Lifestyle and Alternative Medicine

Authors: Nathaniel C. Bowling, MD, and Allen C. Bowling, MD, PhD
Complementary and Alternative Medicine information and services offered by Dr. Allen Bowling

DISCLAIMER: Multiple Sclerosis is a serious medical condition. Multiple Sclerosis should not be diagnosed or treated on one's own. The information on this site is for informational purposes only. This information should not be viewed as a substitute for visiting your health care provider or for using conventional medications. Before considering lifestyle or unconventional therapies, one should read about Precautions. It is highly recommended that you contact your health professional before using any of these therapies.

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Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is the most extensively researched herb. Numerous clinical studies have been conducted to evaluate its therapeutic value in many different conditions. In general, Ginkgo biloba refers to an extract produced from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree. Some have recommended this herb as a therapy for MS. The recent popularity of Ginkgo biloba can be […]


Many different types of ginseng are commercially available. Among them, the most common and also the most studied type is Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng). Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), also called eleuthero, is another relatively common form. Ginseng is an adaptogen, a compound claimed to increase both energy levels and resistance to stress. The biological actions of […]

Guided Imagery

Guided imagery, a type of mind-body medicine, is used most commonly to induce relaxation. It can also be used for other purposes. Treatment Approach In guided imagery, a person imagines and focuses on images that are intended to have specific effects on the body. To produce a relaxed state, one might imagine a peaceful place, […]


Coffee and Other Caffeine-Containing Herbs and Supplements Caffeine-containing herbs and supplements are consumed around the world. Of these, coffee is the most popular. The caffeine in coffee increases alertness and decreases fatigue, as anyone who enjoys a morning cup of coffee is well aware. Despite widespread caffeine use, no rigorous, well designed study has evaluated […]

Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Hippotherapy refers to the use of horseback riding as a treatment for medical conditions. Therapeutic horseback riding, a treatment similar to hippotherapy, aims to both provide this treatment and to train people in proper riding technique. Horseback riding has a long history as a therapeutic intervention. In the fifth century B.C., it was used in […]


Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician developed homeopathy in the 19th century.  Homeopathy is a controversial type of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).  Many of the basic principles of homeopathy directly conflict with conventional understanding of chemistry, physics, biology, and medicine. Despite these concerns, homeopathy is one of the most popular forms of CAM in the […]

Hyperbaric Oxygen

Hyperbaric oxygen is one form of oxygen therapy thought to be effective for treating many diseases. Some claim that it is beneficial for treating MS. These claims are, unfortunately, unsubstantiated. Treatment Approach In hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a person is put into a specially designed chamber. Inside the chamber, the person breathes oxygen under increased pressure. […]


Hypnosis is a mind-body approach which uses mental processes to change physical processes. Other mind-body techniques include biofeedback and meditation. There has been an interest in the therapeutic potential of hypnosis for centuries. Franz Mesmer, an 18th century Austrian physician, used a technique called mesmerism to relax his patients. Magicians and vaudeville performers have popularized hypnosis. […]

Kava Kava

Kava kava is claimed to have relaxant effects. People in the Pacific islands have used kava kava for centuries. The active compounds in this herb, called kavalactones or kavapyrones, act on the same proteins in the nervous system as diazepam (Valium), an anti-anxiety medication. Some research suggests that kava kava may improve mild anxiety, although it does […]

Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN)

Naltrexone is an oral medication typically used to treat alcohol and opiate addiction. Some have suggested that low-dose naltrexone (LDN) might prevent MS attacks, help treat symptoms, and slow the overall course of the disease. Similar claims have been made for the use of LDN for treating AIDS, cancer, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. […]

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