File in PDF format



Shy Drager Syndrome Demonstrates Symptom Reversal Using Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine and Hypnotherapy

by S. Colet Lahoz, R.N., M.S., L.Ac.

     Shy-Drager Syndrome is a rare progressive neurologic disorder that is terminal. The NIH reports about 100,00 cases of this disease in the United States. It is a progressive disorder of the central autonomic nervous system. Discovered only in 1960, it is characterrized by orthostatic hypotension which causes dizzyness or momentary blackouts upon standing or sitting up. Other symptoms include bowel and bladder incontinence, atrophy of the iris, anhydrosis, tremor, rigidity, incoordination, muscle wasting, and ataxia. It is a disease thatis difficult to diagnose in the early stages but within a year of onset most patients develop postural hypotension. For the majority of patients , the unstable blood pressure is often the cause of severe headaches, double vision, impairment of speech, sensory changes, difficulties in breathing and swallowing, and irregular heartbeat. Constipation and sexual impotence in males are evident early in the course of the disease. The condition worsens over several years leading to disability and premature death.

The ThreeTypes of Multi systems Atrophy (MSA)

Parkinson's-type, which may include symptoms of Parkinson's disease such as slow movement, stiff muscles and mild tremors. Cerebellar type, characterized by loss of balance and tendency to fall, and Combination type which may include symptoms of both types (1).

Current Western Medicine methods of treatments are limited to controlling symptoms.
Anti-Parkinson medication such as L dopa, may be helpful but it can also lower blood pressure even more. To relieve low blood pressure high level of salt and fluids is recommended. Prognosis: Patients usually die within 7 to 10 years after the onset of symptoms. Pneumonia is the most common cause of death, although irregular heartbeat may be responsible for death in some patients.

Case Study

     Eldred Soeffker (a.k.a.Al), age 73, a retired businessman and inventor from Annandale, Minnesota was diagnosed with MSA in 1996. I met him for the first time as a client of the East West Clinic on Sept. 14, 1999. Prior to this time he was a patient at the Minneapolis Veterans Hospital. He was told there was no cure for his illness, and by August 1999 his system begun rapid deterioration. He had the classic symptoms of the combination type: muscle weakness, inability to get up from chair or bed without help. Hypotension was being corrected with high salt diet. He had both bladder and bowel incontinence and was using Depends (TM). His speech was sluggish and he hallucinated frequently, "seeing people, men women and children." He also complained of cervical neck and low back pain due to a herniated disc in the lumbar vertebrae. Colon was weak and had frequent constipation. He also had psoriasis in the scalp. Other complaints included hearing loss, sexual dysfunction, severe drooling, and visual distortions. His urinary flow was characterized by a spray rather than a stream which caused al lot of sanitary concerns..

In 1996, the drug prescribed for him was the combination of Levo-dopa 25mg, Carbidopa 100 mg. and Fludrocortisone. He developed severe hallucinations as a side effect of these drugs within three weeks, yet he was kept on this regimen for three years. By the time I started treatments on him these hallucinations were so frequents and severe that it became one of the most persistent and debilitating problems.

Alternative Therapies

     I was eager to assess Mr. Soeffker's condition using the methods inherent to the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, that of tongue and pulse diagnosis and meridian energy flow as a way of identifying the pattern of disharmony that may be at the root of his illness. His tongue was dry and pale with indentations at the borders . All 12 pulses were weak and thready. Both findings were indicative of a pattern of severe (chi) energy deficiency and a deficiency of yang elements in his system. This patterns explained the symptoms of low energy, muscle weakness, muscle incoordination, hypotension, impotence, slow and sluggish movements, bowel and bladder incontinence. Since all energy channels were involved, it signified a condition that has been chronic and severe. Using Dr. John Trowbridge's Candida Questionnaire I was able to establish the existence of systemic candida infection. With previous use of antibiotics and cortisone therapy he had developed intestinal fungal infection which explained why he had psoriasis, chronic bowel problems and chronic fatigue.I believe that the developments of Shy-Drager Syndrome was a result of long standing systemic fungal infection also known as candidiasis that was never treated. Dr. A.V. Costantini,MD, Director of the World Health Organization Division on Mycotoxins has documented through research that mycotoxins from long term yeast or fungal infections can lead to chronic illnessess and autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Sjogrens's disease and even cancer (2). Shy Drager, with Parkinson like manifestations may fall in this category.

My own observation over the 16 years that I have practiced Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of Candida Related Complex concurs with Dr. Costantini's findings that many types of malignancies and chronic progressive diseases are outcomes of long standing , undiagnosed and untreated candidiasis.

Goals of Therapy

1. Using Acupuncture and herbs,reverse the pattern of chi and yang deficiency which in turn will reverse the symptoms stemming from this types of energy imbalance.
2.Using a five phase anti-fungal regimen, detoxyfy system from fungal/ yeast infection. This information is explained in my book Conquering Yeast InfectionsThe NonDrug Solution.
3.Use liver cleansing program to detoxify system from the side effects of prescription drugs causing hallucination.
4. Promote the healing process and strengthen all systems.

