Support & Information
Living with MND

Alternative treatments

Many people with MND find treatment with complementary therapies helpful. Treatments such as aromatherapy, therapeutic massage, Indian head massage, reiki, or reflexology may assist with stress management, pain relief, muscle cramps, or relaxation.

Complementary therapies will complement existing medical care and should not be seen as a replacement to current prescribed medication.

Costly and unproven treatments are sometimes recommended by well-meaning people. Professional advice should be sought before embarking on unproven therapies.

It is important to discuss the likely benefits of expensive therapy compared with, for example, changes to the home, employment of additional home assistance, or the peace of mind of the person who wishes to leave their family well provided for.

Useful websites

ALS Untangled

Helps people with MND/ALS review alternative, complementary and off-label treatments. View ALS Untagled.

A very useful and thorough guide on how to weigh up claims of cures and interventions.

The internet can be a valuable source of health information. However, health information on websites should not take the place of your health provider/patient relationship. There are many factors that need to be considered in relation to your health. You should use the internet as an information resource and ask a health professional about any issues raised by the information or anything that you don’t understand, such as medical terms.

You should also avoid any online health practitioner who proposes to diagnose or treat you without a proper physical examination and a full consultation regarding your medical history.

Statement on Alternative Treatments

The International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations, of which MND New Zealand is a member, provides the following Statement on Alternative Treatments.

(The term ‘Alternative’ used here refers to treatments or interventions that are not part of mainstream, conventional, or Western medicine and generally have not been scientifically documented and/or may not be recognised as being safe and effective for MND).

The International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations:

  • Recognises the interest that people affected by ALS/MND can have in seeking alternative forms of treatments
  • Supports the individual’s right to choose what treatment they wish to undertake but would strongly encourage anyone considering any treatment to fully discuss the issues around such treatment with their doctor, health care professional and family before making a final decision
  • Believe that treatments for, and research into, ALS/MND should be legal, have a sound scientific rationale and have the potential to bring us closer to the cause, treatment or cure for the condition
  • Only recommends treatments that have been proven through thorough scientific testing and clinical trials to be safe and effective
  • Recommends all providers of non‐proven and/or alternative treatments for those affected by ALS/MND to conduct scientific research and submit papers to the appropriately recognised journals so that peer review can be undertaken, and the information can be shared amongst the whole ALS/MND community.


When looking at alternative treatments, the International Alliance would recommend that you give careful consideration to the following questions to help you think through the issues and to make an informed decision:

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