What is alternative therapies

Treatments and remedies that are outside the realm of conventional medicine. These therapies are supportive and complementary not primary treatments for Parkinson’s disease. Those commonly used include:

• Acumassage and acupressure rubbing or applying pressure to common acupuncture points

• Aromatherapy the use of essential oils and fragrances

• Aquatic therapy treatment that takes advantage of the buoyancy of the body in water, which reduces resistance, allowing freer range of motion and expression of movement

• Herbal remedies natural botanical substances used or taken to promote healing and health. Herbalists recommend evening primrose oil, milk thistle, and passion flower for Parkinson’s disease, and there is some evidence that these might have therapeutic or protective health effects.

• Homeopathy a system of treatment popular in Europe that uses diluted amounts of natural substances to stimulate the body’s own healing responses

• Massage therapy treatment that helps to relax muscles and relieve spasms and rigidity

• Music therapy method that helps to relieve stress and anxiety

• Nutritional and vitamin supplements, including


• Reiki an energy healing method

None of these and no other alternative therapy can take the place of conventional treatment for people with anything but possibly very mild symptoms. It is important to continue with conventional medical care and to make sure the physician

overseeing this care is aware of any and all alternative therapies being used. Sometimes people are reluctant to tell their doctor that they are using alternative therapies, but most physicians are supportive of methods that help relieve symptoms without creating further problems. Herbal remedies, vitamin supplements, and nutritional supplements are drugs and as such can interfere with the actions of medications so it is particularly important to talk with the doctor about these substances before starting them. It is a good idea for people who are using alternative therapies to keep a written journal of what they do or take, both to monitor the effectiveness of these therapies and to record them in case there are interactions with other treatments.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has established the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) to study, monitor, and report on alternative and complementary therapies. To contact NCCAM, write to them or visit their website: NCCAM, National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20892 http://www.nccam.nih.gov

This is an excellent objective resource that lists sources, clinical studies that it supports, and warnings and advisories about fraudulent or hazardous practices.