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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Vitamin A

Antioxidant Vitamins Antioxidant vitamins are among the dietary supplements that are most used by people with MS. Antioxidants act on free radicals, which are chemicals known to damage cells. Antioxidants can affect both the immune and nervous systems. By decreasing the impact of harmful free radicals, cell damage may be reduced. Free radicals play a key […]

Prayer and Spirituality

For tens of thousands of years, religion has been a major aspect of human culture. An overwhelming majority of Americans believe in a God who responds to prayer, and three-quarters of physicians believe faith can help with recovery from an illness. Spirituality refers to a person’s commitment to religious values. Prayer is a practice used […]


Prokarin, or Procarin, is a preparation containing histamine and caffeine originally developed in Washington by Elaine DeLack, a nurse who has MS. This preparation is claimed to help with many MS-associated symptoms. Dr. Bayard Horton and Dr. Hinton Jonez developed a theory about histamine in the 1940s and 1950s, which was the basis for development […]


Reflexology, a therapy similar to acupressure and shiatsu, focuses on applying pressure to specific parts of the foot. This modern practice evolved from zone therapy, developed at the turn of the 20th century by an American ear, nose, and throat specialist named Dr. William Fitzgerald. In the 1930s, zone therapy was modified and renamed reflexology by […]

S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe)

S-adenosylmethionine, also called SAMe or Sammy, is a supplement that is claimed to be an effective treatment for many medical conditions. SAMe occurs naturally within the body and is used in methylation reactions, a common type of biochemical reaction. Methylation reactions also involve folic acid and vitamin B12. Research suggests the SAMe might be beneficial for […]


Selenium is an antioxidant mineral that is sometimes recommended for people with MS. The rationale behind these recommendations is not entirely clear. It may be because selenium is an antioxidant or it may be due to research suggesting that people with MS have low selenium levels. The safety and effectiveness of selenium supplements are unclear. […]

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort has been used to treat various conditions for over 2,000 years. Currently it is most commonly used in treating depression. The active compounds in St. John’s wort have not been clearly established, although hypericin or hyperforin have both been suggested to produce the herb’s therapeutic effects. St. John’s wort may have multiple […]

Swank Diet

Dr. Roy Swank authored some of the original work on dietary fat and MS. In 1948, he started treating people with MS with a low saturated fat, high polyunsaturated fatty acid diet. His diet was very strict, decreasing saturated fat intake to 15 grams per day. Red meat is completely prohibited for the first 12 […]

T’ai Chi

T’ai chi is one component of traditional Chinese medicine. This practice, also called t’ai chi ch’uan, was developed centuries ago in China. The slow, rhythmic body movements of t’ai chi may produce effects similar to both meditation and exercise. In recent years, t’ai chi has become increasingly popular within the United States. Treatment Approach T’ai […]

Therapeutic Touch

Dora Kunz and Delores Krieger developed therapeutic touch in the 1970s. It is a healing method based on the idea that the hands of the practitioner can manipulate life energy. To date, more than 40,000 people have been trained in therapeutic touch and practice in over 70 countries. The idea of life energy is similar […]

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