This book was written by Dr. Terry L. Wahls and it describes her personal journey living, coping and treating the symptoms she was dealing with from multiple sclerosis.
Dr. Wahls was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000. She had relapsing-remitting MS which transitioned to secondary-progressive MS with relapse by 2003. By this point, her coordination and balance was noticeably weaker and she required a scooter for mobility. As part of her treatment plan, Dr. Wahls researched the effects of “neuromuscular electrical stimulation” in people paralyzed by traumatic spinal cord injuries, and she created an intense nutritional program to help fuel her body for recovery. In less than a year, Dr. Wahls was walking without the use of prescribed medications.
Throughout the book Dr.Wahls talks about the importance of nutrition and how our bodies are designed to work properly with the proper nutrients. She talks about the mitochondria and its importance for a healthy functioning cell. Mitochondria are the cells “powerhouse” and when a cell functions normally it’s due to the mitochondria producing ATP for energy. The western diet is high in simple sugars and carbohydrates, and these diets have very few minerals, vitamins and antioxidants and this leaves cells and mitochondria at risk of damage from free radicals. Over many years of exposure to this diet, it puts people at increased risk for the development of disease, including cancer, autoimmune disease and other degenerative disease. This is why a diet rich in vegetables, protein and healthy fats produce many minerals and vitamins to help lower the risk of such diseases. Her book details appropriate food choices that keep cells healthy and strong and she provides extensive information about detoxing and eliminating toxins in the body that are harmful to the cells. There is a section of recipes as well that help with meal planning to ensure people get the nutrients needed to help support their body.
Dr.Wahls also mentions the use of neuromuscular electrical stimulation to help improve muscle strength. As part of her recovery she used an FES (functional electrical stimulation) bike similar to the one provided at Aim2Walk. This type of stimulation is an electrical impulse sent to the nerve that stimulates the muscles in the leg needed to propel the bike. In the studies she read about FES, it was noted to decrease muscle spasticity and improve endurance.
I was given this book by a client who is dealing MS and showing symptoms of foot drop. He was excited to share the information in this book and he enjoyed many of the recipes. Once researching further into Dr.Wahls I have found she has written other books and uses social media to offer information including through Facebook. She gives a brief but informative talk about her scientific findings on TedTalks.
I think it is important for people with MS to make informed decisions about ways to treat cause and/or symptoms and to stay connected with other people who are also dealing with MS. Each person diagnosed is different from the next and by staying informed and educating yourself on the possibilities for change you have a larger base of knowledge to improve quality of life and/or save your life.
Michelle Wolfe, RMT