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From the Alternative Medicine Foundation, Inc.


teepsh.jpg (3095 bytes)    Introduction
teeqpu.jpg (4050 bytes)    Books
teeush.jpg (2789 bytes)    Journals & Key Articles
teeysh.jpg (3294 bytes)    Professional Organizations
teepsh.jpg (3095 bytes)    Government Resources
teeush.jpg (2789 bytes)    Self-help and Referral organizations
teeysh.jpg (3294 bytes)    Web Resources

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The resources contained in this guide relate to alternative and complementary therapy options available for autoimmune diseases.  There are many more books and resources available.  The following have been selected as key resources that will lead you to other information sources.  They have been carefully categorized and factually described to facilitate your own research.  Some key conventional medicine research resources have been included to provide basic information on the process of diagnosis and orthodox treatments before exploring other options.

Conventional Approaches

The immune system is the body's most specialized defense mechanism. Its main function is to protect against any foreign intruders, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi. It is a complex system that relies on an intricate network of many different cells patrolling the body. In autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, scleroderma, pernicious anemia, myasthenia gravis, and Hashimoto's disease, specific cells uncontrollably attack the body's own tissues. Conventional treatments, such as corticosteroids for rheumatoid arthritis, suppress the immune system in the attempt to prevent destruction of self-tissues. While these types of treatments are useful in limiting some symptoms and managing pain, this approach does not result in a cure. Furthermore, other adverse symptoms or side effects may develop after long-term use of these suppressive drugs.

Alternative Approaches

Any medical approach for treatment should be well researched and designed for the individual's unique set of health issues to avoid the development of secondary symptoms and side effects. Most autoimmune disorders have no cure as yet. While the alternative approaches emphasize pain management, there is also a focus on treating the underlying causes of symptoms. One aspect of alternative therapies is that they provide a means for both physical and mental healing, which is often of great importance to patients who live with autoimmune disorders.

For additional resources on relevant Alternative and Complementary Resources, see our Resource Guides on:

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NOTE:  The following listings are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to be used as a guide for treatment.  They are provided for information only.  The resources are selected and categorized to help you with your own research.


Allen C. Bowling, MD PhD
Alternative Medicine and Multiple Sclerosis
Demos Medical Publishing, Inc, 2001
Written by the Associate Medical Director of the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center, Englewood, Colorado, this book covers a wide range of therapies that have been used by his patients.

werbach.jpg (5335 bytes) Melvyn Werbach, MD
Nutritional Influences on Illness: A Sourcebook of Clinical Research
Third Line Press, 1999
Guide to the research and medical literature relating to the nutritional components of health and illness uses thousands of studies to explore a number of major health problems, including several autoimmune diseases.


michael.gif (4964 bytes) Mary Shomon
Living Well With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia:
What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You...That You Need to Know
Harper Collins, 2004
A broad introduction to chronic fatique syndrome and fibromyalgia focusing on causes, available conventional and alternative therapies, including trigger point massage, botanicals, minerals and vitamins. Also included is a checklist of symptoms, a guide to finding a practitioner, and an extensive resources section of patient support organizations and web sites.

michael.gif (4964 bytes) Mary Shomon
Living Well With Autoimmune disease:
What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You...That You Need to Know
Harper Collins, 2002
The author, who has Hashimoto's thyroiditis, explains how the immune system is supposed to work, and what can go wrong. She discusses over 20 specific autoimmune diseases, covering symptoms, diagnosis, and integrative medical treatment. Also included is a checklist of risk factors, a guide to finding a practitioner, patient support organizations, web sites, and books.

gordin.gif (9389 bytes) Leonid Gordin & Craig Weatherby
The Arthritis Bible:
A Comprehensive Guide to Alternative Therapies and Conventional Treatments for Arthritic Diseases Including Osteoarthrosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout, Fibromyalgia and More
Inner Traditions International, 1999
Comprehensive information resource on available treatments (alternative and conventional) for arthritis and related diseases, such as gout and fibromyalgia.   Lists organizations, publications and web sites devoted to arthritis.

flax.jpg (4265 bytes) Kate Flax
Healing Options: A Report on Graves' Disease Treatments
Sally Breer publications, 1998
This is a book of help for people with Graves' disease and the people who live with them. Included are stories about this disease, about people who live with it, about standard and alternative treatments, and how to find help.