The Plan of Therapy

1. Acupuncture treatments twice a week initially, electroacupuncture.
2. Dietary supplements and chinese herbal medicine.
3. Diet change to enhance candida cleansing process. Diet free from sugar, alcohol and foods containing yeast.
4. Hypnotherapy
5. Colon cleanse.

Acupuncture: LI4, was my choice for electro-acupuncture point to generate more yang energy. UB23 and CV6 were selected to take care of the incontinence and low back pain. Other points of significant importance in his case were liver 8, spleen 2, kidney 7, large intestine 11, heart 9, and conceptions vessel 6. I actually used a lot more points than listed here, but too many to mention, I modified my selection of point on a day to day basis depending on his pulses, meridian energy strength, and tongue quality. Moxibustion, a method for providing heat to needles was also employed to increase energy flow. The tongue and 12 pulses were assessed before each treatment, and treatment approach for that particular day was based on those findings.

Supplements Used: MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane) 500 mg. 2 caps twice a day. This supplement is organic sulfur and is needed as bonding agent for the absorption of vitamins and minerals. It also helps muscle strenght and joint mobility.

Essential Botanical is a multi vitamin multi mineral formula with special ability to tonify chi (energy) and help regain energy and stamina. He took 2 tbsps twice a day.
Choline and Inositol 250mg. two caps twice a day combined with Gingco Biloba to improve mental function.
Calcium, Mg. Zn. two tabs per day.
Chromium Picolinate 200 mcg. one tab. daily.

The Chinese herbal formula known as Gegie Da Bu Wan and Du Huo Ju Sheng Wan were used to correct a recurrent pattern of Kidney chi deficiency. Oxycleanse (TM) an oxygen based colon conditioner was used to keep regular bowel movements, prevent constipation.

(TM) a topical solution containing DMSO, Tea Tree Oil, Grapefruitseed Extract, and Willard Water, a product I formulated for patients with dermatitis and other skin and mucosal swelling.

The best initial colon cleanse and anti fungal formula is the combination of Caprol, Bentonite and Psyllium powder and Acidophilus. This mixture is taken as a shake twice a day on an empty stomach. Mr. Soeffker used this mix for the first three months. This regimen was combined with the candida diet. This eliminates food that feed yeast and create more breeding ground for them. Hence all refined sugar, foods with yeast, dairy, alcohol and fermented foods were eliminated. The anti fungals were rotated every three months initially and once a months after the first five phases were completed. In subsequent months the following anti fungals were used in sequence: Grapefruit Seed Extract, Kolorex, Olive Leaf Extract, and Undecelinate acid. The choices for this program are based on my research and published in my book, "Conquering Yeast Infections, The Non Drug Solution" (3).

Treatment Outcome

After even just the first visit he was able to get up from a chair without help, and even more amazing he could get up from a kneeling position without assistance, activities he has not been able to do for months. 4 treatments later, the bowel and bladder incontinence which he had for 10 days prior to his session with me, was nearly normal with infrequent episodes. After the 5th treatment, the incontinence was completely controlled. It was at this time that that he asked if something could be done for his drooling. I used acupuncture points LI 14 and GB 20 and used electrical stimulation. Two sessions took care of this problem.

On October 12, 1999, barely one month after we started treatments he was happy to report that he could now lift his legs into the bed without assistance and most importantly his sexual function was back. By the 8th treatment, I observed that he was able to climb into the tretment table and position himself for a treatment without help, he was at this time able to dress himself. He was no longer a nursing home candidate!

Since then he resumed taking walks, a pastime that he loved but was unable to do. His posture, walking, joint flexibility, vision , were all significantly improved, however he was still hallucinating. These episodes are very frightening to him, and keeps him up at night, he sees his dead friend George, and other human figures . His vision was deteriorating partly from iris distortion and from cataracts. He had cataract surgery in 2000, and with the help of the acupuncture the iris distortion was also reversed so that today his vision is much improved (4).

Al and his wife Marge have a beautiful home in Anna Maria Island in Florida. They have been spending their winters there for the last 10 years. In the winter of 1999 they wondered if instead of going to their Island home they would be in a nursing home . I am happy to report that they spent winters there both in 1999 and in 2000. In 1999 after three months of therapy he was indeed strong enough to take time off without treatments. While in Florida he is able to workout at the fitness center spending 20 minutes using various equipment for toning the upper and lower body. His blood pressure maintained at normal level and stopped taking salt pills.

