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Erase MS

News from September 2011

Diet and Lifestyle to Help You Thrive with MS, Part 5 - Breathing. - A Guest Blog

September 28, 2011


In August, we introduced you to Laurie, a health & wellness coach specializing in helping those with chronic illness and fatigue. This week we are so excited to share her fifth installment of her diet and lifestyle series:


A few weeks ago, I introduced you to the important role meditation can play in thriving with multiple sclerosis. Admittedly, meditation can be a difficult practice to stay consistent with. For some it’s just not their thing. So how else can you get a similar benefit without meditation?

Simple – breath deep.

Deep breathing engages your vagus nerve, which is responsible for your relax, rest and healing response. That would be the opposite of your flight or fight stress response that most people live in most of their life. Deep breathing can shut off cortisol production, give your adrenals a rest and give your body room to heal.

The vagus nerve is also the largest nerve system after our central nervous system and it affects numerous organs, including the digestive tract. When the vagus nerve is engaged it promotes proper digestion (important for all the reasons stated in my last installment). That’s why we get a tummy ache when eating on the run but not when having a leisurely lunch with friends. It’s also why we recover from the flu more quickly if we get our rest.

Most of us live in a constant state of stress and thus don’t even use a fraction of our lung capacity. We take short, rapid, shallow breaths, which triggers our stress receptors.

Training ourselves to use our entire lung area for breathing (yes, we have to train ourselves) will trigger the relaxation receptors that reside in the lower lung. This is how we turn on our vagus nerve and ignite some healing action.

So here is a simple exercise to fill your lung and engage your relaxation and healing system:

Breathing through your nose, inhale deeply. Fill up your lungs from the bottom to the top until you think you can’t take in any more air. Exhale slowly through your nose. Repeat for 5 minutes. At first you may get a little light headed. That will dissipate overtime.

Do this 3 to 5 times a day to begin. Once you are comfortable with it, start doing it before every meal. And feel free to contact me to let me know how it’s going.

Happy breathing.

Laurie Erdman helps busy individuals living with chronic illness, stress or fatigue double their energy so they can enjoy life again. She overcame multiple sclerosis, fatigue, and chronic stress, and now inspires and educates others to create a healthier, more vibrant life. Laurie is Founder and Chief Wellness Hero at Chronic Wellness Coaching.

Jennifer's Story - A Guest Blog

September 21, 2011

Photo of Jennifer We first met Jennifer when she won one of our Facebook contests. (She won the shirt she is pictured wearing!) We were so impressed to learn she has Multiple Sclerosis but runs half marathons! We wanted to hear more of her story and share it with you, so here it is:

My name is Jennifer. I am a 32 year old teacher and mother to two wonderful children. Alek is seven and is nonverbal and has autism. Makenzi is two and a little “diva”. I live just outside of Savannah, GA. I was diagnosed with MS February 08, 2010. I was taken by surprised and was devastated but determined to not let this diagnosis define me!

I guess I will start my story with what I now know was the first signs of MS. In the fall of 2001 I was student teaching and my life was very stressful. I began to have eye pain and eventually woke up blind in the left eye one morning. I was diagnosed with optic neuritis. Immediately I was sent to a neurologist and under went many tests. All of which were negative for any signs of MS. I made it past the 5 year mark from recovery and assumed that MS would not affect me. I was wrong. In November of 2010 I started to get a familiar eye pain and figured that I should see the eye doctor. He checked me out and said everything was fine. He was about to walk out of the room and sat back down and decided to order a MRI. His exact words were, “Just so we can get a before picture in case you have problems later.” Well this picture ended up showing the MS. When I went to the neurologist in February, alone by the way because I never thought something like this would happen, I was floored and in shock. Why me? What did I do wrong? I already have a special needs son, what is going to be wrong with my daughter?

A few months prior to my diagnosis I decided that it was about time to lose the last twenty pounds that was lingering from my daughter. I began to work out with a friend and change some of my eating habits. Then I saw an advertisement for a 5K to benefit Autism. I took it as a sign and decided that I would start running and give it a try in honor of my Alek. A month after my diagnosis I ran my first 5K and boy was it hard! I finished in just over 37 minutes. The diagnosis gave me a drive to keep running and not let this define who I was. I ran a 5K a month from April 2010 to June 2010. I took off July and August. I ran one every month there after to finish out the year, even the bridge run. My best 5K time was 28 minutes and 20 seconds!! In 2011, I have run 5 races so far. I am signed up for an Autism run in October and one every month after that for the rest of the year. The biggie is the Rock N Roll Marathon. I am signed up to do the half (13.1 miles) and my goal is to run at least 7 miles without stopping to walk! I will continue to stay on top of MS! I will continue to push myself to be active! I will not let MS control me! I am determined to run, live life, enjoy the small things, and not worry too much about what could be!

FREE CLASS - Diet and Nutrition for Multiple Sclerosis

September 15, 2011

Our very own guest blogger, Laurie Erdman, will be teaching a FREE CLASS in which she will discuss how an anti-inflammatory diet can help reverse fatigue and create a thriving life with MS. She will also cover how to best implement an anti-inflammatory diet into a busy lifestyle.

Event Details:

Monday, September 19, 2011

6:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.

