Thursday

Upcoming Paid Study on Multiple Sclerosis!

If you haven't already signed up for the MS Neighbourhood Research Project you still have time to do so. Check out the detail below

Hey peeps:  Here is an awesome way to say #takeTHATms.   Making money because you have MS!  

  Are you a Canadian living with MS?  




Well, now its time to get paid for it!   Check out this really cool project out of Toronto by Self Care Catalysts.  

Patient empowerment through self care and research

Upcoming Paid Study on Multiple Sclerosis:


We are conducting a study among people with Multiple Sclerosis to understand the impact of their condition on their quality of life and how it impacts their day-to-day decisions making.

Have you been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)? If so, we'd like to invite you to participate in an upcoming paid study on your MS experience.

The study involves completing a 14-day journal about your MS experience, and a confidential phone interview.

You may be eligible to participate if you are:

·       Above the age of 18
·       Have been diagnosed with MS
and MUST live in CANADA

If you are interested Click HERE to participate in this study, please take a few seconds to complete a quick survey

If you have any questions please call 1 844 475 4637 or email us at linda@selfcarecalatalysts.com.


Self Care Catalysts is a patient solutions, intelligence, and analytics company deriving value from patient-centered real world evidence to inform product life cycle management and behavior change interventions.



Our belief is that when patients are informed, respected, and engaged, they make better choices. Better choices mean better health outcomes. Therefore, it is important that patients’ views are well-represented in healthcare through the generation of real world evidence.
Our mission is to promote self-care behaviors among patients, while enabling patients to contribute their behavioral data to support important research across the product lifecycle, such as drug discovery, precision medicine, and development of support services and programs that are specific to the community. 
“Patients will build and own their health data.”
This blog post was sponsored by Self Care Catalysts.  Thank you for making a difference in the MS world!   .   

Tuesday

Interesting Research about Multiple Sclerosis



Oh what a year it has been!  

Here are some great research articles about multiple sclerosis that I wrote for Healthline.com this past year.  Quite a variety and feels good to look back and see how much was accomplished despite fighting relapses all year.  

A healthy lifestyle can and will make a big difference with this disease.  Take time to own it and kick it's ass.  Because it needs kicking.   

All I can say is #takeTHATms.  

Sunday

Massage Benefits MS


Many folks have asked about the benefits of massage for folks with MS.
Bottom line, I prefer spending my money and health on massage than on many of the Western "medicines" created for MS. Which don't seem to be true medicine. They are drugs that cover up the symptoms. So how do we reduce the symptoms and treat MS proactively?



Massage!
Among other ways to live healthy including nutrition, exercise, and spiritual well being, massage is a great physical way to remove toxins from our bodies. Whatever caused our MS or whatever exacerbates it, the one thing we can do is keep our body as clean as possible.
Now this is not always easy. Trust me! Coffee, tobacco, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, fake foods, artificial or fake anything can send MS into a tizzy.
The goal always is to reduce these toxins and increase MS beneficial foods, such as cooling mung beans and detoxing apples.
One thing we can do to remove toxins is to have a massage. And what a treat it is!
Massage seems to help in several areas:
  • Spasticity
  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Poor circulation
  • Mental wellness...ahhhh....
The National MS Society has good information about massage and bodywork therapies click here. Here is the NMSS summary of how massage effects (or not) the course of MS.

