Complementary therapy use by persons with multiple sclerosis: benefits and research priorities

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2008 Aug;14(3):176-84. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2008.03.001. Epub 2008 May 7.


People with multiple sclerosis (MS) are commonly actively involved in self-care, with many accessing complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to help in symptom management. To provide increased insight into benefits from CAM use and service user ideas over research priorities, a two-part study, involving a questionnaire and interactive workshop, was undertaken with attendees at a national Congress of the MS Trust in the UK. The six most used therapies were reflexology, massage, yoga, relaxation and meditation, acupuncture and aromatherapy. Each was rated by a quarter to two-fifths as 'extremely helpful'. Insight into the nature of the therapeutic benefit was provided in user comments. Despite the self-selected nature of the sample, the findings point to potential benefits of a set of CAM therapies in helping people with MS. More research on potential benefits of therapies was called for by participants and on the dynamics of the therapeutic effect.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Complementary Therapies / classification
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / therapy*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Relaxation
  • Sleep