Magnetic Pair, Behavior Therapy, Type A Personality, Chinese Medicine, Samuel Hahneman, Louise Hays,