Various complementary and alternative therapies are available to help treat Parkinson’s disease; however, the success of these treatments is not well documented. Before trying any of these complementary and alternative therapies please talk to your doctor. Your doctor will help you decide if these changes are right for you and will make sure they do not interfere with other treatment options or medications you are taking.
The Alexander Technique is a training program that helps teach people how to have better posture. Massage therapy may be beneficial in treating muscle stiffness and helping with relaxation. Studies did not find that acupuncture was an effective treatment option for Parkinson’s disease.
Researchers have found various vitamins and herbs to be of some possible benefit for treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Cytidinediphosphocholine (CDP-choline) may increase dopamine in the brain; however, side effects include nausea, dizziness, fatigue, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Ginger has been found to help alleviate nausea when taking Sinement. S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) may help alleviate the symptoms of depression (depression is a common side effect from taking Levodopa).
There is very little evidence of various vitamins and herbs being beneficial. CoQ10 rasagiline (AGilect), might help to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Phosphatidylserine might help in improving mental function and Vitamin C may help with alleviating symptoms of the on-off effect. This on-off effect is common for people taking levodopa. St. John’s wort may be beneficial in treating symptoms of mild and moderate depression. When taking levodopa, people experience sudden and temporary “freezes” where the person is unable to move. There is also little evidence of the effectiveness of Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, vitamin E, and creatin.
There are various treatments that researchers have recommended that people with Parkinson’s disease should avoid. Glutathione, policosanol, D-phenylalanine, L-methionine, and the herb kava could interfere with the function of Levodopa. The supplement 5-hydroxytryptophan should not be taken with carbidopa. Iron supplements, amino acid supplements, methionine and phenylalanine supplements, and more than 5mg per day of vitamin B 6 should also be avoided.
Additional resources that provide an overview of the different complementary and alternative therapies for treating Parkinson’s disease
- Complementary Medicine – Parkinson’s Disease (University of Maryland Medical Center)
- Alternative Medicine (Mayo Clinic)
- Complementary and Supportive Therapies (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
Additional resources that provide a more information on massage and the Alexander Technique for treating Parkinson’s disease
- Alexander Technique and Parkinson’s Disease (Natural Standard)
- What is the Alexander Technique? (American Society for the Alexander Technique)
- FAQ (American Society for the Alexander Technique)
- Massage Therapy: Is it for You? (National Parkinson Foundation)
Additional resources that provide more information on vitamins and herbal supplements for treating Parkinson’s disease:
- Can Dietary Supplements Help with Parkinson’s Disease? (National Institutes of Health)
- Complementary Treatment (National Parkinson Foundation)
- Nutritional Supplements and Vitamins: Alternatives to Help Parkinson’s Disease? (Parkinson’s Disease Foundation)