Complementary & alternative therapies

Complementary and alternative therapies are a diverse group of health care practices and products that are not considered to be part of conventional or traditional medicine.

Complementary therapies are used alongside traditional medicines — for example, using a combination of massage and pain specific medication. Alternative therapies are used instead of traditional medicine — for example, using massage alone for the treatment of pain.

Many people living with multiple sclerosis use complementary and alternative therapies to improve their quality of life.

It is very important to be thorough when investigating complementary and alternative therapies. Some people who provide this information may have biases, financial incentives, or limitations in their knowledge base that lead them to provide inaccurate information. They may not have any specific knowledge about multiple sclerosis and treatment.

Potentially beneficial therapies

Several complementary and alternative therapies may provide relief from some multiple sclerosis symptoms and some may also have disease-modifying effects. Yoga may provide relief from fatigue, while various mind/body approaches may relieve symptoms like anxiety, depression and pain.

Harmful or ineffective therapies

Dietary supplements considered to be potentially harmful therapies for people living with multiple sclerosis include:

  • skullcap
  • germanium
  • chaparral
  • comfrey
  • kava kava
  • echinacea
  • ashwagandha
  • alfalfa
  • astragalus
  • cat’s claw
  • garlic
  • Asian and Siberian ginseng

Complementary and alternative therapies found to be ineffective include hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) and bee venon therapy.

The MS International Federation has a publication called MS in focus — Complementary and alternative therapies which can provide more information.

Mindfulness, Meditation and Relaxation

Exploring mindfulness, meditation and relaxation techniques and how they can benefit us on a daily basis to help cope with the effects of daily life stress and anxiety. Lynne Morrison, Mindfulness, Meditation teacher will explain the benefits of learning techniques to assist in minimising stress and maximum rest breaks.

Webinar handouts : Mindfulness, Meditation and Relaxation (Recorded March 2016)


Complementary Approaches – Tai Chi

Jane Monk - Tai Chi Instructor with Art of Harmony Tai Chi Centre explains the origins and benefits of Tai Chi. This recording includes demonstrations by Jane.

For more information please email MS Connect™ or call 1800 042 138 (← Freecall).

You can also learn more from our MS Living Well Education sessions.

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