Arlington Central Library
1015 N. Quincy St.
Arlington, VA 22201

RSVP and get directions here.

Laurie Erdman helps busy individuals living with chronic illness, stress or fatigue double their energy so they can enjoy life again. She overcame multiple sclerosis, fatigue, and chronic stress, and now inspires and educates others to create a healthier, more vibrant life. Laurie is Founder and Chief Wellness Hero at Chronic Wellness Coaching.

Polar Products is Helping Us ERASE MS!

September 14, 2011

If you have recently taken a look at our store you may have noticed a brand new item – the “Erase MS” Orange Paisley Quick Cool Scarf from our new Orange Campaign partner – Polar Products. They will be donating 20% of the proceeds from the scarf to ERASE MS all year!

Click here to buy your own scarf, and be sure to browse their other products – they have many cooling products that provide solutions for those with Multiple Sclerosis.










Be sure to look for them at our 2012 MS Forum & Expo. They were a hit at last year’s event!

2012 Race to Erase MS Gala Sneak Peek!

September 13, 2011

We are excited to share the official theme, Glam Rock to Erase MS, of the 2012 Race to Erase MS Gala. The next Race to Erase MS Gala will take place on May 18, 2012. Take a peek of what is to come and check back for more updates!

2012 Race to Erase MS Gala Sneak Peek!

September 13, 2011

We are excited to share the official theme, Glam Rock to Erase MS , of the 2012 Race to Erase MS Gala. The event will take place on May 18, 2012. Take a peek of what is to come and check back for more updates!

Diet and Lifestyle to Help You Thrive with MS, Part 4 - Bodywork. - A Guest Blog

September 12, 2011

In August, we introduced you to Laurie, a health & wellness coach specializing in helping those with chronic illness and fatigue. This week we are so excited to share her fourth installment of her diet and lifestyle series:

Here’s a silver lining for those with multiple sclerosis: you now have a non-negotiable reason to get a massage. Like meditation, massage can engage our relaxation response, lower our blood pressure (and all the other health measures) and help us thrive.

How? First, it relaxes us. Anytime we are relaxed, our body and mind function better. Studies have also shown regular massage decreases anxiety and elevates mood in people with multiple sclerosis. Social functioning and body image also improve.

I suspect this works for the same reason babies respond positively to touch. Humans are touching, feeling beings. Those with multiple sclerosis can want to hide or be ashamed of their body. Touch enhances our feelings about ourselves and our body. Positively feelings are critical to thriving. It’s hard to enjoy life if you are a sour puss.

I will admit that after I was diagnosed the last thing I wanted was my regular deep-tissue massage. My body felt too sensitive for that. I didn’t want to be touched at all. But I knew I need something to relax. I ended up finding a method, the Bowen Technique, that works great on my numbness and temperature sensitivity. It actually reversed my symptoms. It does so my improving communication between the body and brain.

There are other massage methods. Don’t worry about choosing the wrong one. I encourage you to explore what works best for you. Some options to consider include Bowen Technique (my personal favorite), thai yoga, Swedish, shiatsu, or manual lymphatic. These options have helped alleviate fatigue, stress, and sluggish circulation for MS thrivers.

When seeing a massage therapist, be sure to tell them about your MS and make sure they are comfortable working on you. Some won’t if you are in the middle of a flare up, although methods like Bowen Technique and thai yoga shouldn’t present a problem. Also, if you are on a disease modifying drug, be sure to tell them about your injection sites. The sub-cutaneous injection sites shouldn’t be massaged, so they will need to avoid those areas. And feel free to contact me to let me know which method is working for you.

Laurie Erdman helps busy individuals living with chronic illness, stress or fatigue double their energy so they can enjoy life again. She overcame multiple sclerosis, fatigue, and chronic stress, and now inspires and educates others to create a healthier, more vibrant life. Laurie is Founder and Chief Wellness Hero at Chronic Wellness Coaching.

Havana Central Fundraiser Starts Today! (Orange Mojitos to ERASE MS)

September 5, 2011

We are so excited – today is the first day of the Havana Central Restaurant Multiple Sclerosis fundraiser! Our friends at Havana Central Restaurant will be helping us ERASE MS with Orange Mojitos, today, September 5th through September 11th! This week they will be donating 50% of the proceeds from the Orange Mojitos to our foundation!

If you live in New York City, or will be visiting that week, please grab a friend and pop in for some tasty Cuban food and of course, an Orange Mojito!

Havana Central:
Times Square
151 West 46th Street
Phone: 212–398-7440
info@havanacentral.com

LA Confidential Magazine September 2011

September 1, 2011

No title available

LA Confidential Magazine 9/11

Man Walks From Massachusetts to California to Raise MS Awareness!

September 1, 2011

Our readers brought it to our attention that a man is walking from Winchester, Massachusetts to San Diego to raise Multiple Sclerosis awareness! The man, Stephen Homesey, has already made it to Northwest Arkansas, where 40/29 News picked up the story. Click here to watch the news story or watch Stephen’s video update from the road below:

Stephen Homesey decided to embark on this walk when he broke his back and realized that he would eventually recover, but that people with Multiple Sclerosis would face a lifetime of weakening muscles and loss of coordination.

Learn more about Stephen Homesey’s story here

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