Investigators from the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle looked at patterns of alternative medicine use among twins where one twin of the pair had CFS and the other did not.  They also looked at the perceived helpfulness of these methods, and how often these therapies were discussed with physicians.

Sixty-three twin pairs completed a survey about their use of 22 alternative therapies.  The study found that ninety-one percent of twins with CFS and 71% of non-CFS twins had used at least 1 alternative treatment in their lifetime.

Twins with CFS were more likely to use homeopathy, mega-vitamins, herbal therapies, biofeedback, relaxation/meditation, guided imagery, massage therapy, energy healing, religious healing by others, and self-help groups than their non-CFS counterparts.

A large proportion of all twins found alternative therapies helpful; however, only 42% of those with CFS and 23% of those without CFS discussed their use of alternative medicine with a physician.

The study concludes that individuals with CFS frequently used alternative medical treatments and found them helpful, but rarely communicated this use to their medical doctor.

Citation:  Afari N, Eisenberg DM, Herrell R, Goldberg J, Kleyman E, Ashton S, Buchwald D. Use of alternative treatments by chronic fatigue syndrome discordant twins. Integrative Medicine. 2000 Mar 21; 2 (2): pages 97-103.