Complementary Treatments

Complementary Treatments

"The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well."
 - Hippocrates

Many people who are ill look for options outside of or in addition to the drug and surgery solutions of the medical mainstream. When they do, they find a world of possibilities that can be used alone or in combination with conventional treatments. Some people have found these other approaches have helped them. They can also be detrimental.

In this section we will use the term 'complementary' for non-conventional treatment options.  'Complementary' and 'integrative' refer to these treatments when they are used in addition to conventional treatments. The term 'alternative' applies to these same options when they are used instead of conventional treatments.  Since the name change depends on individual use, we will not differentiate between the various naming possibilities.

When considering complementary approaches to healing, it is wise to use the same questions and cautions as any other treatments. It is also best to work with a healthcare provider who is aware of your or your child’s situation.

ITP does provide one benefit that makes it easier to manage than some other diseases. The platelet count and the symptoms let one know fairly soon whether something is harmful or beneficial. If only one treatment is added at a time it is easier to tell if it is helping or causing problems.

Unfortunately, there has been very little scientific research on the use of complementary treatments specifically for ITP.  For more information on the reasons for this lack of research read the essay, "But where is the evidence?"

Below is a list of complementary approaches that some people have successfully used to raise their platelet count. Click on the bold pink headings for detailed information on why and how these might work for people with ITP.

(The treatment information does not represent an endorsement by PDSA or its medical advisors. For advice on your unique medical condition, please consult your healthcare provider.)

Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine

Holistic healing systems originating thousands of years ago that include acupuncture, exercise, diet, herbal remedies, and meditation among other practices

Energy Therapy

Various healing modalities that seek to enliven and balance the body’s energetic system, referred to as prana, chi, or ki

Mind Body Medicine

The way the mind interacts with and can potentially help heal the body

Herbal Remedies

The use of plants or plant-based extracts to heal

Eating for Health

The use of diet changes or specific foods to promote healing

Vitamins and Supplements

The practice of replacing or adding to the vitamins, amino acids, and other compounds in the body


Using very dilute substances to rebalance the body

Spiritual Connection

The influence of a divine connection on health and healing


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