Alternative Treatment for MS (Complementary and Alternative Medicine or CAM for MS)

  • Medical Author:
    Danette C. Taylor, DO, MS, FACN

    Dr. Taylor has a passion for treating patients as individuals. In practice since 1994, she has a wide range of experience in treating patients with many types of movement disorders and dementias. In addition to patient care, she is actively involved in the training of residents and medical students, and has been both primary and secondary investigator in numerous research studies through the years. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine (Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology). She graduated with a BS degree from Alma College, and an MS (biomechanics) from Michigan State University. She received her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her internship and residency were completed at Botsford General Hospital. Additionally, she completed a fellowship in movement disorders with Dr. Peter LeWitt. She has been named a fellow of the American College of Neuropsychiatrists. She is board-certified in neurology by the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry. She has authored several articles and lectured extensively; she continues to write questions for two national medical boards. Dr. Taylor is a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council (MSAC) of the Alzheimer's Association of Michigan, and is a reviewer for the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

What alternative treatments can be used for MS symptoms?

Fatigue and spasticity

Fatigue and spasticity seem to respond best to CAM.

Therapies that have been shown to be of some benefit for fatigue have included:

  • exercise, for example, yoga, ,swimming, walking, and other types of regular exercise;
  • magnet therapy; and
  • gingko biloba supplements.

Spasticity has reportedly been reduced with the use of acupuncture and massage therapy. A sense of tingling (paresthesias) have been reportedly improved with reflexology.

Alternative treatments for other MS symptoms

Symptoms including depression, memory loss, urinary incontinence, and progression of MS itself (including relapses, disease extent as measured on MRI), and disability have had limited improvement when treated with CAM.

Therapies tested in an effort to improve these symptoms have included:

  • a low-fat diet,
  • bee venom,
  • hypnosis,
  • multiple different amino acids,
  • alpha lipoic acid, and
  • hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

None of these treatments led to any significant benefit in the studied symptoms.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/13/2016
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