"Massage and the underlying disease of MS

While massage can be helpful in relieving stress and inducing relaxation, it has no effect on the course of MS. A 1998 study investigated the effect of massage in people with MS on:
  • relief of anxiety and depression
  • improvement in mood, self-esteem and body image
  • increased ambulation and improved physical and social functioning.
The study used self-reports by the participants and found that, at the end of a five-week period, physical and social activity had improved in the people receiving massage. Those in the massage group also reported a decrease in depression. There was, however, no improvement in grip strength and only marginal improvement in ambulation."
So, keep up the massage and add some strength training or yoga to keep those muscles strong!
Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG.com talks about the benefits of massage on pain in MS sufferers. By reducing pain, massage can help folks become more mobile. Less pain = more movement. Folks withnMS don't want to be in bed. Sometimes we don't have much choice.Massage & Bodyworks Magazine has done their research with regards to MS and massage presenting us with one of the most comprehensive yet simple to digest articles summarizing MS, the disease, along with the benefits of massage. Click here for more. "For the MS patient, a well-being approach for addressing body, mind, and spirit is essential to combating the effects of the disease. Helpful self-care can include a daily routine of tai chi or yoga, meditation, and attention to diet." They get it. They get the disease and seem to understand what we need to feel better. Many therapists, especially in the Northwest where prevalence is higher, jphave numerous MS clients. Crowell is one of them:"With her extensive MS experience, Crowell says she has learned the importance of balance between releasing spasticity and maintaining enough tone for the client to function. "If you relax someone with MS too much, they can’t walk when they get off the table. They use the spasticity to keep them erect." By implementing a reflex response technique, she reduces spasms without decreasing tone. The client is better able to maintain standing balance, and for those who are not ambulatory, core stability is increased so they can sit better. "One of the things people tend to lose is control. You are working with refining the amount of contraction they use with a given movement." Wow! This is some great stuff. A must read for all with multiple sclerosis. Click here for full articleHere is a summary of MS symptoms. All can be helped with the right massage! The American Academy of Neurology talks about the most common massage techniques used for reducing pain in MS patients:Craniosacral massage: Light pressure is applied to the head, neck, and spine to ease tension and compression. This type of massage is not appropriate for people with conditions that could be affected by intracranial pressure changes, such as acute aneurysm, cerebral hemorrhage, or hydrocephaly.Lymphatic massage: Light, rhythmic strokes are used to improve the flow of lymph (a colorless fluid that helps fight infection and disease) and get rid of waste throughout the body. Lymphatic massage is often used to reduce post-surgical swelling and to help heal sports-related injuries.Myofascial release: Pressure and body positioning are used to loosen and stretch the muscles, fascia (connective tissue), and related structures. Both physical therapists and massage therapists who are appropriately trained use this technique.Reflexology: Specialized thumb and finger techniques are applied to reflex points in the hands and/or feet.Shiatsu: Gentle finger and hand pressure are applied to specific points on the body to relieve pain.Swedish massage: A variety of strokes and light-pressure techniques are used to enhance blood flow, remove waste products from tissues, stretch ligaments and tendons, and ease physical and emotional tension.Trigger point massage: Pressure is applied to trigger points (tender areas where the muscles have been damaged or where tension accumulates) to alleviate muscle spasms and pain.One of my favorites? Lymphatic massage...you can feel the toxins being squeegeed out of you! But I love them all. In fact, I'm off to get one now! What's your experience? Pro massage or toss it?

Life with MS

Thank you @positivelivingwithMS and @hanyagordan for this perfect meme. #takethatms



Tuesday

Living life to the Fullest with MS

There are days we are stuck in bed. Or a wheelchair or scooter or a cane. Some days we walk, run, bike and play. Sometimes gravity gets the better of us. Life with MS is not fun. But if we make it fun, then we can say #TakeThatMS!

Attitude is everything. Positive thought can make the difference. As well as learning how to chillax and accept that we have an illness and must take care of our lives as such.
  • Positive attitude. Can't say enough about this.
  • Awareness: meditation and mindfulness
  • Movement: yoga, exercise, tai chi, qigong etc
  • Nutrition: reduce inflammation and other symptoms through food
  • Social media: support groups, friends and family around the world who all understand what we are going through!
  • Peeing in ones pants: it's going to happen so just accept it now and move on.
  • Fatigue: oh dear. I just woke up and now it's bedtime again. How am I to to get through this day?
  • Depression, anxiety: talk to your DR. Use support groups, friends and family
  • Wine: may not be the best for MS physically but mentally can sure help the attitude
  • Learning to relax: it is OK to hold a couch in place with ones body
  • Boundaries: set them. Follow them. Your health comes first!
  • Ask for help: so many of us are Type A. Time to step back a notch.
  • Learn to say No: stressors come in all shapes and sizes. Priorities based on your health and well being are best.
  • Appreciate the little things in life. Stop and smell the roses.
  • Have fun! Pick up new hobbies. Look at life all over again with fresh eyes. Don't wallow in the past.
Here I am fishing once again. Fly fishing is very good on the nerves and when it includes friends, a twenty minute drive and funky Los Angeles surrounds, well, it all makes for a rocking good time! Now granted, I overdid a bit this past week and am feeling it today. It's Saturday and as I planned it, a pretty mellow day.
I'm feeling like the Giant American invasion on my little Philippine friends!

Last night I had a friends party and then a two hour Aromatherapy Yin Yoga workshop at my favorite little yoga studio in Montrose: TheraYogaStudio
Today: a relaxing Saturday with Wall Street Journal, and plenty of lemon-water throughout the day to cleanse this body!

How are you living life to the fullest with MS?

It's all a balancing act. Do more and pay the price. Treat your body right, get a refund on energy.
Right now, I'm treating the body right and restoring and rejuvenating for the week!





