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Paralysis

General characteristics

General characteristics

Paralysis is defined as the loss of control of movement of muscle/s. The paralysis may be partial or total, temporary or permanent and may also involve loss of feeling and sensations in the affected areas. Paralysis occurs because the communication pathways that carry nerve signals from the muscles to the brain and back to the muscles, in order for movement to occur, are damaged or destroyed. It can arise from damage to a nerve or the muscle. Sometimes muscle wasting will occur as a result of the paralysis caused by the lack of activity in the muscle affected.

Causes of paralysis include stroke (lack of blood flow to parts of the brain concerned with movement), injury to the brain or spinal cord, injury to a particular nerve or group of nerves, multiple sclerosis (nerve coverings responsible for transmission of impulses are damaged), poisons and neurotoxins (spider or snake bites, botulism), infections, motor neurone disease, cerebral palsy, polio, Guillain-Barre syndrome, low blood potassium levels (hypokalaemic paralysis), brain tumours and cancer.


Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

See also nerves and muscles for further ideas on foods that are specifically healing.

Eating nutrient rich fresh foods will provide your body with its best chance of recovery. Opt for wholegrains, fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, organic animal/dairy and fish.

Nutrients that can help feed the nerves and muscles include calcium, magnesium and the B vitamins so include foods rich in these such as green leafy vegetables, carrots, and wholegrains.

Use warming foods such as chilli, ginger, mustard and other culinary herbs and spices such as coriander seeds, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamon and the like.

Avoid processed foods wherever possible and limit the amount of refined carbohydrates and sugary foods and drinks.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Chilli or cayenne pepper (capsicum species) has an excellent reputation for correcting some forms of paralysis. Take up to a teaspoon of powder in warm water daily (you may have to build up to this) or add a little chilli powder to some ointment ( 1/8th of chilli powder per base ointment or oil) and rub into the affected parts daily. It is powerfully blood moving so go very cautiously to begin with.

Other circulatory diffusive stimulants such as prickly ash bark and ginger will help restore blood circulation and in some cases movement and sensation to parts where it has been lost. Chewing a small piece of fresh ginger root twice daily may be helpful in cases of vocal chord paralysis. Use 5 drops of prickly ash tincture in a little water up to 3 times daily.

Essential oil of rosemary has some reputation for restoring movement and feeling after a stroke if rubbed into skin regularly over time,  dilute the oil in a carrier oil before use, 100 drops of rosemary in 120ml of a carrier such as sunflower oil.

Tinctures of ashwaganda, turmeric and nerve tonics and antispasmodics such as skullcap, wood betony, black cohosh, valerian and ginkgo can be made into a formula using equal parts of the herbs (except turmeric) and take 1 teaspoon in water 3 times daily. Add a small pinch of turmeric powder to each dose.

A daily tea made from a teaspoon each of oatstraw, nettle and gotu kola will help to provide valuable nutrients that will effectively feed the nerves and muscles. In fact nettle is very restorative and gently stimulating, rubbing affected parts with fresh nettle has been known to relieve rheumatism and gradually restore proper movement and feeling with persistent internal and external use.


Natural healing

Natural healing

Acupuncture has helped some people with certain forms of paralysis.

Studies have shown that nerve impulses can be passed to muscles enabling them to move with the use of certain electrical currents. This technique is still in the research stage but sounds very promising.

Regular therapeutic massage may help to prevent muscle atrophy (wasting) in paralysed limbs.

The Christopher Reeve foundation provides lots of information on paralysis including stem cell research, rehabilitation and support networks.


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