Alternative medical approaches to multiple sclerosis

People who practice alternative, unconventional, natural, or holistic medicine view multiple sclerosis (MS) as a complex disease with several different causes. They believe that making changes in diet, environment, and lifestyle can ease the symptoms of MS and possibly even reverse the course of the disease. However, medical research has been unable to show that alternative or nonmedical treatments influence the course of the disease. These treatments are not recommended.

People who practice alternative medicine believe one or more of the following factors may increase the risk of having an attack of MS:

  • Dietary deficiencies
  • Sensitivity to foods and environmental toxins (including mercury amalgam in dental work)
  • Sensitivity to stress and trauma
  • Viral infection while at a young age that causes a permanent, partial breakdown in the immune system

Discuss your treatment options with your doctor before trying any type of unconventional treatment for MS. You can also get reliable advice from an MS treatment center or the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Last Updated: February 18, 2010

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