Goldberg_Chronic.jpg (6895 bytes) Burton Goldberg (ed.)
Alternative Medicine Guide to Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia and Environmental Illness
Future Medicine Publishing, 1998
In this book, 26 leading physicians explain the nontoxic alternative medicine treatments and natural substances that brought relief to their patients suffering from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and environmental illness.

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Alternative Medicine Review
Thorne Research, Dover, ID

This peer-reviewed journal reports current scientific research on alternative therapies, including various autoimmune diseases.

Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
Innovision Health Media, Boulder, CO
Phone (760) 633-3910
Toll free: (800) 345-8112

A bimonthly clinical research journal with particular emphasis on mind/body approaches to wellness; has occasional articles on autoimmune disease.

Cell Press, Cambridge, MA.
A monthly scientific journal that publishes research articles and reviews of general interest in the entire discipline of immunology, including all systems that contribute to, or interact with the immune system. Featured articles are freely available on the journal web site.

There are many more academic scientific and clinical journals, primarily for researchers, that have not been listed here. Their primary focus is conventional medicine although they increasingly include alternative and complementary approaches.


D. Taibi & C. Bourguignon
The Role of Complementary and Alternative Therapies in Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis
Family Community Health, 2003 Jan-Mar, 26 (1): 41-52.
A brief, evidence-based overview of complementary and alternative medicine therapies in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, as well as further resources for health care providers.

T. Patavino & D. Brady
Natural medicine and nutritional therapy as an alternative treatment in systemic lupus erythematosus
Alternative Medicine Review, 2001 Oct; 6(5): 460-71

Conventional medicine typically approaches lupus with the use of corticosteroids, non-steroidal ainti-inflammatory drugs, antimalarial drugs, and chemotherapeutic agents. Alternative treatments including natural medicine and nutritional therapy have been shown to have an impact on the activity of the disease.

P. Kidd
Multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune inflammatory disease: prospects for its integrative management
Alternative Medicine Review, 2001 Dec; 6(6): 540-66

Discusses how early intervention with integrative modalities may have the potential to make MS a more manageable disease.

S. Sukenik, M. Abu-Shakra, and D. Flusser
Balneotherapy (Hydrotherapy) in Autoimmune Disease
Isr J Med Sci, 1997 Apr; 33(4): 258-61.
The mechanisms of action of balneotherapy in the treatment of autoimmune disease does not replace but rather complements conventional drug therapy, and is beneficial in some specific cases.

L.S. Harbige
Nutrition and Immunity with Emphasis on Infection and Autoimmune Disease
Nutrition and Health, 1996, 10 (4): 285-312.
Nutrition and nutritional status can have profound effects on immune functions, resistance to infection and autoimmunity in humans. Understanding the molecular and cellular immunological mechanisms involved in nutrient-immune interactions will increase our applications for nutrition of the immune system in health and in disease.

J. Condemi
The Autoimmune Diseases
Journal of the American Medical Association, 1992 Nov 25; 268 (20): 2882-92.

M. Cohen
Chinese Medicine in the Treatment of Chronic Immunodeficiency: Diagnosis and Treatment
American Journal of Acupuncture, 1990, 18 (2).
Cohen is the Executive Director of the Quan Yin Healing Arts Center, 455 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94103. For more information, contact the center at (415) 861-4964 or

J. Leclere & G. Weryha
Stress and Auto-immune Endocrine Diseases
Hormone Research, 1989, 31 (1-2): 90-3.
Auto-immunity may occur in all endocrine tissues, with a particular prevalence in the thyroid and pancreas. The recent findings on the close relations between the immune system and the central nervous system lead to the conclusion that there may be a relationship between psychological, neurological, endocrine, and immune factors, which might explain the eventual priming effect of stress in patients predisposed for an organ-specific auto-immunity.

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American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (AAMA)

1970 E. Grand Ave., Suite 330
El Segundo, CA 90245
Phone: (310) 364-0193
Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation at very precise acupuncture points. Medical acupuncture is a system which can influence the promotion of health and well-being, prevention of illness, and treatment of various medical conditions.

