Heat Intolerance and Ways To Beat the Heat


Heat and MS


It was a beautiful day by anyone’s standards, except a runner.
72, mostly sunny, perfect early summer day in June. But to me, it felt 90 degrees and scorching. It was 2013 and I was running the B.A.A 10K. I was in the middle of my running “career” and onto my 2nd or 3rd 10k. Everything started out just fine, music was pumping in my ears, adrenaline flowing through my legs,
“I got this” I thought. 
Until I hit Commonwealth Ave. 
For those of you unfamiliar with Boston, Commonwealth Ave is a fairly straight, uncovered, stretch of pavement. And this was where the majority of the 6.2 miles were ran. 

It got hot. It got hot, real quick. 


Heat Intolerance

One of the most well known symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, at least to us MSers, is heat intolerance. Being exposed to heat, whether it is from being outdoors, being in a hot shower or exercising, can make MS symptoms temporarily worse, which is called a pseudo-exacerbation. Once our bodies return to normal temperature, the symptoms dissipate and return back to their normal state. During a pseudo-exacerbation there is no actual disease progression taking place, however, while the symptoms are being felt, they are very real!
In fact, back in the day before MRI’s and modern medicine, doctors used to use the “hot bath test” to diagnose MS. In this test, individuals who were suspected of having MS were put in a hot bath to see if their symptoms increased. As unpleasant as an MRI is, I’m sure that would be much worse.
Doctors believe a pseudo-exacerbation occurs because heat causes the nerves, which are already are damaged, to perform their functions even less effectively. When body temperature increases, even by a quarter or half a degree, the electrical signals sent between demyelinated nerves are even further negatively impacted.
Some of the most common symptoms that individuals experience when in the heat are:
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry Vision (Uhthoff’s Phenomenon)
  • Numbness/Tingling
  • Pain
  • Cognitive Difficulties

Strategies to Manage the Heat

Sometimes being in the heat is unavoidable, so being prepared is the best thing you can do! Here are some tips for beating the heat:
  • AC is your friend! Staying in the AC during times of high heat or humidity is sometimes a must. Or having a nicely air conditioned house or room to come back to is important. When I didn’t have central air my doctor gave me the hint to make one room an “AC oasis” that is cool 24/7, which should be your bedroom, so you can sleep comfortably too.
  • Have ice water, or popsicles on hand all the time. Ice water is one of the fastest ways to bring your core temp down asap.
  • Have a personal fan/personal water mister that you can bring with you EVERYWHERE.
  • When working out, be smart about your environment. Chose indoor areas that have AC. If you must workout outside, pick morning or evening times when it is cooler.
  • Try cooler/cold showers to bring down your body temp too. I really like this after a workout, this helps to bring my body back down to a normal temp quite quickly. If you have a hard time tolerating a cold shower, you can also dip your feet into a cold bathtub or run your arms under cold water or splash your face with cold water as well.
  • There are tons of personal cooling vests or articles of clothing that you can purchase that can help for longer term cooling as well. I have a cooling head wrap that I used for running, that I somewhat liked. It started out cold, but would warm up quickly, especially if I was super warm.
  • Be smart about your clothing. If you’re at home and feel comfortable, don’t be afraid to ditch some clothes! Sometimes I’ll hang out in just a long t-shirt at home. It’s amazing what that does for your body temp. When I’m out, I’ll wear flowy shirts and loose shorts as well.
  • Get shady. When doing outdoor activities, try to find a spot where you can hide in the shade. It may not seem like it, but shade can feel like a huge temperature difference and can make being outside tolerable.

My Experience

My hubby and I like to go to the beach all the time. Like one summer, we went on a beach tour and went to a new beach each weekend. So to say I’m “used” to the heat is an understatement, but it still gets to me.
What I’ve found the most helpful for beating the heat is having a place to run back to that provides shade, whether that is an awesome beach tent or big tree, something that provides relief from the sun’s rays is key. I’ve found that sometimes in the shade it feels 10 degrees cooler than when in the sun. I also like to have a cooler with ice water with me. Yes, this means lugging a cooler to the beach, but in order to make my beach time fun, this is a necessity. My last thing that is key? Running in and out of the water. Obviously this isn’t always do-able if you’re not at the beach, so bringing some way to apply cold water, either a personal mister or cold towel or even having a mini AC handy is important.

