therapies for Parkinson's disease
effects the whole person, so you need treatment that does the same thing”
Many people make use of complementary medicine
(sometimes called ‘alternative medicine’). This cannot cure Parkinson’s
disease (PD), but may help specific symptoms and make it easier to cope with the
Some people find that complementary approaches
fit in better with their lifestyle and beliefs. Complementary medicine is best
used alongside conventional medicine - as a complement, rather than an
meditation and relaxation therapy are most used by less disabled people with PD,
and aromatherapy and herbal medicine by the more disabled. Other complementary
therapies include acupuncture, reflexology, massage, homeopathy, healing and
There is no evidence that any particular therapy has
specific effects in PD. Some people find benefits from massage and relaxation
for muscular stiffness, yoga for balance problems, acupuncture for pain and
discomfort and herbalism for concentration and mood problems.
It is very important that your complementary
therapist has adequate training and experience and that you inform your doctor(s)
about any additional treatment you receive.
Complementary therapy can be expensive. PD is a
chronic condition and long term therapy can cost a lot of money. It is worth
considering if it is sensible to continue if there is no
benefit after a few sessions.
is no hard evidence of benefit from complementary therapies in PD, but some
people find they are helpful. Many people feel they are worth a try, but it must
be remembered that they can also cause problems when misused or poorly
You family or specialist doctor or specialist nurse
should be able to answer your questions about advantages and disadvantages of
trying complementary therapies.
The UK Parkinson’s
Disease Society (telephone 020 7931 8080) can provide information http://www.parkinsons.org.uk
and publishes ‘Guidelines for evaluating the efficacy of complementary
therapy for the management of Parkinson’s disease’, by Richard Brown and
Useful books include:
‘Which? Guide to Complementary Therapies, by
Barbara Rowlands, published in 2002 by Which Books, London. ISBN 0 85 202 8938
‘Know your complementary therapies’ by Eileen
Herzberg, published in 2001 by Age Concern, London.
ISBN 0 86 242 3090
Useful websites include:
British Complementary Medicine Association