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Alternative Treatments for Parkinson's Disease

The term alternative therapy, in general, is used todescribe any medical treatment or intervention that has not been scientifically documented or identified as safe or effective for a specific condition. Alternative therapy encompasses a variety of disciplines including acupuncture, guided imagery, chiropractic, yoga, hypnosis, biofeedback, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbal remedies, massage and many others. Vitamin E is one alternative treatment that may help people with Parkinson's disease.

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Nutrition and Supplements:

A low protein diet helps the body use levodopa and carbidopa most efficiently, so people who take these drugs are advised to control their intake of protein, and eat most protein in the evening and very little at breakfast or lunch. Your doctor should monitor your diet to make sure you get enough nutrients. In addition, a fiber supplement may help avoid constipation, which is a common symptom of Parkinson's.

Herbs:

Herbs are generally a safe way to strengthen and tone the body's systems. As with any therapy, you should work with your health care provider to get your problem diagnosed before starting any treatment. You may use herbs as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, you should make teas with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 - 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 - 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 - 4 cups per day. You may use tinctures alone or in combination as noted.

Homeopathy:

Usually, the dose is three to five pellets of a 12X to 30C remedy every 1 - 4 hours until your symptoms get better. Because Parkinson's is a complex disease, you should consult a trained homeopath who can determine the appropriate remedy and change it as often as symptoms change.

Massage:

May help with increasing circulation and decreasing muscle spasm. Cranio-sacral therapy, an osteopathic form of body work that focuses on the brain and spinal column, may decrease tremors and improve function.

Movement Therapies:

May help people with Parkinson's improve motor skills and balance, and help them walk better.

  • Music therapy: A recent study showed symptoms improved with music and dance therapy compared to physical therapy
  • Alexander Technique: emphasizes posture and balance. May help improve mobility and gait
  • Feldenkrais Method: aims to re-educate the body about movements that are difficult. May improve gait

Mind-Body Therapies:

Tai chi and yoga can improve balance, flexibility, and range of motion in people with Parkinson's disease. They may also improve emotional well-being.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture

Traditional Chinese medicine views disease as caused by internal imbalances. It has historically been used to treat Parkinson's with acupuncture and individually prepared herbal remedies. One study showed that acupuncture improved symptoms significantly in a small group of people with Parkinson's. In particular, scalp acupuncture and acupuncture with electrical stimulation have shown positive results in some cases. If you consult a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, make sure your doctor is aware of any suggested treatment.

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All material provided in this site is provided for educational purposes only. The information provided may not be relied upon for diagnosis or treatment of any disease or medical condition. Seek advice from your health care professional regarding the applicability of any information, opinion or recommendation for diagnosis or treatment of any symptoms or medical condition. Statements about products and health conditions have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.