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Monday, March 27, 2017

Integrative Medicine for MS: an Interview with Dr. Bowling

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When you live with multiple sclerosis you search for ways to manage your disease. You turn to doctors who inevitably prescribe one of the many FDA-approved medications, but sometimes that’s not enough. To complete the picture of seeking better health, you need to also look outside the box of traditional medicine. That’s where integrative medicine comes in.
According to Duke Integrative Medicine, here are the principles of integrative medicine:
  • “The patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process.
  • All factors that influence health, wellness, and disease are taken into consideration, including body, mind, spirit, and community.
  • Providers use all healing sciences to facilitate the body’s innate healing response.
  • Effective interventions that are natural and less invasive are used whenever possible.
  • Good medicine is based in good science. It is inquiry-driven and open to new paradigms.
  • Alongside the concept of treatment, the broader concepts of health promotion and the prevention of illness are paramount.
  • The care is personalized to best address the individual’s unique conditions, needs, and circumstances. Practitioners of integrative medicine exemplify its principles and commit themselves to self-exploration and self-development.”
Sometime after my 1986 diagnosis, I began hearing about a doctor who was not only an internationally renowned neurologist and MS specialist, but also a leading authority on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for MS patients. I was intrigued, so I went to the library to learn more about this fascinating and new (to me) branch of medicine, and also the doctor I was hearing so much about.
His name is Dr. Allen Bowling, and the Colorado-based doctor is spreading the word about CAM for the MS community. His newest book, “Optimal Health with Multiple Sclerosis: A Guide to Integrating Lifestyle, Alternative, and Conventional Medicine,” is based on his decades of research, writing, and caring about the MS community. I use it as a guide for healthy living.  

At the 2016 Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Center’s annual meeting, I attended a symposium focusing on lifestyle factors where Dr. Bowling presented his topic, “Expanding the MS Toolkit: Integrating Lifestyle Factors and Unconventional Medicine Into MS Clinical Care.”  

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