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Complementary therapies

'Complementary therapies' are any treatments or therapies that are not part of the conventional treatment (such as medicine or surgery) of a disease. Examples include acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy, vitamins, minerals and herbal medicines.

To learn more about complimentary therapies download the information sheet  'complimentary therapies' which provides a summary of the current evidence about complementary therapies for arthritis and tips for safe use. Sources of further information are also included.

Fish oil

Fish oils are oils found in the tissues of fish, containing a certain type of fat called omega-3. Omega-3 fats are a type that may be important for good general health. Our bodies cannot produce omega-3 fats so they must be obtained from food. Omega-3 fats are mostly found in oily fish and certain nut and seed oils.

To learn more about fish oil and omega-3 download the 'Fish oils' information sheet which provides general information about the use of fish oil supplements as a treatment for arthritis. It includes information on who may benefit from taking fish oils, how much to take, and where to find more information.


Glucosamine is a sugar naturally produced by the body. It is one of the building blocks of cartilage. Cartilage covers and protects the ends of the bones, allowing bones to move smoothly against each other. Glucosamine comes in two forms - glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride. Glucosamine supplements are usually made from crab, lobster or shrimp shells, although some supplements are made from a plant form of glucosamine. They are available as tablets or liquid and often in a combination with chondroitin.

Chondroitin is also a natural substance found in the body. It is believed to help draw water and nutrients into the cartilage, keeping it spongy and healthy. Chondroitin is available as chondroitin sulfate supplements, which are made from bovine (cow) or shark cartlilage.

To learn more about glucosamine and chondroitin download the information sheet 'glucosamine and chondroitin' which includes information about the effectiveness of these supplements and the possible risks.