TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator
which is sold to deliver small electrical impulses via electrode pads placed on the skin to ease pain. However, I
use it to stimulate acupuncture points (Acupressure) to open blood and
cerebrospinal fluid flow through the Central Nervous System. I use a
small 9 volt battery powered apparatus (3.5¨ x 2.5¨or 9 cm x 6.5 cm).
It has 2 controls linked to 2 leads which branch into 2 pads each, thereby
giving the possibility of stimulating a total of 4 acupuncture points at a
time. It can be purchased on the Internet in the US for about $50. I
ordered one from England summer 2010 which was a bit more expensive. (You have
to buy a supply of pads as well which come in packages of 4. The
pads are adhesive. Eventually they stop adhering so I use tape for a while
to extend their use longer.)
I was certified as an Acupressure Massage Therapist by the Berkeley Acupressure Institute in 1987. I
began receiving Acupuncture treatments by a Chinese trained Doctor in San
Francisco in January 1981. I’ve continued getting Acupuncture treatments ever
since, now about once a month. After I began to learn the Acupuncture meridians
and points, I could identify them when the Acupuncturist was applying the
needles. I therefore have nearly 32 years experience as an Acupuncture patient,
and 26 years as a therapist (for family and friends), which is to say I have a good idea of what works
for an MS patient (in this case me).
In the late 1980’s my San Francisco Chiropractor, aware of my knowledge of acupuncture points, recommended
I treat myself with a TENS and ordered it for me since at the time it was
considered a medical device unavailable to the general public. Subsequently
I ordered new pads from her as the old ones wore out as well as extra wire
leads. After moving to France spring 1992, I renewed my stock when visiting the Bay Area. Unfortunately May
1993 I listened to a Parisian Acupuncture Doctor who discouraged me by saying
the Tens wasn’t effective. Why did I listen to that jerk, he wasn’t even a
good Acupuncturist? I was using the TENS mostly to treat urinary tract
infections and was frustrated I could use only 4 pads at a time since I was
attempting a more complicated Acupressure treatment than was necessary. After
1997 I couldn’t renew my stock of pads and basically stopped all treatments. How
I regret having done so.
When in August 2010 I read on Daily Kos about CCSVI Liberation Therapy, I immediately ordered a TENS
machine with a supply of pads from England. I had learned that a neck/back
massage moving the blood towards the heart could stop an MS attack. Then
one evening while alone I could feel all the warning signs of an MS
attack. I performed a TENS self acupressure treatment which relaxed me
slightly but I was still worried about what the next day would bring. Well, the
next day, the “attack” was gone. Just stopped in its tracks. That never
happens without treatment. In fact once the MS process begins the stress feeds
on itself, stress triggers it off and then the anxiety exacerbates it. In
the past I could stop an MS relapse by getting an acupuncture treatment, but
getting to the Doctor can be complicated, take time, and the delay means some
nerve damage. I had no idea I myself could stop the attack before it takes hold
and does damage.
Recently the TENS again proved its usefulness. For years I’ve been awakened about 3 a.m. with a pain
running down the outside of my “good” left leg. I know this to be the gall
bladder meridian that must be “blocked”, hence the pain. One night I was
overwrought, could feel my legs freeze up, knew that the blood must be surging
back into the CNS, couldn’t sleep. So I got up and did the TENS treatment I’ll
now describe. The pain in my leg gradually subsided, I relaxed and could finally
go to sleep. (I have no idea how this corresponds to the nervous system. I know
what the pain means in terms of Chinese medicine and how to treat it, so I’ll
just be satisfied with that.)
The basic principle is to balance 2 Yin points with 2 Yang points. The Yin Organs "nourish", the Yang
"protect". One can consult the Acupuncture meridians on the internet at YinYangHouse.com.
My original self treatment should be of use to every MS patient. I start with Spleen 6 which is a powerful Yin point. Called the 3 Yin it is the intersection of 3 Yin meridians - the Liver, Spleen and Kidney/Adrenals.
(Warning – Don’t use needles or “moxa” on a pregnant woman. It’s
good when giving birth.) The Spleen meridian runs up the INSIDE of the leg.