Monday

Creating your own health: Using Diet & Nutrition to Treat MS

Probably one of my biggest factors in managing my MS symptoms is the use of diet and nutrition.  During my three years in the double-blind, T-cell study, back in 2001, my hopes were on nutrition and all things alternative.  I willingly went off all DMD in search of a cure for MS.  But then reality set in, and it was all engines forward in the battle of natural ways to fight the progression of this disease.

Sporting my flower peace wreath
There is a lot of incoming research on Diet and MS.  There are also some active clinical trials.

Click this out:  Here is my article on Diet as a treatment for multiple sclerosis.

Diet - or better yet, a nutritional protocol, is essential in my daily battle against MS.  If my daily intake has too much salt, too much caffeine, too much gluten, too many processed foods, then I will pay the price.  And while that price may not be paid that same day, trust you me that it will not forget and will rear its ugly head.  And, more often than not, all of the prices will want to be paid on the same day at the same time, wreaking complete havoc on your life.


Go for color when cooking and creating healthy menus 
Fresh lemon is key!  Use in water, tea, baths, etc.

 #refresh
Click here for my article on Diet as a treatment for multiple sclerosis.

Become friends with your body and find a new level of wellness.  

Welcome to living with multiple sclerosis.   As you know it often does not bode well for us MS patients.  Out diseases are random and progress willy nilly.  But there are modifiable risk factors that we can take into consideration to help us strive for the best life possible despite's our illness.  These risk factors include cigarette smoke, alcohol, nutrition, supplement intake, exercise, and other situations that we have control over.
~if need be - pee on it and walk away~

Cig smoking is bad.  Bottomline, cut it out.  Alcohol is considered OK in moderation.  Consult with your neurologist or medical expert.  Often people find that Vitamin D, B12 and Biotin can all be beneficial supplements.  In addition, the nrf2 activator, Protandim, is found to be great at fighting oxidative stress.

So, that brings us to Diet, or nutritional protocol.   Everyone is different so finding a protocol that works best for you is key.
Gluten free bread is an option.
Here it is paired with home-made soup and fresh salmon salad.
One person who is making a difference with diet and MS is Dr. Terry Wahls and her Wahl's Protocol. I had the great fortune of speaking with Dr. Wahls a few weeks ago for an article I was writing for Healthline.com - "Diet as a possible treatment for MS".   And wow!   So much great information going on with diet and MS.

The Wahl's Protocol is a modified paleolithic diet.  More about it click here. For those who do not know, Dr. Wahls has made diet a form of treatment for progressive MS.  Thank you Dr. Wahls!   I have been following and almost identical diet based on my own experience for over 15 years.  It is the number 1 "go to" when things are going bad with my MS.

And if you don't have fresh flowers, the fake ones are fun too!

First, I ask myself:  How is my diet?  Where am I going wrong?   And most of the time, this usually fixes it for m!   Like I say, everyone is different.  This is one reason I love the Wahl's Protocol - as it suggests elimination type diets to see what you personally are sensitive to and this is BIG!

Here is my article on Diet as a treatment for multiple sclerosis.

Here are some food common sensitivities:

Processed foods
Salt
Gluten
Red meat
Simple carbs
Sugar
Sodas
Diet anything / excitotoxins or NaStY for MS
Dairy....

FYI - I eat dairy.  Cheese.  I tried to take it out of my diet once and my boss told me to add it back as the rest of the staff was complaining about my horrid mood.  That was near 30 years ago and I haven't tried to remove it since~  I don't eat a lot of it but like it now and then.   I will willingly cut everything else out, before the cheese~

Lately I haven't been able to eat much meat.  My body, probably due to the warm summer months, is craving cooling salads and fresh fruit.  Unfortunately I like beer, especially in the summer months.  It's not the alcohol that bothers me but rather the carbs and gluten.  Talk about a weight gainer!  And then if I add bread....Oh dear save me.

Last winter I made the mistake of letting way too much beer, bread and gluten get into my diet.  Showing no restraint at all for about six months eventually led to a 15 pound weight gain, horrid dry skin and then the dreaded MS relapse!   Ugh.

My vertigo and vision got so bad that driving was out of the question...even just to a friends house.  Lethargic and inflamed my life consisted of laying in bed and "trying" to motivate.  Oh how I hate this feeling!   My skin was dry and eczema appeared all over.  Hair loss was abundant and my breath was so bad it even grossed me out.   What have I done?  So healthy last summer and then wowza, what a defeat brought on by my own weaknesses.

Time to make a change!