By the time I hit the race turn around point, I felt like I was going to pass out. Looking back on it, I had no business finishing this race. But, I’m stubborn. And I was even more stubborn back then. 
Thankfully, my sister ran 99.9% of my races with me, and she was right there by my side. She didn’t know it, but she gave me the strength to keep going and in my mind, was there in case I passed out. 
By the time we hit the home stretch, I told her to go on ahead (she was great at sprinting to the finish) and I came behind about a minute later. My hubby (boyfriend at the time) was also there, at the finish line. He took one look at me, yelled at the medics, “GRAB HER”. 
I was stumbling to the finish, barely able to see, my legs were numb and tingling (at the same time, totally weird feeling) and I couldn’t feel most of my body.
Against my overheated, belligerent will, I was thrown in a wheel chair and carted off to the medical tent. I fought the entire time, stating I was “fine” and I just needed to “walk it off” (ha!).
My core temperature was 106 degrees, I was dizzy, confused and fighting the nurses. They tossed me in an ice bath for what seemed like an eternity (to me, as well as my then boyfriend and sister) and I thankfully didn’t have to go to the hospital. I think I told them I had MS, and that everything was much worse because of the heat, but I don’t really remember too much else of the conversation. 
Obviously both the act of running and the heat got to me that day. But I think the heat was the most impacting factor. I was a well conditioned runner at the time and the distance had previously given me no issues on 50 degree days.
The only things gained from the experience was a new shirt and a healthy respect for rising temperatures. 

I’M ALISSA!

I help women who have also been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis make specific and personalized diet, lifestyle & subconscious changes so that they can begin to heal their body, reduce disease symptoms, and return to a life they love.hey there,

follow along on Instagram:

Growing your own fruit or veggie is a great way to eat more of them!!

It may seem daunting, but it’s actually pretty easy.

Some easy things to grow if you’re just starting out:

🥬Leafy greens (I’m harvesting my kale here!)
🫛Peas
🍅Tomatoes
🍓Strawberries 
🫑Peppers
🥒Squash & zucchini 
🫘Beans

I’ve grown some type of veggie for years now, usually squash, peas and tomatoes (for Scott lol).

Do you have a garden? That can be in ground, raised or even containers like me.

What do you like to grow?? Tell me below!!

PS- need something to do with the veggies you grow?? 

I just dropped my new Eating for MS Guide, where I talk all about what foods are best for MS and give you some recipe ideas so it’s super simple for you to find symptom relief through food too.

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link to download!! (And it’s free!!)

Growing your own fruit or veggie is a great way to eat more of them!!

It may seem daunting, but it’s actually pretty easy.

Some easy things to grow if you’re just starting out:

🥬Leafy greens (I’m harvesting my kale here!)
🫛Peas
🍅Tomatoes
🍓Strawberries
🫑Peppers
🥒Squash & zucchini
🫘Beans

I’ve grown some type of veggie for years now, usually squash, peas and tomatoes (for Scott lol).

Do you have a garden? That can be in ground, raised or even containers like me.

What do you like to grow?? Tell me below!!

PS- need something to do with the veggies you grow??

I just dropped my new Eating for MS Guide, where I talk all about what foods are best for MS and give you some recipe ideas so it’s super simple for you to find symptom relief through food too.

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link to download!! (And it’s free!!)
...

13 6
⭐️Changing my diet!!⭐️

First, like and save this post so you can come back to it if you need.

It took me years to finally be ready to consider changing my diet to help MS symptoms.

It actually took a pretty bad rock bottom moment, but that’s a story for another day.

I get it if you feel like this process is hard and daunting.