I place 4 fingers at the top of the ankle bone along the leg bone, at the last
finger I press into the leg to find a sensitive point, that's it. I
place a pad over this point. Then I find the Yang Gall Bladder 34. I find
the small bone on the outside of the knee. I press just below, slightly inside,
this bone, (when an acupuncture needle is used one can feel an electric impluse
down to the ankle.) I place a pad over this point on the same leg
as the Spleen 6. I then do the same thing on the other leg with the second lead
Again I slowly turn on the "wheel" controls of the TENS unit to
feel the electric impulses.
Drop Foot: If you increase the electric impulse on Gall Bladder 34 it will stimulate the "releveur" muscle and
lift up the foot. This is the "drop foot" muscle and if I had known this I would have tried to keep this muscle
working on my right side. (The muscle still works as a reflex, but I
can't make it work. Maybe continued stimulation will revive it, but at any
rate I will do everything to avoid losing the left side.)
As an alternative Yang point I place the pad in the middle of the back of the knee which is Urinary
Bladder 40, thinking this will open circulation from the spine. However, it can cramp the calves, so I go slowly.
In addition I now work the upper back point to open fluid circulation from the brain. I place a
pad where the outside of neck meets the shoulder in line with the nipple,
slightly below the top of the shoulder. This is Gall Bladder 21 "Shoulder Well".
(Acupressure points are sensitive so I poke around until I've found the
point.) This Gall Bladder point "clears up" my head and I'm convinced it opens
the blood flow from the head. For the complementary Yin point I use
Spleen 10 which is found about 3 fingers up from the knee on the middle of the
inside thigh. (An alternative would be Liver 9 found one third up the
inside of the thigh between the muscles.) Again, these will be very
sensitive points. I place the pads from the lead on one side and then repeat the
process on the other. Now I slowly turn on the "wheel" controls of the TENS
unit to feel the electric impulses. (I don't touch the pads with my
fingers when the unit is "on", the finger tips are very sensitive.) I get
immediate relief with the upper back points. Also, if I start to have
an "attack", this will stop it. Sometimes I'm not really aware that an attack
has stopped, but by next morning the symptoms are gone.
I don't know how effective this self-treatment will be for others. Since I now believe my
first known MS attack struck the upper spinal cord, it may be the upper back
GB21 point may be more effective for me than others. The GB34 knee point has
almost ALWAYS been used in my Acupuncture treatments so I believe it should be
of use to everyone.
These treatments have changed my life. I used to live in dread of a breakdown. I can now control the
stress and prevent “attacks”.
One observation. I just looked up Tens Acupressure on Amazon to find it has become all the rage. Even 3
years ago I don’t think there was the choice of TENS that exists today and
previously they were sold for pain treatment, not for Acupressure. Also one can
buy an Acupuncture point “pen” which lights up when the point has been detected.
Books are also available. There is no need to pay more than $100 (even $50). At
such a minor investment, why not give it a try?
If one has doubts about my suggested self help treatment, by all means ask your Acupuncturist. But don’t
allow yourself to be discouraged. If she doesn’t agree with my suggestions, then
insist that she demonstrate another treatment plan. Don’t allow yourself to be
discouraged away from self treatment. I’m not suggesting one should forego treatment
by a professional. Rather, the professional should assist you in daily self
treatment as a complement to his work. Otherwise he may be trying to monopolize
the treatment for financial gain, or has what I call a Zorro complex who
wants to play the rescue hero or is a control freak.
One further comment. If one suffers acute spasticity and wants a professional therapist, I believe one should be treated first by Acupressure since I've found Acupuncture needles can trigger an even more acute spasm. Also, one should be aware that one can suffer acute pain because of a "blocked" meridian rather than a damaged nerve or any other obvious organic disorder, and that treating the meridian can alone eliminate the pain. Also one can treat oneself by simply palpating the correct points.
I now give myself a Tens Acupressure treatment every morning. Sometimes I wake up with a groggy depressed
feeling which implies the fluids are stagnating in my brain and afterwards I
always feel better as the depression lifts. This is especially true during the
winter when I can’t swim or get enough exercise. Sometimes I don’t feel the treatment does much,
especially during the summer months. But I do it anyway, part of my daily routine like brushing my teeth. And I ALWAYS do it if I'm having a stress attack or am upset. Once someone really offended me and I put off treating myself until morning. The next morning the nerves controlling my "good" left foot had been damaged. Big mistake.
Additional information on my take of how Acupuncture theory relates to MS and CCSVI can be found under the blog post Acupuncture and CCSVI.
From MS Cure Enigmas.net