This section answers questions about the OMS Recovery Program as a whole, including how long it takes to work, what improvements to expect and more.
1. Firstly, start taking daily supplements of vitamin D and flaxseed oil (you can find more details elsewhere on the website)
2. Start doing as much exercise as you can and build up to 30 mins a day, three to five days per week
3. If you have little experience meditating, start with 10 minutes and build up to 30 mins daily. You can used guided meditations from our website or elsewhere such as meditation apps or even CDs.
4. Lastly start adopting the OMS diet reccommendations– either adopt it completely at once or we have a guide on how to do it step by step
There are lots of resources available to help you:
Listen to the podcasts
Join a Circle for support
Follow the OMS social media channels and sign up to newsletter for encouragement
OMS wants to reach everyone in the world with MS. We have OMS Circles in over 20 countries to provide support in following the program.
MS is relatively common in Europe, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and southern Australia. MS is generally rare in equatorial regions and on the Asian continent. This is why there is more of a focus on these areas, many of which are English speaking.
Our website is currently only in English, but leaflets are available to download in English, Spanish, German, Dutch and French. The Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis book is available in English, Bulgarian and German.
OMS retreats are only available in the UK and Australia currently, and the free book scheme in the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and the United States. We were working to make these resources more widely accessible.
The first thing to say is that people respond differently to the OMS program, just as they do to all the drug therapies in multiple sclerosis.
Swank’s research showed that those with early MS did the best, and 95% stayed fit and active for at least 34 years. However, he also showed that no matter how advanced the disability was at entry to the study, on average the group adhering to his diet deteriorated much less quickly than those not adhering. And, 34 years later, they had not deteriorated much, even if they started with quite significant disability, many with progressive MS.
Remember, however, that Swank only focused on diet; at OMS we are about the whole package: diet, omega-3 supplements, vitamin D, sunlight, exercise, meditation, communication, avoiding depression, etc.
Our data now show that on average, the whole group who come to the retreats is around 20% better at five years. So significant recovery is possible. Of course that is an average figure, and some do better, while others do worse.
For inflammatory arthritis there is actually a good deal of evidence that all the measures of the OMS 7-Step Recovery Program are likely to be helpful. Most of the research has been in rheumatoid arthritis where there is good evidence for the effects of a vegan diet, omega-3 and intermittent fasting (which has an anti-inflammatory effect). Studies in other forms have inflammatory arthritis have also shown benefit.
Links to a few interesting papers below:
There is a lot of evidence that suggests the OMS approach would be helpful in Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Like MS, PD is a degenerative neurological condition with features of inflammation.
There is much interest in the benefit of a plant-based diet, a 2016 paper states:
"A whole food, plant-based diet contains many compounds that fight oxidative stress and inflammation. Evidence from animal models show that various phytochemicals may alter the mechanisms contributing to PD pathophysiology. Epidemiological studies show a relationship between reduced risk of PD and diet. We hypothesize that phytochemicals in plant-based foods may contribute to neuroprotection in PD and that adopting a plant-based diet may provide symptomatic improvement and alter disease progression in PD."
Read full report Again intake of 'bad' fats and dairy is strongly implicated in PD while a diet rich in 'good fats' is protective. There is also evidence that Mindfulness interventions, supplementing with omega-3, and vitamin D is helpful. We have linked to some interesting papers below:
Evidence on meditation/mindfulness
- The effects of a mindfulness-based lifestyle program for adults with Parkinson's disease
- Mindfulness based intervention in Parkinson's disease leads to structural brain changes on MRI
Evidence for exercise
- Comparative Effect of Power Training and High-Speed Yoga on Motor Function in Older Patients With Parkinson Disease
- The best medicine? The influence of physical activity and inactivity on Parkinson's disease
- Physical activity and exercise attenuate neuroinflammation in neurological diseases
Evidence on fats
- This report concludes polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFAs) intake was consistently associated with lower PD risk, and dietary fats modified the association of PD risk with pesticide exposure. If confirmed, these findings suggest that a diet high in PUFAs and low in saturated fats might reduce risk of PD.
- This review states: n-3 PUFAs are inexpensive, readily transferable to the clinical setting and their use could represent a neuroprotective strategy or a disease-modifying option to delay the appearance of symptoms. It could also be beneficial as a symptomatology treatment or serve as an add-on therapy to current pharmacological approaches.
- Omega 3 Supplementation has been shown to be beneficial for depression in PD. View report here
Evidence on dairy
- Dairy foods intake and risk of Parkinson's disease
- Dietary and lifestyle variables in relation to incidence of Parkinson's disease in Greece
Evidence on vitamin D
In this video, Dr Jonathan White explains the differences between the latest version of the OMS book, Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis: The Evidence-based 7-Step Recovery Program and the previous version, Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis: An Evidence-based Guide to Recovery.
Although positive changes can be seen at microscopic level within six weeks, in practice the benefits may not be fully felt until after three to five years. This is not a constantly-improving process as there will be minor setbacks, but in the long-term, symptoms and quality of life should improve with time.
The Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis recovery program of diet, supplements, sunlight, meditation and stress management is very anti-inflammatory. Therefore, it is helpful not only for MS but also for most immune-based conditions. These include SLE (lupus), Sjogren's syndrome, type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. The program is also anti-degenerative, and you would expect to get some benefit in degenerative conditions like Parkinson's disease, dementia, macular degeneration and so on.