Many of the people we spoke to described having tried a range of alternative and complementary therapies for their fibromyalgia symptoms. Whilst there is limited evidence that these treatments are effective for fibromyalgia, some people find them helpful. Most (but not all) of the people we spoke to described them as being helpful for their symptoms. Several tried acupuncture, either via some sessions provided by the NHS or paying for the treatment privately. Liz described being frustrated that regular sessions of acupuncture are not available on the NHS, and she cannot afford to pay for long-term private treatment.
Liz has found acupuncture really helps with her pain and sleeping problems. After attending numerous follow-up sessions, she did not experience any fibromyalgia symptoms for several months.
Others described trying hydrotherapy, massage therapy, meditation/mindfulness, yoga, hypnotherapy, cupping, Reiki and trying a range of other treatments and supplements (for example, CBD (cannabidiol) muscle gel, vitamins C and D, passionflower stress relief). Francis has used alternative therapies such as bio-energetic medicine (which includes taking tailor-made vitamins and minerals) over the years. Whilst Francis feels that the doctors ‘do their best’, he thinks that doctors and complementary therapists should ‘work together a lot more’ to better support people with fibromyalgia.
Lyn takes a herbal remedy, and pays privately to see a massage therapist which she finds helpful, despite the financial impact.
Melanie has tried different treatments over the years. She found that hydrotherapy eased her pain.
Chris has engaged in various alternative therapies (such as meditation and mindfulness) which he has found quite helpful.
George went to laughter therapy. Although he was initially sceptical, he found this beneficial.
Lisa would find it helpful if the NHS could either provide or support people to access alternative ways to manage their symptoms, such as swimming passes or massages.
However, some people described certain therapies as not being that helpful for them. Helen sought out alternative treatments, such as massage therapy, which she paid for privately. She no longer uses such treatments as she found they did not improve her symptoms, and the travel distance made it hard to get there.