Complementary therapies

There is no universal definition of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM), and there are sometimes misunderstandings over what complementary therapies actually are and the distinct differences with alternative therapies. From a medical view point complementary therapies are any treatments that run alongside conventional treatments for people with myeloroliferative neoplasms (MPNs), whilst alternative therapies is usually treatment that is received instead of conventional medical treatment.

Most conventional treatments for MPNs have undergone rigorous testing for effectiveness and safety for patients whereas for alternative therapies there is not always scientific supporting evidence for their effectiveness or safety.

Complementary treatments are often considered to help a patient cope with a health condition or improve the quality of life. A complementary therapist won’t claim that the therapy offered will cure your MPN.

Examples of complementary therapy which have been used by MPN patients include:

  • Reflexology and massage therapy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Accupuncture

If you wish to explore the potential of complementary therapy, do involve your medical care team, either GP or haematologist who can advise you on the safety of any treatments and equally remember it’s important to let your complementary therapist know about your conventional medical treatment.

Complementary therapies are available from many different people and organisations and in most cases the NHS does not offer MPN patients complementary treatments. If you do decide to use a complementary therapist it’s up to you to find a practitioner that will administer treatment in a way that is acceptable and trusted by you. 

For more information on chosing a complementary therapist visit the NHS website.