A review conducted by the US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) found that complementary therapies such as yoga, massage therapy, and acupuncture have high potential for managing chronic pain.
The review included evidence from randomized, controlled clinical trials from 1996 to March 2016. The researchers gathered evidence on the efficacy, effectiveness, and safety of seven widely used alternative therapies or groups of therapies: acupuncture; spinal or osteopathic manipulation; massage therapy; tai chi; yoga; relaxation techniques including meditation; and selected natural product supplements.
Researchers found the following approaches resulted in more positive than negative outcomes for helping people manage chronic pain conditions:
- Acupuncture and yoga for back pain
- Acupuncture and tai chi for osteoarthritis of the knee
- Massage therapy for neck pain—with adequate doses and for short-term benefit
- Relaxation techniques for severe headaches and migraine