American Autoimmune Related Disease Association, Inc. (AARDA)
National Office:
22100 Gratiot Avenue
East Detroit, MI 48021-2227
Tel: (586) 776-3900
Fax: (586) 776-3903
Literature requests: (800) 598-4668
Email: via contact form on website

Washington office:
750 17th Street, NW, Suite 1100
Washington DC 20006
Phone: (202) 466-8511

The AARDA is the only national organization dedicated to addressing the problem of autoimmunity. Research Reports links to new and relevant studies, and InFocus links to review articles in AARDA's nationally distributed quarterly newsletter.

American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM)
24411 Ridge Route, Suite 115
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Phone: (949) 309-3520

Fax: (949) 309-3538
Toll-free: (800) 532-3688
E-mail: or contact form on site
ACAM is a non-profit medical society dedicated to educating physicians on the latest findings and emerging procedures in complementary/alternative medicine. The web site offers information on alternative medicine to both physicians and the general public, and a current list of certified ACAM doctors.

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National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894
This searchable site is a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Contents include overviews, diagnosis, symptoms, conventional and alternative therapies, and links to specific autoimmune conditions.

National Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Information Clearinghouse
National Institutes of Health
1 AMS Circle
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-3675
Phone: (301) 495-4484
Toll-free: (877) 22 NIAMS (226-4267)
TTY: (301) 565-2966
Fax: (301) 718-6366
NAMSIC serves the public, patients, and health professionals by providing information (primarily conventional), locating other information sources, creating health information materials, and participating in a national Federal database on health information.

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Autoimmune Information Network
P.O. Box 4121
Brick, NJ 08723
Phone: (732) 664-9259
A non-profit organization that helps patients and their families cope with the disabling effects of autoimmune disease through education and public awareness. The AIN directs patients to medication assistance programs, support groups, physicians and much more. Center for Alternative Medicine Research in Asthma and Immunology.

The International Pemphigus & Pemphigoid Foundation (IPPF)
2701 Cottage Way, Suite 16
Sacramento, CA 95825
Phone: (916) 922-1298
Fax: (916) 922-1458
Toll-free: (866) 628-1298
Email: via contact form on website
Dedicated to educating the medical community and the public about pemphigus, a rare autoimmune disease, to support research for a cure, and to give care and comfort to those afflicted.

The Lupus Foundation of America
2000 L Street, N.W., Suite 710
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 349-1155
Fax: (202) 349-1156
Toll-free: (800) 558-0121 (English/Spanish)
A non-profit voluntary health organization dedicated to finding the cure for lupus. Provides links to up-to-date research news, patient education, support groups, physician directories, and some alternative and complementary links.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society
733 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Toll-free: (800) FIGHT-MS (344-4867)
Email: Contact form on web site
An advocacy group that supports research, offers comprehensive services to people living with MS and their families, and provides information and educational development for the public and health professionals. Click on the MS Information Sourcebook within the Library for current information on conventional and alternative therapies.

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
55 Kenosia Avenue
P.O. Box 1968
Danbury, CT 06813-1968
Toll free: (800) 999-6673 (voicemail only)
Phone: (203) 744-0100
Fax: (203) 798-2291
TDD: (203) 797-9590
A non-profit organization for people with rare disorders, committed to the identification, treatment, and cure of rare disorders through education, advocacy, research, and service. Click on or search for individual autoimmune diseases within the Rare Disease database for information and links to related sites. Also includes a searchable index of all organizations within the database.

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NOTE: Promotional and commercial sites are not included in this listing unless they provide significant impartial information resources.

Glucosamine and Arthritis Information Center
A non profit organization offering information and resources about the use of glucosamine for arthritis and related topics.

Health World Online
This site is developed by recognized leaders in the field of natural health, wellness, self-care and alternative medicine. Search health topics for specific autoimmune diseases.

Immune Web
Created for people living with various immune system-related ailments, as well as for their significant others, family, friends, and medical care workers. Provided in this site are listings of articles, books, and other resources, as well as accounts of peoples’ experiences.

New York Online Access to Health

NOAH offers high quality alternative health information for a variety of diseases. Search the Health Topics page for general information and discussions of alternative and complementary treatment options on autoimmune and other health problems.

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Last Updated: April 21, 2009
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