The therapies described in this leaflet are not a cure for MND

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					76 Firhill Road Glasgow G20 7BA Tel 0141 945 1077 Fax 0141 945 2578 E-mail Web:


Jan 2003

Complementary Therapies for people with MND and Carers
Many but not all complementary practitioners believe disease exists at a variety of levels physical, psychological, social and spiritual. The Holistic approach to medicine believes in treating the ‘whole person’ with a mix of conventional medicine and complementary medicine in a unique and balanced manner. The complementary therapies described in this leaflet are not a cure for MND. However people with MND and their carers may wish to explore their effects on physical and psychological complications caused by MND e.g. joint stiffness, pain, mood etc.. Meditation Meditation relaxation – conscious relaxation, chosen relaxation. Deep relaxation and peace of mind can be achieved with meditation. It is an extremely positive way to spend time alone or with those who are close to you. Meditating is actually easier than you might imagine. Most of us have dabbled in meditation by participating in conscious relaxation when stress levels are high. Start by paying attention to breathing. The practical effort to focus completely on breathing takes peoples minds away from what is often referred to as "mind clutter" constantly trying to invade our mind and eliminate feelings that will lead to calm. With repeated practice the goal of clearing ones mind may result in peace and calmness. Local classes at health centres are often available there may be a local class near you. Health magazines and specialist books can provide excellent information and guidance. Music and videos available at bookshops and via the web can be an accessible way to learn how to relax through mediation. Teachers may even provide private lessons at home for those with mobility problems. Check the yellow pages or search the web for mediation related sites. For ideas and information visit,, The Australian webpage at is an excellent source of information on relaxation, visualisation and meditation for people with MND.

Reiki Reiki is an ancient form of healing. It was rediscovered by Dr. Mikao Usui of Kyoto, Japan towards the end of the 19th Century. REI : Universal, Higher Knowledge KI : Life energy or vital life force. The Reiki therapist’s body channels this energy through his or her hands to the recipient, activating the body's natural ability to heal itself. It is believed that Reiki energy goes to the deeper levels of a persons being, it works wherever the recipient needs it most, releasing blocked energies, cleansing the body of toxins, relieving stress, alleviating pain and working to recreate the natural stage of balance. Reiki reinforces the patients ability to take responsibility for their life, and also helps them to make the necessary changes in attitude and lifestyle to promote a happier and healthier life. Reiki healing and treatment centres exist throughout Scotland. College evening classes and weekend courses are available throughout the country. Contact your local Reiki training centre listed in the Yellow Pages to find out more. Reflexology Reflexology works on the feet or hands enabling the body to heal itself. Following illness, stress, injury or disease, the body is in a state of "imbalance", and vital energy pathways are blocked. Reflexology can be used to help the body approach natural equilibrium and encourage healing. Reflexologists use hands only to apply pressure to the feet. For each person the application and the effect of the therapy is unique. Sensitive, trained hands can release tension and improve circulation. Since reflexology treats the whole person, not just the symptoms of disease, most people benefit from treatment. Reflexology can benefit almost everyone including children. An increasing number of people are using this safe, natural therapy as a way of relaxing, balancing and harmonising the body. On your first visit there is a preliminary talk with the practitioner. The Reflexologist then begins to work on your feet, or hands if necessary, noting problem areas. Discomfort can occur initially in some places, but it is fleeting, and is an indication of congestion or imbalance in a corresponding part of the body. For the most part, the sensation is pleasant and soothing. Usually a treatment session lasts between 30 minutes to 1 hour. A course of treatment varies in length depending on your body's needs. Your Reflexologist will discuss this with you at the first session. Contact the Association of Reflexologists on 0870 5673320, Email:

Hypnosis Hypnotherapy, is today a highly recognised, respected and sought after tool for healing and changing behavior patterns. Hypnotherapy uses a combination of skills, including counseling, mind analysis and hypnotic techniques. Hypnosis is purely a state of deep relaxation which helps a therapist to bypass a person’s conscious mind to allow direct communication with the subconscious mind. By using these hypnotic techniques a skilled therapist can help to direct a client towards therapeutic benefit, and in doing so, help clients to alleviate many types of problems of a physical or psychological nature. Hypnotherapy can be of extremely effective benefit to many types of problems over a widespread spectrum, including: Fears, Phobias, Habits, Smoking, Weight, Confidence, Stress, Panic, Sleep problems, Anxiety, Behavioral problems. Hypnotherapy is rapidly becoming more accepted by the medical profession. The British Society for Medical and Dental Hypnosis Scotland provides details of registered Medical and Dental hypnotherapists in Scotland for patients wishing hypnotherapy. The Society is very concerned about high ethical standards in the practice of hypnotherapy. All members come under the jurisdiction of the Medical and Dental Councils. Persons may be seen at practitioners’ surgeries or consulting rooms. Tel No: 0141 556 1606 Fax No: 0141 556 9104 Acupuncture Acupuncture focuses treatment on the person rather than the disease. It is appropriate when you feel ‘unwell in yourself’. The effect of good acupuncture can lead to increased energy and vitality, greater enjoyment of life, greater confidence, better sleep and a more normal appetite. Patients are treated using thin needles inserted in a carefully chosen combination of acupuncture points. The needles are left in situ or stimulated in situ for up to 20 minutes. Over the past 30 years evidence has gathered on many of the basic mechanisms of acupuncture, it can alter blood supply and change release of chemical transmitters in the body to alter mood and stiffness. Painful conditions affecting muscles and bones respond well to acupuncture. Other conditions including bed sores, depression, itch and bowel movement may also be helped by acupuncture. The British Medical Acupuncture Society provides information on local registered specialists contact Tel: 01925 730727, Fax: 01925 730492. Aromatherapy Aromatherapy has been around and has been practised in one form or another since the beginning of civilisation. It is the art, and science, of using oils extracted from aromatic plants to enhance health. Apart from the physical benefits, essential oils can have subtle effects on the mind and emotions. The essential oils taken from plants and used in Aromatherapy have been described as their "life force" - they are essential to the plants' biological process, as well as being the substance which gives them their scent. Essential oils are extracted from flowers, herbs, spices, woods and fibres.

Massage The most effective method of using the oils, combining their properties with the therapeutic power of touch. The oils should be diluted with an odourless carrier oil such as grapeseed, sweet almond or peach kernel. Using oils in baths is a simple pleasant way to relax and receive the therapeutic effects. Water itself has therapeutic value which enhances the powers of the oils. To use, add 6 to 10 drops of essential oil, (or a blend), to the surface of the water immerse yourself for about 20 minutes, whilst you inhale the vapour. The essential oils can also be beneficial using vapourisers, compresses and as perfumes. Local health shops have full ranges of all essential oils for you to use in the home. Positive effects of some Essential Oils ANGER Ylang Ylang ANXIETY Bergamot , Petitgrain BOREDOM Lemongrass DEPRESSION Basil, Bergamot , Immortelle, Lavender , GRIEF Melissa HEADACHE Chamomile, Lavender NERVOUS EXHAUSTION & FATIGUE Basil, Peppermint INSOMNIA Chamomile, Lavender, Marjoram LOSS OF APPETITE Bergamot MIGRAINE Lavender NERVOUS TENSION & STRESS Benzoin, Bergamot, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Lavender, Sandalwood, Vetivert SHOCK Peppermint , Petitgrain FEVERS Eucalyptus , Lemongrass You may wish treatment with a trained therapist, however aromatherapy massage can be very relaxing when used in the home with carers and family. Aromatherapy courses are available at colleges, health centres and at weekend retreat centres.

The Scottish Motor Neurone Disease Association has a Library and Information Centre for people with MND and health professionals. If you would like a reading list on the complementary therapies mentioned in this Infofact contact our Information Officer/Librarian on 0141 945 1077 or email us at

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