Start here:
⭐️YOU DONT HAVE TO CHANGE EVERYTHING AT ONCE
⭐️Pick a meal to switch up, include a few different foods a week or increase protein.
⭐️Get curious about how the foods you’re currently eating are making you feel

Those are just 3 suggestions to get you started.

Want more information about Eating for MS?

Like what (imo) you should include in your diet, how to eliminate foods, and meal ideas??
So that you too can feel so much better in your body and get your life back?

I just dropped a new Eating for MS Guide, full of all the info you need to get started on your own food journey.

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link! 
🧡🧡🧡

⭐️Changing my diet!!⭐️

First, like and save this post so you can come back to it if you need.

It took me years to finally be ready to consider changing my diet to help MS symptoms.

It actually took a pretty bad rock bottom moment, but that’s a story for another day.

I get it if you feel like this process is hard and daunting.

Start here:
⭐️YOU DONT HAVE TO CHANGE EVERYTHING AT ONCE
⭐️Pick a meal to switch up, include a few different foods a week or increase protein.
⭐️Get curious about how the foods you’re currently eating are making you feel

Those are just 3 suggestions to get you started.

Want more information about Eating for MS?

Like what (imo) you should include in your diet, how to eliminate foods, and meal ideas??
So that you too can feel so much better in your body and get your life back?

I just dropped a new Eating for MS Guide, full of all the info you need to get started on your own food journey.

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link!
🧡🧡🧡
...

33 23
Or, comment WAITLIST to be notified when it’s ready!!

I’ve been talking to many of you about your questions regarding eating for MS.

There’s lots of confusion about what is “right” and “wrong”. 

Lemme tell you, I’ll answer this in the guide for sure- and it prob won’t be the answer you’re expecting?

Drop any other questions below and I’ll answer them!!

Or, comment WAITLIST to be notified when it’s ready!!

I’ve been talking to many of you about your questions regarding eating for MS.

There’s lots of confusion about what is “right” and “wrong”.

Lemme tell you, I’ll answer this in the guide for sure- and it prob won’t be the answer you’re expecting?

Drop any other questions below and I’ll answer them!!
...

18 7
:: first, comment WAITLIST below to be notified when my new Eating for MS Guide is available!::

When I was first diagnosed with MS I didn’t even think to ask if anything else besides medication would help me.

It didn’t even occur to me that changing my diet or managing stress would also play a part in my disease.

It took a few years, several relapses and failed medications for my BOYFRIEND (now hubby) to ask my neurologist if any diet would help.

And even then, my neuros answer was 🤷🏻‍♂️.

If you also haven’t considered it, let me be the first to tell you:

✨IT’S ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE✨ 
to decrease your symptoms and influence your long term prognosis by implementing lifestyle changes.

What we eat
How we move
How we manage stress
Our toxin burden
Our hydration status
Etc etc etc
all go a long way in helping us MSers live better with MS.

I lived this transformation; from totally exhausted and unable to get off the couch to hiking mountains or playing golf,
I KNOW it’s possible for you, too.

I’m in the final stages of putting together a comprehensive resource on Eating for MS, comment WAITLIST and I’ll let you know when it’s ready!!

:: first, comment WAITLIST below to be notified when my new Eating for MS Guide is available!::

When I was first diagnosed with MS I didn’t even think to ask if anything else besides medication would help me.

It didn’t even occur to me that changing my diet or managing stress would also play a part in my disease.

It took a few years, several relapses and failed medications for my BOYFRIEND (now hubby) to ask my neurologist if any diet would help.

And even then, my neuros answer was 🤷🏻‍♂️.

If you also haven’t considered it, let me be the first to tell you:

✨IT’S ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE✨ 
to decrease your symptoms and influence your long term prognosis by implementing lifestyle changes.

What we eat
How we move
How we manage stress
Our toxin burden
Our hydration status
Etc etc etc
all go a long way in helping us MSers live better with MS.

I lived this transformation; from totally exhausted and unable to get off the couch to hiking mountains or playing golf,
I KNOW it’s possible for you, too.

