Complementary Therapies for COPD

What Is Complementary Therapy?

Complementary therapy is a type of therapy that is used along with standard COPD treatment. Types of complementary therapy may include meditation, deep breathing, massage, energy work, or dietary supplements. When you combine complementary therapy with your standard COPD treatment, it is called integrative medicine

Integrative medicine can be used to control pain, reduce anxiety, lessen side effects and improve your quality of life. It is important to discuss participating in integrated medicine activities with your healthcare provider. You need to know that the therapies will not interfere with your standard treatment or cause alternate side effects. 

You should never stop your standard treatment without consulting with your healthcare provider.

Mind and Body Medicines

  • Meditation
  • Biofeedback
  • Yoga

Biology Based Practices

  • Vitamins
  • Herbs
  • Special Diets

Touch Based Practices

  • Massage
  • Chiropractic Care
  • Reflexology

Energy Work

  • Tai Chi
  • Reiki
  • Therapeutic Touch

Whole Medical Systems

  • Ayurvedic Medicine
  • Chinese Medicine
  • Naturopathic Medicine

Use Caution

Some complementary techniques can help treat symptoms and make you feel better. Unfortunately, some treatments make claims that are not backed by science. Some even can be harmful. As you consider your options, here are some important steps you can take:

  • Look for "red flags." Do NOT receive any treatment that:
    • Promises to cure COPD
    • Tells you not to have regular medical treatments
    • Is a "secret" that requires you to visit certain providers or travel to another country
    • Is not approved by your healthcare provider
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about any method you are thinking about using.
  • Ask practitioners to work with your providers. Avoid any who refuse.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider before participating in any complementary therapies.

View our statement on Stem Cell Therapy for Lung Disease for specific information related to this intervention.

Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel.

Page last updated: March 27, 2023

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