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Other approaches to help manage TS

The benefits of a healthy lifestyle 

Diet and exercise

There are many different ways of generating health and well-being, the most obvious being a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise.

Although there is no medical evidence to suggest that a particular diet is better suited to people with TS, many people notice that their tics worsen when they eat foods that contain additives, artificial colourings and high levels of sugar. As is generally advised, a diet rich in fresh and natural foods, containing plenty of vitamins and minerals, is a great approach to supporting your general health and well-being.

Research has been done on the the role of sensory sensitivity in predicting food selectivity and food preferences in children with Tourette syndrome.  Authors explored eating and dietary behaviours of children with Tourette syndrome (TS) compared to typically developing children. Children with TS were reported to have higher levels of food selectivity and sensory sensitivity, along with less preference to fruit and vegetables than typically developing children. Higher levels of overall sensory sensitivity predicted eating outcomes in children with TS. Importantly, increased taste/smell sensitivity predicted increased food selectivity and decreased preference for vegetables. You can read more about the research here

Generally exercise is good for your health, and for many people with TS, exercise brings relief of their symptoms. However, some people find that too much physical activity worsens their tics. Therefore exercise should be moderated around what works for you.

Researchers are interested in the relationship between exercise and managing TS, you can learn more by watching videos on our You Tube channel.

You can also read an article in this ACAMH (Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health) online publication entitled 'Can physical exercise improve tics and associated mental health difficulties in Tourette syndrome?'

As physical tics often lead to aches and pains, gentle stretching every day can help maintain relaxed and supple muscles.

Mindfulness

In 2018, Tourettes Action launched a recorded guided relaxation designed specifically for people with TS and tic disorders. The recording is designed to function as another strategy to help people manage their tics. You can read more about the guided relaxation and purchase the recording here

Tourettes Action's research manager, Dr Seonaid Anderson discusses the concept of Mindfulness and it’s potential role in supporting people with TS in our Spotlight on Mindfulness article which you can download (right hand column).

The Mindfulness Centre of Excellence -  a secular hub for training, research and exploring new ways of disseminating mindfulness understanding and awareness - published an article on their website in early 2018 about Mindfulness Practices for people with TS which you can read here.

There is anecdotal evidence amongst the TS community which suggests that certain practices and therapeutic approaches have a positive impact on how people manage their condition, including:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Bodywork
  • Aromatherapy
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Hypnotherapy

However, there is little evidence to support the effectiveness of complementary therapies in general.

Botox

Botox has been used by people with TS to help them manage both physical and vocal tics.  There is small research evidence to support the efficacy of botox for tic management, however it is an emerging field of enquiry.  You can read more about Botox and TS in our information sheet (right hand column).

 

 

 
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