Other Treatments for Cerebral Palsy

Alternative, Cerebral Palsy Treatments

freestanding doorframes on blue background, with open doors in orange, yellow, blue and violet

Apart from traditional medical practices, there are several alternative methods that could help treat children with cerebral palsy. Overall, the goal of these treatments is to help children with CP develop skills, grow their self-esteem, reduce CP’s impact on their body, and provide them with a greater quality of life. As more of the medical community explores these methods, it can give families with loved ones suffering from CP a greater sense of hope.

Keep in mind that though there may be benefits to alternative or complementary treatments, there may be unwanted side effects. Before trying any of the following treatment methods, confer with your child’s doctor. Read on to learn more about the other forms of treatment you could use for CP.

Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic exercise for children with CP involves a series of exercises performed while in the water. Not only do water-based exercises offer a more fun and less intimidating experience than traditional physical therapy, but they may prove beneficial for children suffering from severe cases of CP. Aquatic therapy may improve flexibility, muscle strength, respiratory function, endurance, and coordination. It also gives children suffering from CP a greater range of movement since the water reduces the pressure on their muscles, bones, and joints. Some exercises include length swimming, stride jumps, and shallow-water tuck jumps.

Essential Oils

If you’re looking for a holistic approach, consider using essential oils to alleviate stress and pain. When used as aromatherapy, essential oils with scents like lavender may be applied to the skin for a calming sensation or diffused to create a relaxing environment. In addition, essential oils used in conjunction with massage therapy can help release tension.

While essential oils are generally safe, they may cause allergic reactions when applied to the skin. Be sure to dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil and consult with a medical professional before attempting this form of treatment. Essential oils should never be used in place of conventional treatments recommended by a medical professional or therapist.


Children with cerebral palsy may age prematurely because of the stress placed on their bodies. Fortunately, exercise may help premature aging and help them feel better overall. Flexibility exercises, in particular, could help with mobility and muscle tightening that might have otherwise required surgery. In addition, exercising may give them a better night’s sleep, improve their mental and emotional clarity, and increase their strength. If your child isn’t used to exercising, check with their doctor prior to starting an exercise program.


Yoga is considered a form of mind-body intervention and could potentially provide benefits to children with CP. While yoga has similar benefits to physical therapy, it can adapt to fit your child’s particular needs. It may help improve flexibility, range of motion, and realign the spine. Overall, it aims to relieve muscle tension while providing much-needed stress relief.

Before you have your child take part in a yoga session, ask your doctor for an instructor that they recommend. Have them connect you with a yoga instructor who has worked with people with similar health concerns for a better outcome. Make sure your child stops performing certain yoga poses that cause them pain. If this happens during a session, the instructor may provide you with alternative poses that deliver a more beneficial result.


During massage therapy, a practitioner kneads a patient’s skin, muscles, and tendons. Essentially, they manipulate body systems and structures beyond their passive range of motion using applicable force. A proper massage may ease muscle tension, encourage motor function, reduce spasticity, and promote overall relaxation.

If you opt for this treatment, make sure to use a knowledgeable massage therapist or have your child’s doctor give them a referral. Ask the massage therapist to avoid massaging near your child’s surgical scars or other treatment areas. If your child’s bones are particularly sensitive, have them start with a light massage first.

Though there are many available treatments, CP can continue to take a toll on those suffering and their families. If you think your loved one’s CP is due to medical malpractice, you may have a case and be eligible for compensation. The Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC can provide you with legal assistance while uncovering the truth and seeking any relevant compensation. Contact us today to help you and your family evaluate your options in a medical malpractice case.



William R. “Topper” Cramer
Reviewed by:
William R. “Topper” Cramer, RN, MBA, MS, CCRN, CFRN, EMT-P
Legal Nurse Consultant | Nurse Paralegal

Topper has been involved in emergency, transport, and critical care medicine since 1978 when he became an EMT in high school. A United States Air Force veteran, he remains active as a pre-hospital RN/paramedic, certified flight nurse, and critical care nurse. In addition to his professional role as a nurse consultant/nurse paralegal, he is the Chief of Operations at Walkersville Volunteer Rescue in Frederick County, Maryland. READ FULL BIO

Was Your Child's CP Preventable?