A new report from the Arthritis Research Campaign has revealed that many complementary therapies and medicines have no effect on rheumatoid arthritis.
The report found that more than £450m a year is spent each year on acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, medical herbalism and osteopathy, with almost half (46%) of people turning to complementary medicine at some point in their lives.
People with arthritis and similar conditions are particularly attracted to the medicines, with 60% of sufferers having tried or used a variety of products.
The available evidence for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, which causes widespread muscle pain, was examined and experts ranked the therapies according to their effectiveness.
Most complementary medicines for rheumatoid arthritis scored poorly, although fish body oil received the maximum score for effectiveness.
Therapies for people with osteoarthritis fared better overall, with capsaicin gel, made from chilli peppers, proving to be the most effective.
Glucosamine - one of the most widely taken products - worked in some trials but not others.
"I have found that with regular (weekly or fortnightly depending on severity) back, neck and shoulder massages, my clients report they feel more comfortable and supported with their condition. Massage is something tangible, you can feel the difference between tight, soft tissue and more relaxed, massage also effects mood as the effects of requested touch are pleasant - comforting and enjoyable" - Jill Daniels, Oxfordshire