Use of complementary and alternative medicine by people with MS

What are the goals of the study?

Many people with MS use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for their MS and/or for other health reasons. CAM includes practices or products that are not typically included in standard or conventional healthcare, such as acupuncture, meditation, or herbal therapies.

However, researchers and policymakers don't know how many people with MS are using CAM and which types of CAM they're using. Other unanswered questions include whether people with MS are integrating their CAM practices and services with their usual healthcare, how much they're paying for CAM including any insurance coverage, their reasons for using CAM, and perceived benefit of CAM.

The goal of this study was to learn more about these topics so that the National MS Society could better advocate for access and insurance coverage of CAM on behalf of people with MS.

Who led the study and what was the funding source?

The study was conducted by Gryphon Scientific and colleagues at the Accelerated Cure Project and the Veterans Health Administration. Funding was provided by the National MS Society.

How was the study conducted?

In September 2021, iConquerMS members were invited to fill out a survey asking about their use of CAM services, products and practices. Because the COVID-19 pandemic may have affected people's ability to access certain forms of CAM, we asked people to provide information about calendar years 2019 and 2020.

Topics covered in the survey included:

  • Types of CAM services, products and practices used
  • Out of pocket costs and insurance coverage for CAM
  • Whether the person discussed their use of CAM with their conventional healthcare providers or not
  • Whether the person felt that the type of CAM they used was helpful


The researchers also conducted interviews with a subset of the survey participants to learn more about their experiences with CAM. Another part of the study included analyses of large national health databases with information about CAM.

What is the study status?

The results have been analyzed and a report is in development.

Learn more:

  Video: "Chat with Chat" interview with Dr. Sarah Minden

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Wellness & Diet
iConquerMS members were surveyed about their use of and experience with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Study host: 
Results Under Analysis