On February 10, 2000, they came back to MN for a visit and were able to check in for a treatment and a check up with me. His symptoms were all under control and was physically more fit. They came back to MN in late April, 2000 and the only remaining problem was the hallucinations . They requested Dr. Michael Shear MD, Neurologist, to order a brain scan to rule out possible organic lesions that may explain why he was hallucinating. Findings read: "Other than early cortical atrophy, the brain appears unremarkable, no acute event, no evidence of metastatic deposits." Blood samples were also drawn for blood chemistries, the Bay Pine Laboratories showed that with the exception of BUN which was slightly high all values were within normal levels. Both the brain scan and the lab test showed no significant change in the brain and the nervous system. Still, the hallucinations could very well be long term side effects of the two drugs that he was taking for three years.

With Marge's and Al's permission, I tried hypnotherapy. the first session was on April 14, 2000. I decided to include suggestions to take care of the hallucinations as well as other physical problems, specifically as it related to his urinary flow that came out in a spray rather than a stream. The urologists had no procedures to correct this problem. Al's joints were stiff and his neck posture was bad, so during the suggestion phase of the hypnotherapy I built in suggestions to correct all these problems. He still suffers hallucinations but there was a definite reduction in the frequency of episodes. Moreover, since hypnosis was added to our sessions he has been calmer, less panicked and fearful. He feels more in control. He states that the command words I taught him during hypnosis help him to use his "inner power" . His wife reported that the angry look in his eye were gone.

At this writing, Al is more alert, his speech is getting faster and all the gains we have achieved are maintaining. BP is staying normal without salt supplements, he is not on any medication. His balance is better, his limbs more flexible and his postured is even improved. He is mowing the lawn three times a week this summer, and Marge can leave him alone now for a few hours at a time. It is now exactly 14 months since he started treatments here.

I spoke to Linda Nee, MSW, who does family studies at the NIH. She has talked to about 200 families with a family member with the diagnosis of Shy Drager Syndrome. She reports that she has not encountered anyone else with the type of recovery that Al is demonstrating. Marge has also been in touch with Don Sommers of the National Shy Drager support group. He too claims that he has not seen this type of reversal. If this is true, then my treatment method must be a breakthrough in the treatment of Shy Drager Syndrome. We have been fortunate to get two other referrals from the VA Hospital in Minneapolis. So Far, the two others are progressing nicely as well. I would encourage other practitioners to replicate my protocol for other patients across the USA so we could gather more data for this research.

I waited 18 months to share my findings to make sure the success we are observing is sustained. I am pleased to report that indeed Al is stable is showing a trend toward more progress. I would like patients and practitioners alike to read my story and try the combination of acupuncture, liver and colon cleanses, diet, herbal and nutritional supplements, and hypnotherapy. I wish you all God's blessings in your healing journey and wish you the same success I experienced with Al Soeffker.

Notes from Marge Soeffker

I believe it is Colet Lahoz's unique method of acupuncture where she uses more needles (60 to 90 was used each time on my husband) and treats the whole being that contributed to this remarkable recovery. With acupuncture she was also able to improve Al's deafness which he suffered for 10 years. He hears well now and no longer needs his hearing aid.

The acupuncture along with special diet, the colon cleanses and the use of hypnotherapy proved to be the appropriate method to reverse Al's disease. I feel that the Cabidopa and Fludrocortisone were not at all beneficial and that they have caused more detriment. The hallucinations they brought about are now the ONLY remaining problem.


Al Soeffker Died on Feb. 19, 2002.
He maintained good health until he died. He did not deteriorate further from the Shy Drager disease. The cause of death was listed as "natural causes". He was sitting down having lunch, when he stopped breathing and subsequently passed away.
Marge Soeffker is dedicating much of her time educating people about the treatment program that worked for her husband, and giving moral support to families with relatives suffering from MSA. She can be reached at 320-761-9380.

I continue to treat more and more people with this problem and so I have more data that hopefully will also be published in the future.

Colet Lahoz.


(1) National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Shy Drager Syndrome. National Institute of Health. Bethesda, Maryland 20892, May 1996.
(2) Constantini, A. V., MD. The Fungal Mycotoxin Connections: Autoimmune Diseases, Malignancies, Atherosclerosis, Hyperlipedemias, and Gout. Transcripts of 28th Annual Meeting in New Horizons in Chemical Sensitivities: State of the Art Diagnosis and Treatment, October 1993:3031.
(3) Lahoz, S. C., RN, MS, Lac. Conquering Yeast Infections: The Non-Drug Solution. East West Publications, 1996; pp. 140-143.
Lahoz, S. C., RN, MS, Lac. Candidiasis: An Initial Indication of A Positive Treatment Approach. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. July 1995, p. 68.
(4) Konlee, Mar. How to reverse Immune Dysfucntion. Keep Hope Alive, 1997.


Contact Us

5770 W. Bald Eagle Blvd., White Bear Lake, MN 55110
Telephone and Fax: (651) 429-9595

E-mail East-West Clinic

© 1997 - 2004 East-West Clinic. All rights reserved.
Last Updated November 25, 2004