I’m in the final stages of putting together a comprehensive resource on Eating for MS, comment WAITLIST and I’ll let you know when it’s ready!!
...

28 22
I’ve seen this trend with women under 35 and over 35.. so let’s see if we can adapt this for others living with MS!

Those of you who are living with MS for just a few years ask a question and those of us who have been living with it for many years will answer!

Who knows, this may bomb, but the idea is fun!!

Ask away!

I’ve seen this trend with women under 35 and over 35.. so let’s see if we can adapt this for others living with MS!

Those of you who are living with MS for just a few years ask a question and those of us who have been living with it for many years will answer!

Who knows, this may bomb, but the idea is fun!!

Ask away!
...

40 41
Last week I wanted 0 to do with working out. 

I love working out,
I love being able to lift heavy things and feel strong.
But last week?
Nah, I was all set. 

However.. I have some goals and abilities I want to maintain.

Strength training is one way of the consistent ways I help myself to feel good despite living with MS. 

So I made sure that there wasn’t a reason I didn’t want to workout besides my inner toddler, and lo and behold- there wasn’t.
So off I went. 

I gave myself permission to go lighter and slower, which helped me be successful in doing it at all. 

I often find that when I stop strength training for a while, everything starts to hurt, so that’s obviously not what I’m going for. 

I also have a goal of gaining muscle. Muscle decline happens anyway with age, I don’t need to help it along with not moving. 

✨Following through with my daily habits is a form of self care.✨

If you’re done with thinking: 
“I know what to do, I just can’t seem to do it” 
DM me ACTION and we’ll chat

Last week I wanted 0 to do with working out.

I love working out,
I love being able to lift heavy things and feel strong.
But last week?
Nah, I was all set.

However.. I have some goals and abilities I want to maintain.

Strength training is one way of the consistent ways I help myself to feel good despite living with MS.

So I made sure that there wasn’t a reason I didn’t want to workout besides my inner toddler, and lo and behold- there wasn’t.
So off I went.

I gave myself permission to go lighter and slower, which helped me be successful in doing it at all.

I often find that when I stop strength training for a while, everything starts to hurt, so that’s obviously not what I’m going for.

I also have a goal of gaining muscle. Muscle decline happens anyway with age, I don’t need to help it along with not moving.

✨Following through with my daily habits is a form of self care.✨

If you’re done with thinking:
“I know what to do, I just can’t seem to do it”
DM me ACTION and we’ll chat
...

17 4
Instead of being a lump on the couch, now I can go hiking up a mountain with my husband 
Or walk 8 miles around NYC with my sister 
Or do a workout at the gym
Or shower, go shopping and cook dinner all in the same day 

This is possible because: 
✨Yes, the medication I’m on helps for sure 

But truthfully my life has improved so much because of:

✨My daily habits and lifestyle (my morning routine, my diet, my sleep habits, my workouts..)

✨ But what REALLY moved the needle is actively working to have a mindset that allows me to be flexible with myself, to give myself grace when I “mess up” (aka- when I don’t follow through on a habit)

✨This is a mindset that doesn’t require perfection✨

This allows me to be consistent with the habits- like diet changes or movement programs or whatever else I want to do, which then allows me to see progress (aka: my body feeling better)

Which THEN gives me the motivation and desire to keep doing what I’m doing.

✨This is the secret to “success”- right here.✨
Consistent action + giving yourself grace + noticing progress = motivation to keep going. 

It’s not quick or sexy, its actually rather boring.
But boring is actually way better!! 

If you want a life where you:
Feel good in your body, 
Have energy to spend on your friends and family, 
Don’t think about what the MS symptom of the day will be..

I help you create that life for yourself in my signature program, Holistically Healing MS. 

Today is the last day it’s on FLASH SALE… 
Comment MOUNTAIN below and I’ll send you the details!!

