Alternative Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis (cont.)

What Are Some Other Alternative/Complementary Therapy Options for MS?

  • Massage. Many people with multiple sclerosis receive regular massage therapy to help relax and reduce stress and depression, which can exacerbate the disease. There is no evidence that massage changes the course of the disease. It is usually safe for people with MS to receive a massage, but if you have bone-thinning osteoporosis (usually as a result of your treatments) massage may be dangerous. Talk to your doctor first.
  • Acupuncture. Some people with MS report that acupuncture provides some relief of symptoms such as pain, muscle spasms, or bladder control problems. There have been no scientific studies to confirm this or to document that acupuncture is safe for people with MS. Also, keep in mind that there are always risks when a procedure involves puncturing the body with needles as is done with acupuncture. The main risk is infection. Unless sterile techniques are used, acupuncture could transmit hepatitis or HIV.
  • Evening primrose oil (linoleic acid). Linoleic acid is also found in sunflower seeds and safflower oil. There is some evidence that taking an oral supplement of linoleic acid may slightly improve MS symptoms.
  • Diet. It is important for people with MS to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet to keep them as healthy as possible. Discuss any dietary concerns you may have with your doctor.
  • Marijuana. The use of marijuana to treat any illness remains highly controversial. Some people with MS claim that smoking marijuana helps relieve spasticity and other MS-related symptoms. However, there is little evidence to date that marijuana really works. Research is ongoing to answer this important question. Until more is known, doctors do not recommend the use of marijuana to treat MS as the drug is associated with serious long-term side effects such as heart attack or memory loss.

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