Feeling the summer spirit, light and fresh!
Nothing huge at first, just cut the carbs back down to no more than 10% of diet or so.  Eliminated processed foods again and removed gluten for the most part.  A little now and then does not bother me.  But a six pack of beer and loaf of bread is not considered moderation.   That's OK, the change feels good.

Back to juicing and healthy eating.  Beautiful summer produce combined with beans and grains cooked fresh are making the table.  Herbs from the garden and cheeses and meats from local farmers inspire this cook to create.


Some of recipes for your enjoyment:

Anti-inflammatory Rice Pudding

Obsessive Gaspacho 

Juice Recipes

Chia Pudding


Words of Advice:

Try different diets.  Work with nutritionists who understand MS and the different trending diets.  This is your health - it is your body.  Do not try whack-doodle eating schemes.  Try stuff that has worked for others, the key word being "try".  Give yourself a chance with different foods and see what you might be sensitive to.  Everyone is different!  

Add color and energy throughout your house with fresh flowers.
Here is my article on Diet as a treatment for multiple sclerosis.

Sunday

Be the Reason Someone Feels Better Today - and make a few bucks!

UPDATE:   5 more spots just opened up.  Want to join us with this educational video program?

INSPIRATION


"Be the reason someone
feels better today"  

 

You may remember when we filmed some special sessions last winter with Joe?  Well, things are changing and Joe is once again looking for our experience to provide helpful videos for people interested in learning more about MS for his new project: MedQandA. 

 

Want to Help Others
AND make a little money?   



Interviews takes about 60 mins.  Compensation: $50.  

I have a number of available interview slots so let me know if you would like to check it out. It's quite easy.  Over the computer we use special software to chat about life with MS.  There are about 20 questions. Then, when we are done, a nice person comes in and edits all the bleeps and blunders out and voila! A beautiful, informational video of you sharing your thoughts on MS is created and will be available for anyone wanting more information about this illness. 

If Interested or would like more information, please email me at thegirlwithms@gmail.com with "interview" in subject matter.   Or click here to fill out a contact form.

Interviews start next week! 

Looking forward to chatting more about this opportunity.

Caroline
818-585-5660  

Thursday

Essential Oils and Multiple Sclerosis

What is multiple sclerosis and how might essential oils help?
(I am not a medical professional - these are just my thoughts and those of others) 


According to the National MS Society:
"Multiple sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. The exact antigen — or target that the immune cells are sensitized to attack — remains unknown, which is why MS is considered by many experts to be "immune-mediated" rather than "autoimmune."

And we know MS as being a royal pain the rear. So how can we learn to live just a bit better?  Because sometimes it just takes a "bit"!

With this in mind, it's time to try some natural solutions that might help calm the autoimmune response and find overall health in the body, mind and soul. Time for essential oils!

I have had positive results using several oils for everything from sleep, nervousness to clearer breathing and wanting more energy. I have found better living through essential oils. Quality of essential oils is a must. The highest quality insures the safest and most effective way to use essential oils whether it's ingested or used topically.



The beginning is always the toughest. Taking that first step. Well, I did and I am not looking back! Essential oils are helping me manage my MS so I can live better. There is a lot to learn about which oils might help you for which MS symptom.

Time to change your medicine cabinet!
I am excited about continuing to change my medicine cabinet! Essential oils can help with many issues, medical, mental or physical. I started with the Oil solution for allergies, asthma and it sold me!
One inhale and ten times better.

In learning more about essential oils and multiple sclerosis I came across the following protocol for possibly helping with MS:

I found the following protocol on the internet years ago. This is NOT my protocol but I followed it for a bit (7 days) and found it helpful.  Every time

Please remember:  I am not a medical professional and do not make recommendations just suggestions that you might want to check out further.  Sometimes you got to try everything to see what works for you.

a possible MS protocol with essential oils - 

While each person presents a unique health situation, I recommend that protocol for each is customized to match their healing requirements. A general rule of thumb for managing multiple sclerosis is to reduce inflammation, sooth nerves, provide a calm energy, provide comfort to aches and pains, and to enliven those numb and tingling areas.  With this in mind here is a general Protocol for multiple sclerosis using essential oils, adapted from a variety of sites and personal experience:

Essential Oil Users Have Found The Following To Assist In Multiple Sclerosis Support:

The Life Long Vitality supplements are suggested by some.

Initial Cleanse

Depending upon health of patient, start with the GX Assist and the PB Assist in a protocol of 10 days GX, 5 days PB, wait 10 days and repeat, wait 10 days and repeat. Do this quarterly. This is a cleanse specifically designed for auto immune disease.


Drop 2-3 drops of Frankincense under the tongue 4 times a day for two weeks.