Instead of being a lump on the couch, now I can go hiking up a mountain with my husband
Or walk 8 miles around NYC with my sister
Or do a workout at the gym
Or shower, go shopping and cook dinner all in the same day

This is possible because:
✨Yes, the medication I’m on helps for sure

But truthfully my life has improved so much because of:

✨My daily habits and lifestyle (my morning routine, my diet, my sleep habits, my workouts..)

✨ But what REALLY moved the needle is actively working to have a mindset that allows me to be flexible with myself, to give myself grace when I “mess up” (aka- when I don’t follow through on a habit)

✨This is a mindset that doesn’t require perfection✨

This allows me to be consistent with the habits- like diet changes or movement programs or whatever else I want to do, which then allows me to see progress (aka: my body feeling better)

Which THEN gives me the motivation and desire to keep doing what I’m doing.

✨This is the secret to “success”- right here.✨
Consistent action + giving yourself grace + noticing progress = motivation to keep going.

It’s not quick or sexy, its actually rather boring.
But boring is actually way better!!

If you want a life where you:
Feel good in your body,
Have energy to spend on your friends and family,
Don’t think about what the MS symptom of the day will be..

I help you create that life for yourself in my signature program, Holistically Healing MS.

Today is the last day it’s on FLASH SALE…
Comment MOUNTAIN below and I’ll send you the details!!
...

39 2
If you’ve been a client, I’m sure you’ve heard me rant about how society’s expectations for women have set us up for autoimmunity and illness. 

We were praised for being quiet, not rocking the boat, keeping the peace, helping others before ourselves, not talking back, etc etc. 

But where did this get US? The women behind the behaviors? 
Sick, anxious and depressed- that’s where. 

Healing MS or any autoimmune disease can’t happen until you put yourself first. 

That doesn’t mean all of a sudden become a b*tch and ignore the world.

It means considering yourself as much as you consider others. 

One of my clients this week was talking about the boundaries she set in her life and how proud she was of herself. 

She was able to manage the uneasiness (aka: terror) of:
potentially letting others down,
being abandoned and 
discarded for voicing her needs. 

No wonder we’re all sick when even saying our needs outloud is scary!
What allowed her to do that after all these years of staying silent? 

Well many things, but one of them is “nervous system regulation” aka: utilizing small exercises that allow your body to “respond appropriately” aka: not entering an anxiety freak out spiral- to daily stressors. 

This is the “stress management” you’ve been looking for and what will change your life. 

My program Embodied Resilience is your road map to how. 

Drop a 🌀🌀 in the comments and I’ll send you details

If you’ve been a client, I’m sure you’ve heard me rant about how society’s expectations for women have set us up for autoimmunity and illness.

We were praised for being quiet, not rocking the boat, keeping the peace, helping others before ourselves, not talking back, etc etc.

But where did this get US? The women behind the behaviors?
Sick, anxious and depressed- that’s where.

Healing MS or any autoimmune disease can’t happen until you put yourself first.

That doesn’t mean all of a sudden become a b*tch and ignore the world.

It means considering yourself as much as you consider others.

One of my clients this week was talking about the boundaries she set in her life and how proud she was of herself.

She was able to manage the uneasiness (aka: terror) of:
potentially letting others down,
being abandoned and
discarded for voicing her needs.

No wonder we’re all sick when even saying our needs outloud is scary!
What allowed her to do that after all these years of staying silent?

Well many things, but one of them is “nervous system regulation” aka: utilizing small exercises that allow your body to “respond appropriately” aka: not entering an anxiety freak out spiral- to daily stressors.

This is the “stress management” you’ve been looking for and what will change your life.

My program Embodied Resilience is your road map to how.

Drop a 🌀🌀 in the comments and I’ll send you details
...

52 10
It’s ok if it takes time from learning about something to implementing it into your lifestyle.

There is a lot that needs to happen in our mind and body for us to be ready to change something about our day to day life. 

And it’s ok if that process takes longer than you “think it should” or want it too. 

You know what *won’t* help you when this happens? 
Being mean and judgemental to yourself. 

