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NCCIH Clinical Digest

for health professionals

Parkinson’s Disease and Complementary Health Approaches

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May 2018
Parkinson hands

  

Several complementary health approaches have been studied for Parkinson’s disease, and some have shown a positive benefit for the symptoms associated with the disease. There is some limited evidence that tai chi may improve some symptoms of Parkinson’s, but study results are mixed. Some systematic reviews and meta-analyses have found positive effects of acupuncture in people with Parkinson’s disease, but many of the studies have been of low quality so conclusive evidence is still lacking. No dietary supplements have been shown to be beneficial for symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The American Academy of Neurology issued a practice parameter in April 2006 on neuroprotective strategies and alternative therapies for Parkinson’s disease and made evidence-based treatment recommendations that address the needs of specialists and caregivers for people with Parkinson’s disease.

This issue of the digest provides a summary of evidence for several complementary health approaches that have been studied for Parkinson’s disease, including natural products and mind and body practices.

Modality and Summary of Current Evidence

Tai Chi

There is some limited evidence that tai chi may improve some symptoms of Parkinson’s, but study results are mixed.

Read more about the research of tai chi for Parkinson’s Disease.

Acupuncture

Recent reviews and meta-analyses have found beneficial effects of acupuncture in people with Parkinson’s disease, but because of methodological flaws in many of the studies, conclusive evidence is still lacking.

Read more about the research of acupuncture for Parkinson’s Disease.

Massage

Only a few studies have been conducted on massage therapy for symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, so there is insufficient data to support or refute its use.

Read more about the research of massage therapy for Parkinson’s Disease.

Dancing and Music-Based Interventions

There is some evidence for the effects of music-based interventions on supporting cognition, motor function, or emotional wellbeing in people with Parkinson’s disease. There is also some limited evidence that dance, such as the Argentine tango, can be a supportive approach for people with Parkinson’s disease and has the potential to improve specific symptoms of Parkinson’s, including motor severity and balance over the short term.

Read more about the research of dancing and music-based interventions for Parkinson’s Disease.

Coenzyme Q10

Only a few trials have been conducted on coenzyme Q10 for Parkinson’s disease, so there aren’t enough data to determine whether coenzyme Q10 has any effect on symptoms.

Read more about the research of coenzyme Q10 for Parkinson’s Disease.

Creatine

There is insufficient evidence to determine whether creatine used alone or as an adjuvant treatment is efficacious for Parkinson’s disease.

Read more about the research of creatine for Parkinson’s Disease.

Mucuna pruriens (Velvet bean)

There is some limited evidence that Mucuna pruriens may have beneficial effects on some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease such as motor function.

Read more about the research of Mucuna pruriens (velvet bean) for Parkinson’s Disease.

Vitamin E

Results of studies suggest that vitamin E may not be useful in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Read more about the research of vitamin E for Parkinson’s Disease.

NCCIH Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NIH, DHHS. NCCIH Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCIH-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCIH's Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCIH Web site at nccih.nih.gov. NCCIH is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.

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Content is in the public domain and may be reprinted, except if marked as copyrighted (©). Please credit the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health as the source. All copyrighted material is the property of its respective owners and may not be reprinted without their permission.

This page last modified June 09, 2018