Ongoing Support:

Continue the Lifelong Vitality supplements

Morning: Topically apply Peppermint to the bottoms of the feet, take internally, and diffuse.

During the day: add 1-3 drops of Lemon to each glass of water. (drink lots of water-use glass containers ONLY)   and ONLY if FRESh lemon is not available (fresh is always best!) 

Evening: Topically apply Frankincense to the bottoms of the feet, take internally, and diffuse.

Make a mix of following MS recipe:

· 10 drops Helichrysum

· 10 drops Frankincense

· 10 drops Sandalwood

· 5 drops Basil

· 3 drops Peppermint

Rub 1-3 drops of the MS recipe on brain reflexology points, the forehead, temples and mastoids (just behind the ears) and massage 6-8 drops of oil blend from the base of the skull down the spine

-I personally do not take essential oils internally.  Everyone is different.  Do what you want and feel best for you.  Diffusing and topical application seem to work just great for m!  

Additional Ideas:

Other ideas (Listen to your body, it will tell you what you need). Consider the following for their benefits:

· If a flare up or an exacerbation occurs layer (topically apply one oil after another with 1 to 5 minutes between) Peppermint and Frankincense on the bottoms of the feet and/or the affected area.
· If discouraged diffuse Citrus Bliss or other uplifting oils.

· To prevent picking up a infectious disease (that might trigger an exacerbation) diffuse OnGuard or Purify regularly. Rub OnGuard on the feet nightly.

============

Also consider these oils in supplemental ways:

· Helichrysum – strong regenerative properties for nerve tissue

· Sandalwood – similar properties as frankincense (antibacterial, antiviral, soothing)

· Clove – one of the strongest agents to kill pathogens


 I had never heard of helichrysum before. (I have helichrysum on order!) it's part of the daisy family, asteraceae. I will check it out more on this oil. Looks promising!

There are many benefits to using essential oils for holistic health and wellness. Any time we can find alternative ways to reach a healthy life, it's worth it!

It's time to be aware of what we put in our bodies.  And while essential oils are not medicine nor will they "heal" your MS, there are oils that can help some of the symptoms seem not so bad.

Other favorites of mine: 

Leg cramps:  lemon grass, basil
Sleeping issues:  lavender, cedar wood, serenity
Nerve pain:  aroma touch, past tense.

What are some of your favorites?



Win a FREE Cooling Headband from CoolTure

Many of you have seen me sporting one of my Coolture Cooling Headbands.   These are one of my absolute favorites to have with me.  They're small and can fit in a purse or small bag.  SO, we are giving one away!

This is an EASY Contest to enter - but the award is quite valuable.

Yes, you could just go to the website and purchase one - especially right now as they are on sale.  And the colors and options are so plentiful!



But wouldn't it be more cool to actually take a picture of you saying #TakeTHATms!

Share it socially and follow @CooltureUSA. That's it and you automatically enter to win a FREE one of these cooling headbands.


In the meantime - let us know what color and pattern you like best:


Here I am sporting my turquoise bandana headband: 




So...How do you say #takeTHATms?  

Winner will be randomly drawn on August 31.  



Tuesday

Surviving Summer

Today is the first day of school for many students.  Wow do they start early!  For us it was always after Labor Day.  To start when temperatures can still reach 100F is not a pleasant thought.  What's worse is that the parents doing all the driving and cooking may have MS.  And, if that's the case, then that can be doubly difficult.

For us in Southern California the summer heat can easily stretch through to the beginning of October.  Usually by the middle of the month we are free and clear of 100F days.  But it's only August 14, so we have at least another six weeks of summer in these parts.

Here are some suggestions to help us all survive that last warm weeks of summer:

EATING RIGHT:  SUPERHERO SALAD

Cook light, healthy and with efficiency.  High protein and lots of produce can help make the summer more tolerable.  Another trick is the use of some key ingredients such as apple cider vinegar and nutritional yeast.   This dressing is one of my favorites and shared on MangoHealth.com.


"What is best for anyone with a compromised health system is to eat with efficiency. For folks living with MS in the summer heat, this means foods rich in minerals and nutrients, anti-inflammatory foods, and those with cooling or neutral energies." 


KEEPING YOUR COOL:  RITUALS FOR SUMMER


Read this article for tricks that will help you stay calm and relaxed throughout the day while still taking advantage of the long hours. Select the rituals that feel right for you, then create daily habits of them to make the most of your summer.

If the heat is too much - than stay in side and play some video games.  Some of them are actually quite good for us!
Click here to read the which video games can help.  

More articles by Caroline Craven on MangoHealth.com:


How do you say #takethatMS in the summer?