You’re not lazy and nothing is wrong with you, so stop saying that to yourself. 

You know what *will* help you when this happens?
Taking action. 
Action is the antidote to the fear and overwhelm you’re feeling. 

But- in a whole different way than you have been trying.

The key is slow and steady, not sexy or flashy- but this means it’s something better- sustainable. 

Sustainable means “able to be maintained or held”- which is the goal for habits right? 

Being “perfect” for 2 weeks then “messing up” (missing a day) then feeling like a “failure” for that one day, then being “off the wagon” for 3 months isn’t doing you any good (said with muchhhh ♥️♥️♥️)

We want a Supportive Sustainable Lifestyle aka being able to keep up with your habits and progress overtime (ideally for the rest of your life right? It’s about the journey not the destination)

If you want to create a lifestyle that is supportive to reducing your MS symptoms, so you don’t need to be thinking about being on or off “the wagon” again, my signature program Holistically Healing MS is for you.

And good news, it’s on flash sale this week- and the lowest price it will be ever again. 
Comment MSSUCKS below and I’ll send you details
🧡🧡🧡

It’s ok if it takes time from learning about something to implementing it into your lifestyle.

There is a lot that needs to happen in our mind and body for us to be ready to change something about our day to day life.

And it’s ok if that process takes longer than you “think it should” or want it too.

You know what *won’t* help you when this happens?
Being mean and judgemental to yourself.

You’re not lazy and nothing is wrong with you, so stop saying that to yourself.

You know what *will* help you when this happens?
Taking action.
Action is the antidote to the fear and overwhelm you’re feeling.

But- in a whole different way than you have been trying.

The key is slow and steady, not sexy or flashy- but this means it’s something better- sustainable.

Sustainable means “able to be maintained or held”- which is the goal for habits right?

Being “perfect” for 2 weeks then “messing up” (missing a day) then feeling like a “failure” for that one day, then being “off the wagon” for 3 months isn’t doing you any good (said with muchhhh ♥️♥️♥️)

We want a Supportive Sustainable Lifestyle aka being able to keep up with your habits and progress overtime (ideally for the rest of your life right? It’s about the journey not the destination)

If you want to create a lifestyle that is supportive to reducing your MS symptoms, so you don’t need to be thinking about being on or off “the wagon” again, my signature program Holistically Healing MS is for you.

And good news, it’s on flash sale this week- and the lowest price it will be ever again.
Comment MSSUCKS below and I’ll send you details
🧡🧡🧡
...

12 0
One of the criticisms I see about using lifestyle medicine to help improve MS symptoms is that it means “I think my disease is in my control, totally up to me and therefore my fault”.

The things in our control, are only a piece of the puzzle in how we feel, our MS symptoms and disease progression. 

Many more things also go into our health equation:
- Genetics
- Age
- Socioeconomic Status 
- Education 
- Health care access
- Your community 
- Economic stability 

I’m not saying that lifestyle medicine doesn’t matter, it does a lot. I’m just saying it’s not the *only* thing that matters. 

What are your thoughts on this? I know it’s a highly charged topic for some!

One of the criticisms I see about using lifestyle medicine to help improve MS symptoms is that it means “I think my disease is in my control, totally up to me and therefore my fault”.

The things in our control, are only a piece of the puzzle in how we feel, our MS symptoms and disease progression.

Many more things also go into our health equation:
- Genetics
- Age
- Socioeconomic Status
- Education
- Health care access
- Your community
- Economic stability

I’m not saying that lifestyle medicine doesn’t matter, it does a lot. I’m just saying it’s not the *only* thing that matters.

What are your thoughts on this? I know it’s a highly charged topic for some!
...

35 5
Living with MS is hard.
Some days are harder, some easier.

If you’re in a season where it feels hard, I see you.

I believe in you.
🧡🧡🧡

Living with MS is hard.
Some days are harder, some easier.

If you’re in a season where it feels hard, I see you.

I believe in you.
🧡🧡🧡
...

22 2

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