Complementary therapies refers to types of treatments outside of the traditional western medical mainstream when used alongside medical treatment.

Some of the most popular complementary therapies are:

  • Acupuncture

Traditional Chinese Acupuncture
This is a part of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting fine needles into your body. It is used to relieve pain and to treat stress, anxiety and depression.

Western Medical Acupuncture
This is an adaption of the traditional Chinese method using current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology and the principles of evidence-based medicine. It involves inserting fine needles into your body. It is mainly used to treat musculoskeletal pain.

  • Hypnosis

This is a psychological technique where either by yourself or in response to a therapist you enter a hypnotic state. It is mainly used to help with pain management but can also be used for stress, anxiety and depression.

  • Reflexology

This is when pressure is applied to different parts of your feet and hands that through reflex zones and meridian points correspond to different parts of the body. It is mainly used for general aches, pains, stress-related problems, anxiety and depression.

  • Autogenic training (meditation)

This is a structured-meditative style practice involving a sequence of simple mental exercises. It is recommended for conditions where stress significantly contributes to ill-health.

  • Homeopathy

This is the treatment of an illness by being given a minute dose of a natural substance that in a larger amounts would produce symptoms of that illness, aiming to stimulate your own body’s healing processes.

  • Craniosacral therapy

This is the use of gentle touch therapy that aims to release tensions, restrictions and misalignments in the body. It can be used for muscular pains, stress and anxiety.

Among numerous other therapies that are not on this list, others that members have sometimes mentioned as being helpful include Aromatherapy, Alexander Technique, Reiki, Shiatzu and Iridology.


Each complementary therapy will follow a different process. Any complementary treatment should be discussed and agreed with your GP or neurologist before starting, to ensure there is no risk of aggravating your condition.


Complementary therapies that are effective for some people may not work at all for others.


Complementary therapies are not an alternative to treatment by conventional medicine. They may help you feel better in yourself and cope better with your condition.


If provided privately, they are sometimes expensive and are not guaranteed to work. Private practitioners are usually not medically qualified and are often unregulated. You therefore need to be extremely careful who you choose and ensure that they are aware of your medical history. We cannot provide contacts or advice on choosing practitioners.


There are currently no complementary therapies for dystonia recommended by the NHS, however, the complementary therapies listed here have sometimes been mentioned by members with dystonia as being helpful.


Complementary therapies are sometimes available on the NHS. All the therapies listed are offered by Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine.